"Saint Thomas bellringing in Katlijk" Katlijk by ATLC

Katlijk Travel Guide: 7 reviews and 12 photos

History of an old tradition

Next Saturday (Dec. 28th 2002) I'll be in Katlijk with the Brielle Bell Ringers Guild to meet our fellow bell ringers in Katlijk, province Friesland.

In the period 21-31 december an unusual folklore tradition takes place, the socalled Saint Thomas bell ringing. This used to be a popular tradition in large parts of the province Friesland but is now only done in two villages: Katlijk and Oudehorne.

Saint Thomas bell ringing was meant to excorcise evil spirits at the end of the year. The nameday of Saint Thomas is 21 december, and this century old tradition starts on this day. The bells of a belfry are rung rhythmically. Many Frisian churches have a separate belfry near the church or on the graveyard. A church tower that would hold bells, was usually too heave to build on the peat ground so a lighter alternative had to be found, that was also cheaper. Thus belfrys arose with 1,2 or 3 bells.

The belfrys of Katlijk and Oudehorne each have two bells, a larger and a smaller. The objective is to ring them together rhythmically and this heavy job is usually done by two bellringers at a time.

The Thomas bellringing event

This year, as said, the bellringers from Brielle will assist the Katlijker bellringers.
The Katlijker bellringers will be dressed in oldfashioned costume. Sometimes there is snow or mist which gives the event a special atmosphere.

The event is usually visited by a lot of people who drink hot chocolate, or Glühwein, eat "oliebollen" while enjoying the bell ringing sounds and spectacle.
There is an art exposition in the nearby 16th century church and local produce and art are on sale.


From the Katlijk website:

Everyone who has visited the old church of Katlijk, will be impressed by the simple beauty of the building. The historical appearance, the primeval architecture and the materials used, give the church a nostalgic character. Moreover, the church is idylically situated among the woods of Katlijk.

No wonder that there are many activities besides the service. The church is not only an excellent place for ecclesiastic consecration of marriage, celebration and meetings of reflection, but also for concerts and exhibitions.

  • Last visit to Katlijk: Dec 2002
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (10)

Comments (10)

  • Toyin's Profile Photo
    Feb 23, 2005 at 1:38 AM

    Interesting tale, excelent narratives. Regards.

  • irisbe's Profile Photo
    Jan 29, 2003 at 4:33 AM

    very special page! I loved the intro about the bell ringing and I remembered you told me you were a bellringer! sounds like a great tradition! don't loose it!

  • herzog63's Profile Photo
    Jan 15, 2003 at 12:26 AM

    Bellringers get together!! Wow!! The sounds must be wonderful!!

  • pepples46's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2003 at 12:27 AM

    Nick hit the Nail on its Head LOL....yes Friesland, like Ost-Friesland, if ya know what I mean!!

  • kaloz's Profile Photo
    Jan 14, 2003 at 12:16 AM

    Bell, Book, and Candle. (haha)

  • billus's Profile Photo
    Jan 8, 2003 at 4:09 PM

    Friesian is rather easy for English speakers, t.v: "Katlidgik" or "cat-lid-geek", someone who puts cats in jars

  • nighthawk's Profile Photo
    Jan 6, 2003 at 12:24 AM

    good miscell info! haha typical frisian to name a place dead cat ;) ......HAPPY NEW YEAR!

  • Sweetberry1's Profile Photo
    Jan 5, 2003 at 11:44 PM

    Lovely page and good info AT.. ;-)

  • Alphons's Profile Photo
    Jan 3, 2003 at 1:02 AM

    very nice new page, Happy New Year and greetings Alphons

  • Dec 29, 2002 at 10:53 AM

    Thanks ATLC. This very nice information and very, very usefull for everybody travinling Friesland


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