Darkness at the Dom

If you were in or around Utrecht city this past Saturday night, you may have looked at the skyline and wondered where the Domtoren was. My husband and I certainly would have had I not read aggieLap’s blog entry Nacht van de Nacht. The Domtoren was, of course, still standing tall and proud in the Domplein, but unlike every other night of the year, the tower was not illuminated.

The Domtoren was not the only one to turn off it’s lights. Throughout the Netherlands, lights were turned off and special candlelit events took place. Night photography and astronomy workshops were also given and zoos remained open.

The idea behind Nacht van de Nacht is to inspire people to reduce their light usage and create an awareness of light pollution. This is a major concern for the Dutch as the Netherlands is one of the top three generators of light pollution in the world, according to the Light Pollution Handbook. Most of this is due to keeping the country’s many greenhouses lit.[/caption]

Why 24 October 2009? This day marks the official move from fall to winter this year. It’s also the day that the Dutch moved their clocks back an hour. There was very little moon that night which, in combination with turning the lights out at monuments, bridges, and major buildings throughout the country, makes for optimal star gazing opportunities.


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