Singing Road Welcomes You To Friesland

Next level place-branding — the Dutch province of Friesland welcomed visitors with a road singing the regional anthem as they drove over it.

Launched by the regional government, the asphalt of the highway has a pattern on it that plays the Frysian anthem when cars drive over it. As a vehicle increases in speed, so does the melody.

The idea is inspired by the rumble strip, a road safety feature to alert inattentive drivers of potential danger, by causing a tactile vibration and audible rumbling transmitted through the wheels into the vehicle interior. The regional government must have thought, “Why not use that technique to play our anthem?”. According to spokesperson Gerrit Hofstra, the musical highway wasn’t just a funny intervention — it should make people drive slower as the notes are only audible when passed at around 60 km/h.

Friesland is known for its own traditions and strong local cultural heritage. It’s the only province in the Netherlands with two official languages, Dutch and Frisian. The region is currently in the middle of attention as its capital Leeuwarden has been selected European Cultural Capital 2018. Despite the fact that it’s a clever way of regional branding, local residents were not that amused by it. As one local admitted, “I love our anthem, but hearing it 100 times a day is too much.” The pattern was removed just one week after its opening. 😢

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