Friday, May 25, 2007

Testing Times

I’ve experienced it eight times now, once a month since I lived in Holland and it scared the bejeezus out of me every single time. It strikes on the first Monday of the month at 12 noon, on the dot, and last about 30 seconds. Every time it happens, I seem to be alone, and wish that someone, anyone, was there to assure me that everything will be okay. It’s like something, quite literally, out of a horror movie and it can’t be controlled or blocked out, or stopped, where-ever you are in the Netherlands. It will get you; you cannot run, you cannot hide!

The terror I’m describing, and it is terrorising, is the monthly Civil Defence Siren test. No-one will warn you about this before it happens, you’ll just be expected not to end your life in fear of impending alien invasion.

Watch this video and I challenge you not to feel scared by the noise (make sure you have your speakers turned up). Although this was filmed in another part of the Netherlands, this is EXACTLY 100% what it’s like in Amsterdam every month too:

I have no idea why the Dutch are still testing these things, and so regularly. I’ve tried to do some research and found that Switzerland has sirens too (I guess because they might be invaded by the EU), but they test those only once a year and warn everyone through the mass-media first. The only conclusion I can draw is that these hell-raisers may still be used if all the Dutch dams and dykes break, but 40 days and nights of rain would also be a clear indication to turn your telly on and watch the news.

I dread Monday 4th June.