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Old 15.04.2015, 11:00
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Church bells

Hello all

We live next to a very noisy church. We can live with the early Sunday bells, the late Saturday bells, the random not-quite-sure-what-they're-for bells. We understood this when we moved in, and that's fine.

However, the church also has a clock that chimes every 15 minutes all day and night. My eight year old son is increasingly having sleep problems as he gets in a tizz listening to how late it is getting (us adults too to be honest, but it's him I'm most concerned about).

Has anyone ever tried contacting a church admin to find out if there's something that can be done? All we want is for the clock to stop striking overnight. We live in a really built-up area so can't be the only ones feeling this way (I need to ask around about this locally but haven't yet had the time).

Thanks for reading!
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Old 15.04.2015, 11:26
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Re: Church bells

There are lots of threads on the subject, particularly this one..

Damn church bells

Hopefully the answer to your problem can be found there.
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Old 15.04.2015, 11:33
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Re: Church bells

This is a fairly common complaint from expats (if you search the forums you'll find past threads on this topic). I haven't heard of a single case where someone successfully enacted a change.

When we first moved to Switzerland, we foolishly landed in an apartment right in front of the the cloister in Einsiedeln. You say that you are annoyed by the church bells ringing every 15 minutes. How about the plonkers at the church going amok for a raging 30 minutes at 6 in the morning on a Sunday? Not gentle ding-dong either, no sir, I'm talking full blown brimstone bells of the seventh army of the fallen angels marching on the gates of Heaven. I shit you not it drowned out the rock blasting operation on one occasion. When the Einsiedeln bells lay waste to your ears, lesser noises like a brass band, firing squads or honorary cannon shots cower in fear.

Eventually we got used to it. The worst was the fact that once it woke you up, there was no chance of falling asleep again until the vicious auditory raping subsided. Moreover, the effin' bastards restarted their cacophony at 7 again so you had about half an hour to fall asleep before your eardrums were pounded to pulp yet again.

Edit: after having lived here for a while, you learn to look out for a number of things when looking for accomodation: infrastructure, local tax level and proximity to the churchtower.
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Old 15.04.2015, 11:49
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Re: Church bells

First, a few questions, if I may. How long have you been living there? Has your son experienced sleeping problems since you moved? Is it possible that your son's sleeplessness is due to other factors - stress at school, perhaps bullying or a lack of exercise? In my experience, tired young kids generally fall asleep really rather quickly, irrespective of the cacophony around them. More so, if said noise is regular.

However, I'd say that if my little one's sleep is affected by something like the ringing of church bells (and not any of the above), then I would consider moving. There are fights which are worth fighting, and others, like changing old-age traditions of bell-ringing, not.

Good luck and I hope Morpheus visits your son early tonight
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Old 15.04.2015, 12:04
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First, a few questions, if I may. How long have you been living there? Has your son experienced sleeping problems since you moved? Is it possible that your son's sleeplessness is due to other factors - stress at school, perhaps bullying or a lack of exercise? In my experience, tired young kids generally fall asleep really rather quickly, irrespective of the cacophony around them. More so, if said noise is regular.

However, I'd say that if my little one's sleep is affected by something like the ringing of church bells (and not any of the above), then I would consider moving. There are fights which are worth fighting, and others, like changing old-age traditions of bell-ringing, not.

Good luck and I hope Morpheus visits your son early tonight
Thanks for the reply - like you, I thought young children tended to sleep, so it's quite stressful seeing an eight year old behaving like a neurotic adult!

I agree that moving is probably the answer in this case, but I want to explore other options first, since moving within the area is impossible, and moving out of area involves changing schools, which will raise a whole new set of problems. In the other church-related threads I haven't heard of anyone successfully complaining, but it does surprise me. Like I said, in this instance it's the regular reminders of the time that are the issue, not the bells themselves.

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There are lots of threads on the subject, particularly this one..

Damn church bells

Hopefully the answer to your problem can be found there.
Thanks, but I haven't found the answer in any other thread.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 17.04.2015 at 18:02. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 15.04.2015, 12:22
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Re: Church bells

In Aubonne Canton Vaud, I mistakenly moved into a lovely apartment next to the town hall clock, the clock bell rang every 15 minutes and rang the hours twice on the hour. At midnight I had 24 bells.

I asked the town hall politely if I could pay for a modification, to switch the bells off at night, and this was refused. I contacted K-Tipp the Swiss consumer magazine for help, they told me that a few had had success against church bells, but also wrote I had "No chance" against the town hall.

I bought 2 sheets of 2 cm thick foam rubber at a DIY shop, and put these on each window. Then, when wearing ear plugs I didn't hear the bells any longer.

I moved out at the first opportunity.

Church bells. Legal aspect: page 15, paragraph 6, http://www.zh.ref.ch/a-z/abisz/kirchenglocken
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Old 15.04.2015, 12:27
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Re: Church bells

Getting the clock to stop the 15 min updates.. not a chance. Don't move next to a clock tower if it bothers you or just ignore and you won't notice after a while
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Old 15.04.2015, 12:42
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Re: Church bells

It doesn't take long to get used to it.
Both of my kids sleep just fine even with windows open, even though their rooms are probably 200m from one of the bells in the village, even though still after over 2 years the two bells in the village are out of sync by a couple of minutes.. Which means we get 24 bells at midnight

The only people who notice now are visitors who have a couple of restless nights.

Neither of these bells are even on a damn church!
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Old 15.04.2015, 12:48
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Re: Church bells

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... so it's quite stressful seeing an eight year old behaving like a neurotic adult!
Oh poor kid! If it is a recent change in his sleeping routine, then I would look a bit deeper and try and see if there are other things which are affecting his sleep, perhaps talking to his teacher or another parent who knows your son well. Personally, if my son was at that stage, I'd just move. Moving is an expensive and disruptive exercise, but if you explain to your child why you have to leave behind his school/ friends, then perhaps it will be less difficult for him to accept.

In any event, I wish you good luck!
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Old 15.04.2015, 12:52
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Re: Church bells

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In Aubonne Canton Vaud, I mistakenly moved into a lovely apartment next to the town hall clock, the clock bell rang every 15 minutes and rang the hours twice on the hour. At midnight I had 24 bells.

I asked the town hall politely if I could pay for a modification, to switch the bells off at night, and this was refused. I contacted K-Tipp the Swiss consumer magazine for help, they told me that a few had had success against church bells, but also wrote I had "No chance" against the town hall.

I bought 2 sheets of 2 cm thick foam rubber at a DIY shop, and put these on each window. Then, when wearing ear plugs I didn't hear the bells any longer.

I moved out at the first opportunity.

Church bells. Legal aspect: page 15, paragraph 6, http://www.zh.ref.ch/a-z/abisz/kirchenglocken
Thanks a lot Sbrinz - this is just the kind of information I was looking for.
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Old 15.04.2015, 14:20
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Re: Church bells

Maybe it's just me, but the sound of the bells here is something that I find quite comforting! As a kid often staying with my grandparents, I remember at night when they'd often (summer time) leave their balcony doors open; and I'd always just hear the calming sound of the water fountain, then the quarterly chime of the church up the road... I've always felt calmed by it. I suppose it's what I associate with happy times, and the feeling of safety, peace and comfort of the old villages here. I love to just sit on my balcony now, on a warm summery evening, and those simple things like hearing the cows in the field, the locusts in the grass, and the evening bells... Call me sad, but give me this over the drunks, fights and rowdiness in UK towns in the evenings, any day!
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Old 15.04.2015, 15:41
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Re: Church bells

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In Aubonne Canton Vaud, I mistakenly moved into a lovely apartment next to the town hall clock, the clock bell rang every 15 minutes and rang the hours twice on the hour. At midnight I had 24 bells.

I asked the town hall politely if I could pay for a modification, to switch the bells off at night, and this was refused. I contacted K-Tipp the Swiss consumer magazine for help, they told me that a few had had success against church bells, but also wrote I had "No chance" against the town hall.

I bought 2 sheets of 2 cm thick foam rubber at a DIY shop, and put these on each window. Then, when wearing ear plugs I didn't hear the bells any longer.

I moved out at the first opportunity.

Church bells. Legal aspect: page 15, paragraph 6, http://www.zh.ref.ch/a-z/abisz/kirchenglocken
Makes me laugh when people say it is only in Switzerland. I live next to a Church here and bells hardly ever ring (they used to ring at 12 lunchtime and 10pm, but no longer)- but in the UK, we have a flat near a Church with bells ringing every quarter of an hour 4 for 15 past, 4x2 for 30 past, 4 x 3 for 45 past- then 4 x 4 + the hour. At midnight that means 16 + 12 = 28 bells and so on through the night PLUS bell ringing practice for about 1 hour one or two evenings per week, + strings of bells at 8am on Sunday + services. Small towns in UK are just the same- and yes, the answer from the council is simple 'Church has been there much longer than you, so stop moaning'. No good putting foam etc if you can't sleep without a window opened, as we do.

But we absolutely love the flat and the location, apart from that ... and our daughter loves living there.

Last edited by Odile; 15.04.2015 at 18:06.
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Old 15.04.2015, 18:15
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Re: Church bells

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Makes me laugh when people say it is only in Switzerland. I live next to a Church here and bells hardly ever ring (they used to ring at 12 lunchtime and 10pm, but no longer)- but in the UK, we have a flat near a Church with bells ringing every quarter of an hour 4 for 15 past, 4x2 for 30 past, 4 x 3 for 45 past- then 4 x 4 + the hour. At midnight that means 16 + 12 = 28 bells and so on through the night PLUS bell ringing practice for about 1 hour one or two evenings per week, + strings of bells at 8am on Sunday + services. Small towns in UK are just the same- and yes, the answer from the council is simple 'Church has been there much longer than you, so stop moaning'. No good putting foam etc if you can't sleep without a window opened, as we do.

But we absolutely love the flat and the location, apart from that ... and our daughter loves living there.
Please note that I never implied this is a purely Swiss thing (perhaps you're referring to an earlier thread). My only concern here is to make sure my son can sleep at night, and I was wondering how easy it is to request that church noise is kept to less antisocial hours.

I should have called the thread 'church clock' ...
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Old 15.04.2015, 18:17
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Re: Church bells

Start drinking
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Old 15.04.2015, 18:18
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Re: Church bells

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Start drinking
Too late

Not great for an 8 year old though.
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Old 15.04.2015, 18:20
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Re: Church bells

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Too late

Not great for an 8 year old though.
Your 8 year old is boozing already??

Have you tried letting your 8 year old smoke a joint or 2? It will help them relax which may aid sleep.

(Although you may want to stay well stocked with biscuits)
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Old 15.04.2015, 22:36
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Re: Church bells

If you think you have a problem with bells, then spare a thought for this poor victim:
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Old 15.04.2015, 22:52
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Re: Church bells

If it's a Catholic church, you've got just two hopes - and one of those is long dead.
Catholics have to forever pay for their sins, of which bells throughout the night to keep them awake and continually remind them of their penance, is just a downpayment.
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Old 16.04.2015, 00:34
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Re: Church bells

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If it's a Catholic church, you've got just two hopes - and one of those is long dead.
Catholics have to forever pay for their sins, of which bells throughout the night to keep them awake and continually remind them of their penance, is just a downpayment.
Where ever did you get that absurd idea? It's much more a case of a catholic saying 'I'm terribly sorry about xy and z' to a priest early on a Friday evening, getting a quickly served penance of a few Hail Marys and the odd Rosary, then voila.... free of mortal sin until next week.
After that it's a case of cluttering off to the nearest Pub and starting to clock up more sins until repeating the whole thing the following week at confession. *

It's the poor old Protestants that have to rely on getting in a whole lifetimes' worth of confession on their death beds that need to worry, and so are presumable the ones that require all those bells!

*At least, I think that's how it was explained to me during catechism. I wasn't really paying that much attention.... far too concerned that I'd be late home for Top of the Pops.
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Old 16.04.2015, 08:41
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Re: Church bells

Anyway, I thought it was clear that everyone is going to hell so it makes little difference what you do on earth. Each of the major religions preach believe in our God (or Gods or prophets), repent your sins (if you have any - although for Christians it appears sin is a plus as long as you confess - the "Get out of jail free card" of religion) otherwise you are damned to eternity with a hot poker up your ring piece, a thousand lashes daily and Barrry Manilow on a, turned up tp 11, infinite loop. Admittedly for some that might sound like paradise.

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