Dom Tower

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The Dom Tower of Utrecht is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands, at 112.5 metres (368 feet) in height, and the Gothic-style tower is the symbol of the city. The tower was part of the Cathedral of Saint Martin, Utrecht, also known as Dom Church, and was built between 1321 and 1382, to a design by John of Hainaut. The cathedral was never fully completed due to lack of money. Since the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 the Dom tower became a free standing tower.

The tower stands at the spot where the city of Utrecht originated almost 2,000 years ago.

The Dom Tower was one of the largest towers constructed in Europe during the fourteenth century, and it was planned to show the power of the church of Utrecht.[citation needed] Its construction led preacher Geert Groote to protest against the vanity of such an immense project, suggesting it was too tall, too expensive and all but aesthetic.

The tower consists of two square blocks, topped by a much lighter lantern. One of the most striking features is the absence of visible buttresses. Its particular shape and original architecture had a large influence on many other towers in the Netherlands, including the Martinitoren in Groningen.[citation needed] Upon completion in 1382 the tower stood 109 metres tall. However this height was increased during the restorations in 1910, to its present height of 112.5 metres.

The Dom tower was a multifunctional building. In addition to being a belfry, it contained a private chapel of the bishop of Utrecht on the first floor. It also served as the watchtower; the tower guard was housed on the second floor of the lower square block.

The tower has its own visitor centre, RonDom (a Portmanteau of 'Rond' -around- and 'Dom'), which is located in the square. As well as stocking a range of souvenirs, they organise a number of activities centred on the tower, including regular guided tours which allow people to climb the 465 steps to the top of the Dom Tower. On a clear day it is possible to see both Amsterdam and Rotterdam. The booking office for guided tours is located in the square at the foot of the tower. It is also possible to get married in the tower.
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