Challengers Lay Claim to Pisa's Leaning Title

By Andrew Moseman | August 29, 2008 2:05 pm

PisaDon’t worry, lean-lovers: They haven’t totally straightened out the leaning Tower of Pisa. It just isn’t leaning enough for some people anymore.

Last November, the Guinness Book of World Records took away Pisa’s status as the tower with the biggest lean, instead bestowing that title on the Schiefer Turm von Suurhusen in Northern Germany, a church whose steeple tilts a full degree further off center than Pisa’s. Now, a Dutch mathematician has tried to steal some leaning pride for his homeland.

Jacob van Dijk told Reuters that a tower in Bedum, Holland, is also more off-center than Pisa. Though the Dutch tower stands only 117 feet tall, van Dijk calculated that if it were the same height at the Leaning Tower of Pisa, 183 feet, it would lean 6 centimeters further than the Italian monument.

If Guinness acknowledges the German tower, this new claim seems like a silly battle for second place. But from the pictures of Schiefer Turm von Suurhusen, it looks like it could topple at any time. In any case, the Dutch tower became number one because the Italians straightened Pisa slightly between 1999 and 2001, back to its angle from 300 years ago, hoping to stabilize it for another few centuries. So thankfully, they seem to be more concerned with keeping the tower around for a while than winning a contest.

Image: Wikimedia Commons/Alkarex

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