The Netherlands – the lowlands by the see – has 182 carillons, which should merit a mention in the Guinness Book of World Records.
We invite you to enjoy the beautiful sound of the bells in the historical town of Enkhuizen, founded in 1356. It is one of the thee towns in the world with two or more Hemony Carollons. One in the 65 meter high Zuidertoren and the other, a unique carillon, the lightest Hemony ever made, with a silver sound on the waterfront in the old bastion the Drommedaris (1540).
The use of bells in a musical fashion originated in the 14th century in the Low Countries. The carillons were symbols of civic pride and status. It is therefore understandable that Enkhuizen, as one of the biggest towns of the Netherlands and important harbour for foreign trade and herring fishery – with three herrings in the coat of arms and still called ‘Herringtown’ – in the 16th century acquired two valuable carillons.
To play a short melody to announce each quarter of an hour – the time was very imporant to rule the community – and as a public instrument played by the carillonneur of the town on memorable events and on a regular basis, several times a week, to provide joy for the inhabitants.
The first important founder of bells was Geert van Wou (1450-1527). The towers of Enkhuizen contain very old Van Wou bells, such as the heavy Salvator (1509) of 2800 kilo. The first small set of Van Wou bells was installed in the Zuidertoren in 1524.
In the 17th century, François and Pieter Hemony developed the art of bell-founding, designing and correct tuning. The carillon as the heaviest of all existing musical instruments was born.
The Zuidertoren and the Drommedaris received beautiful carillons from Hemony in the middle of the 17th century. The instruments are still there and after receiving additional bells and restauration of the mechanism carillonneurs are now able to play every kind of on them.
The carillons of Enkhuizen are famous all over the world. Carillonneurs of the countries love to climb high in the towers to play the instruments.
Carillonneurs or carillonist, in Dutch “Beiaardier”, is the title of the musician who plays the carillon. He or she sits up high in a cabin beneath the bells and presses down the wooden keys with hands and fingers and foot-pedals like an organ that are connected with wires with clappers inside the bells.
The carillon of the Zuidertoren has 52 bells and the Drommedaris 44.
You can hear the beautiful sound of the towermusic not only during the regular playing hours(“bespeling”, see page 22), but also every Tuesday during the Summerevening Carillonconcerts. You are welcome. Enjoy it!