The Carillon

Nyenrode Castle has a carillon that has been built up since the start of the 20th century. It currently consists of 16 bells. The remarkable thing about Nyenrode’s carillon is that, although it only covers 1 ½ octaves, it is still played via a keyboard, which it usually only the case with at least two octaves.
A brief history of the Nyenrode carillon
The merchant and art collector Michiel Onnes (1878-1972) made Nyenrode his home at the beginning of the 20th century. Onnes then got to work energetically on restoring the castle to its old glory. In 1915, he asked the Taylor Bell Foundry in Loughborough, England, to cast a series of chimes especially for Nyenrode Castle. The series consisted of six inscribed bells that were hung in the wooden superstructure, surmounted by the onion-shaped crown that was toren1-201134.jpgrestored to the tower in 1916. This superstructure had been missing since the great fire of September 1673, an event resulting from the French invasion in the “Rampjaar” (disaster year). Of these original bells, only the low C remains today, functioning as the pedal undertone and striking the hour. In 1930, Onnes sold Nyenrode  to the Jewish art-dealer Jacques Goudstikker.

speeltrommel-201134.jpgIn May 1940, Goudstikker fled to England to escape the German invaders. In the course of the escape he lost his life due to a tragic accident and shortly afterwards, Goudstikker’s art business and Nyenrode Castle were both acquired by the German banker Alois Miedl. Many Dutch tower bells were taken and melted down for the German war effort during World War II, but because the castle was owned by a German, Nyenrode’s carillon was spared this fate. 
With the help of Jacob Vincent, the carillonneur at the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, Alois Miedl was also able to acquire the Taylor carillon (cast in 1928) from Huize Witzand in Blaricum which at the time belonged to Charles Henry Boissevain. The Amsterdam carillon arranger Addicks was then commissioned to set up a new carillon at Nyenrode using the bells acquired from Huize Witzand. This new arrangement came into service on December 14th, 1940 and, with the addition of a low and a high F and the undertone from the Witzand carillon, a 16-bell instrument had been created at Nyenrode. 16 bells is also a very common number in Dutch carillons from the seventeenth century (known in the Netherlands as the ‘Golden Century’). During the rearrangement by Addicks, the highest five of the original bells installed in 1915 were removed because they duplicated the tones of the Witzand carillon.
beiaardier-201134.jpgCarillonneur Jan Willem Achterkamp
The Nyenrode university carillonneur is Jan Willem Achterkamp. As university carillonneur, he regularly plays the bells at events and, every year, he also tunes the automatic carillon that chimes out the daily melodies. In the past, Achterkamp has also composed a variety of musical suites for Nyenrode.


Jan Willem Achterkamp en carillon.jpg

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