I had never really thought about who was behind those songs that come from some bell towers around Europe. In The Hague, The Netherlands, you can hear these songs every day of week in several locations. I had the opportunity to see a carillon from the inside and here you can see what this amazing instrument looks like. I visited the carillon of the Peace Palace.
The carillon is a percussion instrument with a keyboard that controls several bells placed in a tower. It is amazing to see all those heavy bells making such beautiful sounds! They are often found in churches or monasteries and are among the largest musical instruments in the world.
The Peace Palace carillon has 47 bells and it is placed inside its highest tower (80 meters) . It is played every Tuesday and Thursday, when Heleen van der Weel climbs the stairs to present the city with a program that is changed each month. Her “office” is right above the bells.
In The Hague there is a strong culture around the carillons and the Hague Carillon Foundation organizes concerts every day of week in the carillons around the city:
- Grote Kerk (city center): Monday, Wednesday, Friday (12h13).
- Oude Kerk (Scheveningen): Wednesday (14:30-15:30) and Saturday (11:12).
- Peace Palace: Tuesday and Thursday (13:00 – 13:45).