Past and present

During the First Battle of Ypres in October-November 1914, the medieval town of Ypres was devastated by German bombing. On 22 November, the impressive cloth hall and the belfry came under fire and were destroyed. The bells of the two carillons in the belfry, an historical instrument and a new one from 1909, fell to the ground.

After the war, the cloth hall and the belfry were reconstructed on the basis of the original plans. In 1934, Marcel Michiels Jr (Doornik) delivered a new carillon, which was hung in the tower lantern. The building and the carillon survived the Second World War. Since the tuning of the bells was not satisfactory, the Petit & Fritsen bell foundry from Aarle-Rixtel as asked to improve the instrument. The renovated carillon was completed in 1963, the year the town celebrated its millennium. It was placed in the corpus of the belfry.

The reconstructed cloth hall and belfry are iconic monuments of the Great War. Since 1998, the cloth hall has housed the famous museum In Flanders Fields. During many memorial events in Ypres, melodies of the carillon alternate with the sound of bagpipes and trumpets, referring to the innumerable British soldiers who lie in Flanders fields.

Facts and figures

Number of bells 49
Total weight of the bells 11,892 kg
Weight of the bourdon 2494 kg
Pitch of bourdon c1, connected to B flat on the keyboard
Bell-founders 27 Marcel Michiels Jr (1934), 22 Petit & Fritsen (1963)
Manual playing system mechanical baton-type keyboard
Automatic playing system Quarter chimes on midi system with pneumatic pistons
Carillonneur Ludo Geloen
Regular recitals Saturdays from 3 to 4 pm
Summer concerts every year on other dates
Accessibility of the tower during opening hours of In Flanders Fields Museum

Significant inscription

Moge ik voortaan in vrede beieren

(From now on, I may chime in peace)

Inscription on bell n° 4

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