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Past and present

In 1967 a committee was erected to explore possibilities to install a carillon in the village of Bergen. The first option was the acquisition of a Van Bergen carillon that was located in Drachten at that moment. This instrument would be placed in a bell tower in the orange park in Bergen.

This plan could not be carried out and the decision was made to install a new instrument in the roof turret of the so-called Ruïnekerk. After the church was destroyed in 1574 during the Siege of Alkmaar, it was rebuilt, but some parts of the original nave are still preserved as a ruin. Because of the small size of the roof turret, only a two-octave carillon could be installed. The committee developed various activities, such as a lottery, and achieved half of the required budget; the municipality provided the remainder. The order for the bells was given to the Petit & Fritsen bell foundry.

The committee gave a special mission to the instrument. The 26 bells are dedicated to 250 soldiers from the UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Poland and Czechoslovakia who rest at Bergen General Cemetery. Bells n° 2 to n° 25 bear, in alphabetical order, the names of 216 soldiers and the smallest bell bears the inscription ‘34 gevallenen, alleen bij God bekend’ (34 fallen, known unto God).  In addition, a 27th bell was placed in the tower, without a clapper and with a bottom. It contains a capsule with a plan of the carillon, the names of the donors and a call towards future generations to maintain the carillon.

The small but sonorous carillon was inaugurated on 5 May 1970, 25 years after the liberation of the Netherlands.


Facts and figures

Number of bells 26
Total weight of the bells 1116 kg
Weight of the bourdon 132 kg
Pitch of bourdon e2, connected to c in the keyboard
Bell-founders Petit & Fritsen (1970)
Manual playing system mechanical baton-type keyboard
Automatic playing system MIDI system with electromagnetic hammers; plays melodies on the hour and the half hour, and Westminster motives on the 1st and 3rd quarters
Carillonneur Klaas R.R. de Haan
Regular recitals Thursdays from 11 am to 12 pm
Summer concerts none
Accessibility of the tower none

Significant inscription

Ik luid voor hen, die voor onze vrijheid vielen en in Bergen rusten 1940-1945


(I toll for those who fell for our freedom and rest in Bergen 1940-1945)

Inscription on the bourdon

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