Past and present

The tower of the Grand or Eusebius Church is the landmark of the city of Arnhem. The tower housed only swinging bells until 1652, when the famous brothers François and Pieter Hemony cast a carillon of 32 bells for the tower. This instrument was enlarged several times in later centuries.

The church and the carillon were largely destroyed during the Battle of Arnhem (also known as Operation Market Garden) in September 1944. It is reported that during the fire that hit the tower, the automatic carillon started to play, as if it was giving a last musical farewell.

Petit & Fritsen installed a new carillon of 49 bells between 1958 and 1964. Since then, the carillon has been played at the yearly memorial services for the dead in May.

In 1994, 50 years after the Battle of Arnhem, four bass bells were added to the instrument. The new bourdon was donated by a number of English organizations and individuals. Thanks to the efforts of former mayor Paul Scholten, Dutch companies engaged in the financing of the three other bells. The inauguration of the new bells on 15 September 1994 was attended by Dutch Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, British Crown Prince Charles, and General John Hackett, who had been severely wounded during the Battle of Arnhem.

Since 1994, the carillon and the swinging bells sound every year at the commemoration of the dramatic battle, which was immortalized by the novel and the film A Bridge Too Far. The Eusebius Church and its carillon have been icons of the city of Arnhem for centuries, but today they are even more so since their resurrection after the dramatic events of September 1944.

Facts and figures

Number of bells 53
Total weight of the bells 48,520 kg
Weight of the bourdon 9100 kg
Pitch of bourdon e, connected to G in the keyboard
Bell-founders Petit & Fritsen (44 from 1958, 5 from 1961, 4 from 1994)
Manual playing system mechanical baton-type keyboard
Automatic playing system quarter chimes on electro-pneumatic system
Carillonneur Bob van der Linde
Regular recitals Saturdays from 10 to 11 am
Summer concerts To be decided
Accessibility of the tower Opened daily

Significant inscription

A bridge too far, but never in vain

 

Inscription on one of the bells from 1994

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