Tower model with working carillon

An eye-catcher in the exhibition is the meter-high tower model of the Great Church. For centuries, the church has been the landmark of the city, but it has not always looked the same: during a major fire in 1694, the tower collapsed. It was rebuilt, but not as it was before. Thanks to this special scale model made about 25 years before the fire, we still know how the tower once looked.

What actually sounded from the many carillons in the Low Countries in the 17th and 18th centuries?

Relatively much is known about that. Because the programming of automatic carillons is a precise job (even today the programming of 450 notes for 2.5 minutes of music in the Grote Toren takes a day's work), the melodies were often written down in so-called 'verse books' as an aid. Quite a few of these can still be found in archives. Unfortunately there are no record books known of the Breda carillon. But there are of carillons in this area, such as the one in Antwerp.

In order to adapt melodies for the tower model, one could therefore draw on a historically and scientifically sound collection of melodies. With the information and knowledge of city carillonneur Paul Maassen, Dr. Carl van Eyndhoven, who has a doctorate in research into hide books, and Arie Abbenes, expert on early music and emeritus city carillonneur of Utrecht, the repertoire was compiled.

After tuning the bells, the following 17th- and 18th-century melodies were selected and arranged. Sounds that may very well have sounded from Breda's Great Tower at that time:
every hour: bergamaske
at a quarter past: Bredaas biertje
every half hour: Ik zag Cecilia komen