The loud chimes of the New Church bell ring out over the centre of Delft at regular intervals throughout the day. The carillon plays automatically on the quarter hour, half hour, and on the hour, with a different tune for each. The town bellringer also delivers a live performance of this unique instrument at certain times.

Bell metal
The chimes of the New Church rang out for the first time in 1660. It started with a series of 36 bells covering three octaves. The heaviest was a weighty 3,410 kg. Bellmaker Francois Hemony cast them from the remains (the ‘bell metal') from the town hall's bells, which had been badly damaged in a fire in 1618.

New bells
A number of additions were made to Francois Hemony's bells, including by his brother Pieter. The brothers were known for the perfection with which their carillons were tuned. It would be three hundred years before the first 20 bells began to ring out of tune and needed replacing. The world's largest bellmaker, Royal Eijsbouts, made the bells from the original cast, and made another ten extra ones. This brought the total to 48, with a range of four octaves. The old bells can be seen in the tower.

Regular times
As well as playing a series of summer evening concerts and for town hall weddings on request, the town bellringer plays the carillon on Fridays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. and on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12 noon. He plays at that same time on Thursdays (market day), just like when the bells were still in the town hall.

 

Historical timeline

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