The Philips carillon is a gift from the Dutch staff of the N.V. Philips Gloeilampenfabrieken, offered on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the company on September 23, 1966. The initiative, which originated from the Philips staff, was made possible thanks to the participation of all employees in the action “Let the party bell ring” of the Philips Staff Felicitation Fund. In order for this jubilee gift to express audibly what can be achieved through joint effort, a fund was also set up to promote the playing of the carillon.
The carillon was originally located in a specially designed bell tower near the Evoluon in the Strijp district. Over time, however, it was concluded that it actually belonged above a bustling city center. You can hear with your own ears how true this is, now that since April 30, 1987 he has been spreading his sounds over the city center.
The carillon has 61 bells. The 4 bells date from 1949. They are located in the Mariatoren and have the following names and masses:
- Catherine: 2320 kg
- Joseph: 1635kg
- Wilhelmus: 1155 kg
- Hubertus: 690 kg
They were cast by the Koninklijke Eijsbouts Bell Foundry and Factory of Torenuurwerken B.V. in Asten. The heaviest bell, Bs0, has a diameter of 1.75 meters and a weight of 3220 kilos. The smallest clock, C6, has a diameter of 18 cm and a weight of 12 kilos. The bells together weigh 16005 kilos. They all bear the inscription “Eijsbouts poured me for the Philips staff in the Netherlands”. The two largest bells bear the names Gerard and Anton. They are named after Dr.Ir. Gerard Leonard Frederik Philips, the founder, and Dr. Anton Frederik Philips, the co-founder and founder of the global Philips organization. The Philips Carillon has a very special place in carillon development, because it has a range of 5 octaves, which was unique in 1966 and is still exceptional.
The belfry with the bells is placed at a height of 23 meters. The playroom is located in the middle of the bells. This ensures that the connections between key and clapper are as short as possible so that the carillonneur can have good control of the carillon. A carillonneur who wants to ‘play in’ can use a special practice keyboard, which is placed elsewhere in the tower and corresponds to the carillon’s keyboard. Its playing, however, cannot be heard outside. In addition to the hand playing of the carillonneur, an automatic chime for the time strike is played every fifteen minutes (an Eindhoven variant of Big Ben). Furthermore, a short melody is played on the 13 largest bells at 9:00 am, 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm.
The carillon is in the north tower of the church and has 61 bells with a total weight of 16 tons. This makes it one of the largest carillons in the Netherlands.
Rosemarie Seuntiëns is city carillonneur. The carillon is played on Tuesdays from 12.30 pm to 1.30 pm and on Fridays from 4 pm to 5 pm. Every first Saturday of the month, Rosemarie plays from 2.25-2.55 pm, prior to the concerts “Muziek in de Cathrien”.
Arie Abbenes is a substitute carillonneur. He was city carillonneur from 1969 to June 27, 2009. On his retirement he received the Medal of the City of Eindhoven.