On its 100 year anniversary, the Dutch Carillon Association was granted the designation “Royal” by His Royal Highness King Willem-Alexander. The King’s Commissioner, sir Wilibrord van Beek, awarded the Royal title in a festive ceremony during a symposium in Museum Speelklok in Utrecht on Monday the 1st of October, at 14.15.
In his speech, Wilibrord van Beek expressed his connection to everything relating to bells and turret clocks. After his speech, he presented the certificate to Ada Boerma, president of the NKV. In her word of thanks, Ada Boerma underlined the importance of this recognition. The title not only represents a boost for this society but stands as a testament for all involved associations worldwide. During the past century, the NKV has made a substantial contribution to the preservation and growth of this important cultural heritage. To continue this work, cooperation is crucial, as is obtaining widespread support and securing the involvement of the next generation.
The NKV was founded on June 20th 1918, in Utrecht, under the name “Algemeene Klokkenspel Vereeniging, afdeeling Noord-Nederland”. In 1927, this name was changed to “Nederlandse Klokkenspel-Vereniging” (Dutch Carillon Association). Already in the first draft of the statutes, the society's goals were described as “the arousing of interest and the rehabilitation of the carillon as an expression of art in this era and sense of community in the Netherlands.
During the symposium drs Heleen van der Weel, historian and former city carillonneur of The Hague, spoke about the earliest history of the NKV under the title “It is desperate, thankless work and also underpaid”. Arie Abbenes, former city carillonneur of Utrecht, talked about the start of the Utrecht Carillon Society in1928 in his talk “Progress out of Conservatism”.
Richard de Waardt, city carillonneur of Rotterdam, looked ahead in his "Recent developments in the art of carillon, looking to the future". He spoke with enthusiasm about current developments in The Netherlands and Flanders: new instruments, new sheet music and literature publications, increased sharing of music using modern media, travelling carillons, the recognition of the value of intangible cultural heritage, carillon schools and a youth class in Mechelen where children can learn to play the carillon.
These talks were interspersed with concerts played on the carillon of the Dom Tower. Dirk S. Donker presented a program with Dutch carillon music dating back from the earliest days of the NKV. Afterwards, Gijsbert Kok played a selection of carillon music written for Utrecht by Jan Wagenaar, Wouter Paap and Chris Bos, amongst others.