Monnickendam has the world’s oldest carillon (still in its original state) and it’s the most out of tune. This is definitely a set of noteworthy bells to see and hear 😅. I think you should include Monnickendam to your list of places to explore near Amsterdam. It is such a lovely historic village.
The world’s oldest carillon and many other unusual clocks and bells are at the Waterlandmuseum de Speeltoren in the historic centre of Monnickendam.
This is a video of the carillon mechanism:
Why are the bells out of tune?
What’s special about this carillon is that it isn’t only the oldest, but also the most out of tune. You can definitely hear it! 😅 The carillon sounds false because most of the bells were cast between 1595 and 1597 and at the time bells could not be tuned after they were cast.
The bells might sound a little off-tune, but I think this only adds to their charm.
More unusual bells
We also enjoyed this Ka’i Organ, a cylinder piano invented in Germany in 1842. The organ was popular in the Antilles and is still played in the Dutch Antilles today.
The museum also has a replica of one of the earliest type of clocks, known as a foliot. It was often used in cloisters in the 15th century and works using tiny weights.
Where is Monnickendam?
The village is just north of Amsterdam on the Markermeer. In my opinion Monnickendam is not as touristy than nearby Marken and I think it offers a more authentic Dutch village experience.
There is so much to explore in and around Monnickendam that I would recommend you make a weekend out of it and stay in the area for a few days. We stayed in this retro 1950s wagon in De Beemster area, near the towns of Purmerend and De Rijp.
Waterlandmuseum de Speeltoren
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Stay near Monnickendam:
Other fun experiences in North Holland: