Boudewijn will not play the bells of the Westertoren for a year: “I will miss this sound so much”

The jewel of the Amsterdam Jordaan, or the Westertoren, gave the neighborhood a concert for the last time today. Music can be heard from the highest church tower in the city day and night, but once a week carillonneur Boudewijn Zwart operates the carillon. He has to miss his instrument for a year until the major maintenance is finished, and that means a lot to him: “This is the most beautiful workplace in Amsterdam.”

Westertoren – NH News

The local residents will have to do without beautiful sounds from the Westertoren in the coming period: “It is beautiful, it really belongs to Amsterdam”, said one of the people who was listening to the last concert on the quay. But before that happened, city carillonneur Boudewijn Zwart played music one more time today at noon through the city: “This feels strange, a year without it.”

For local residents, the sounds are a familiar sound and it will take some getting used to when they can no longer be heard every day: “I am woken up every morning by the tower, how the hell am I supposed to do that?” Zwart also sees the church and tower as part of the Jordaan: “Anne Frank heard the music from the tower when she was hiding in the Secret Annex, she even writes about it in her book.”

“In the past, the tower was really a radio for the city: music from that time was played by my predecessors”

Boudewijn Zwart – city carillonneur

The carillonneur has been playing the bells for almost forty years. “It’s really my passion.” Black plays in several church towers in the city: “But this one is so special. Fortunately, I don’t have to climb all those stairs for a year, that is an advantage.”

Every Tuesday, the last minutes are a duet between the carillonneur and the well-known ‘trumpeter in his boat’. About twenty years ago, a trumpeter on the water suddenly played along with Zwart, after which they decided to always play a back-and-forth duet. “That is also the last time, he will miss me,” jokes Zwart.

See you in a year

The quay of the Prinsengracht is packed with people who come to listen one last time before they have to miss it. “But”, Black emphasizes. “It’s not completely over, don’t worry. In a year the tower and the sound will be back, I hope to be able to play again before Christmas. But you never know how the maintenance will go.”

One of the spectators would like to give a compliment: “He’s doing so well, thanks for all that beautiful music and see you soon. I can’t wait!”

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