The campus will receive a seven-metre-high carillon. The bell tower will have a function during celebrations such as the Dies Natalis and diploma award ceremonies.
Artist’s impression of the carillon to be placed between Atlas and Forum. © SW Architecten
The carillon is a gift to the centenarian university from the University Fund Wageningen (UFW) and a number of donators. The tower, designed with a modern touch and eighteen bells, will be placed between Forum and Atlas. The clock is to be revealed on 9 November, during the conclusion of the festive year.
The idea for the bell tower came from emeritus professor Rudy Rabbinge. ‘I have been a professor at several institutes around the world, including Berkeley. Many universities have a bell tower with a carillon that plays during official events. I thought it would be pleasant to have something similar in Wageningen too. The UFW embraced that idea.’
According to fundraiser Arianne van Ballegooij, the UFW has a tradition of gifting art for anniversaries. ‘The tree next to Forum was one of these gifts, and so was the large steel flower in the Belmonte Arboretum. The bell tower fits right up that alley.’ The carillon will be given a strictly ceremonial function, Rabbinge emphasises. ‘It is not a church bell that plays every hour. It is a carillon that is supposed to increase the revelry during special occasions.’
The bell tower was designed by SW Architecten in Wageningen. The tower consists of eighteen bells which hover above the ground forming a three-metre-wide circle, which in turn is supported by five curved steel legs. The entirety lies on a sloping concrete base. The tower will stand around seven metres tall. The bell will be cast by the world-famous Royal Eijsbouts Bell Foundry in Asten.
The bells will be silent most of the time. According to the permit granted by the municipality of Wageningen, the carillon will play no more than twelve times a year for ten minutes. ‘Melodies like Io Vivat (link in Dutch) during graduation ceremonies in the Aula are played on the organ’, says Rabbinge. ‘But it could be anything.’ A committee is working on a draft of the rules of usage for the carillon.
The municipality of Wageningen has set a condition on the placement of the bell tower, which is that the area around the spot should be ‘cleaned’. The municipality thinks that the central area of the campus, with its waste bins, billboards and flagpoles, is a bit of a mess and therefore advises to hire a landscape architect to take care of the remainder of the campus.