The church has four permanent musical instruments, three organs and a carillon.
The most impressive of the three organs is the Kam organ. It is a monumental, romantic musical instrument. In the 17th century, the Antwerp organ builder Nicolaas van Hagen was commissioned to build a new instrument. It replaced an organ that hung in the transept, made by the organ maker Kiespenning. Lack of finance meant that the work progressed only slowly. Eventually the instrument was completed in 1678 by the organ builder Carl Jacobsz. Pellereyn from Dordrecht.
More information about the Kam organ
The instrument was built according to the so-called ‘Hamburger Prospekt’, in which the pedal towers extend on both to next to the back position. The front was crowned with a total of 6 coat of arms. Het coat of arms of the county of Holland, the city coat of arms of Dordrecht and the family coats of arms of the four church masters, J. Hallincg, J. Van Beveren, A. Van Bleijenburg and C. De Witt.
In 1855, the organ, which at that time was in poor condition, was completely renewed. The order for the construction of a completely new interior went to the firm Kam from Rotterdam. The old organ case from 1671 was preserved. The new organ was put into use in 1859. Since then the organ has known as the Kam organ.
Subsequently, a number of restorations have taken place, the last one in the period 2007-2010 by organ builder Reil.
The Bach organ
Around the turn of this century, the Stichting Bachorgel Grote Kerk Dordrecht was founded. The aim was to build the type of baroque organ that was not yet present in the Netherlands, on which the music of Johann Sebastian Bach’s could be played to its full advantage. For this reason the name ‘Bach organ’ was chosen.
More information about the Bach organ
The famous Silbermann organ in Freiberg was chosen as the example of the sound of the organ that had yet to be built. The Silbermann organs of the Stadtkirche St. Petri in Freiberg and the Kathedrale Sankt Trinitatis in Dresden also inspired the builders of the organ. The Silbermann organ in the Reinhardtsgrimma’s Evangelischen Kirche was the model for the keyboard.
The organ was placed in the Maria chapel and was located in the choir closure. It was built by the Dutch organ builder Verschueren Orgelbouw and is therefore also called the Verschueren organ. In September 2007, the organ was formaly inaugurated.
The cabinet organ
The smallest, permanent musical instrument of the Grote Kerk is the cabinet organ.
In 1758, organ builder Pieter Johannes Geerkens from Dordrecht built this instrument. It is not known for whom the organ was originally made. It appeared in the church at the beginning of the 20th century. The organ was bought in 1916 from the piano dealer Ernst Krill in Utrecht.
More information about the Cabinet organ
The organ was for a long time in the Huis van Gijn Museum in Dordrecht. Recently, this cabinet organ has been relocated to the sanctuary of the Grote Kerk.
Besides the organs, intended for the church congregations, the church also has a musical instrument for visitors to the city. The carillon with its 67 bells is internationally known for its characteristic sound, pure tone and excellent playability. Most bells were cast by the Koninklijke Eijsbouts (Asten).
More information about the carillon
The municipality of Dordrecht was offered the sound-rich instrument in 1966. It was a gift from the population and the business community. In the year 2000, the carillon was expanded with four large and fourteen smaller bells. Without clappers, the total weight of the bells is about 56 tons.
The bells of the carillon are set up in a huge bell chamber measuring 14x10x10 meters. The heaviest bells hang in the more than 500-year-old bellchamber, the other thirty-nine higher in a separate wooden chamber above. The heaviest bell weighs 10,000 kilos.
The carillon, like the tower, is owned by the municipality of Dordrecht.
Carillon concerts can be listened to at various places in Dordrecht and Zwijndrecht. Recommended listening places are indicated on the map.
Besides the 67 bells of the carillon, there is another bell in the tower. This bell serves as a striking bell for the half-hour. The bell was cast in 1681 by the Rotterdam bronze founder Johannes Ouderogge. The bell bears the inscription ‘Soli Deo Gloria, Joannus Ouderogge, Rotterdams, me fecit 1681’ and weighs about 2600 kg.