The carillon of Sint Petersburg

A carillon of 51 bells was installed in the famous St. Paulus & Petrus Church in St. Petersburg in May 2001.


Tsaar Peter the Great visited The Netherlands many times throughout his life. He not only was impressed by the ship building and other trades, but also the carillons of Leiden en Amsterdam. In 1720 he bought his first carillon which was installed in the St. Paulus & Petrus Church. This carillon unfortunately was destroyed by lightning in 1756. In 1760 he bought a new carillon, made by Johannus Nicholaus Derck, from a clock maker in the Hague, named Barend Oootkras. Barend Oortkras traveled with the carillon and a number of his experienced workers to St. Petersburg for the installation of the carillon. When he arrived there the tower had not quite been renovated yet, so consequently the carillon could not be installed at that time. Barend Oortkras never got his money refunded and died from poverty in 1764 in St. Petersburg. Finally in 1776 is the carillon installed by a German clock maker. This carillon fell into deterioration later on. This old carillon had been operating with a newly installed cylinder drum player.

In 1996 a committee was formed of 252 sponsors who collected funds for financing the making of a new carillon. The most active person for this project was the well known carillonneur Jo Haazen.

The new carillon

The new carillon has a range of 51 bells beginning with Bes0 – C1 – D1 chromatic thru D5. Total weight of these bells is 33,450 pounds. The bells are hung in a steel constructed frame. The clappers are from rvs shanks with manganese bronze or cast iron heads. A special clavier was designed from oak wood with a classic looking finish. The clavier dimensions are based on the North European Standard with several accommodations requested by carillonneur Jo Haazen.

The tower is beautifullly located on an island and is visited yearly by millions of guests. Carillonneurs Jo Haazen and Marina Nevskaya play regular recitals here.