Museum Speelklok is definitely one of the most interesting museums in the Netherlands. It is a museum about self-playing musical instruments from the 15th century to the present day, together with their music programmes and documentation. The word Speelklok means musical clock.
The museum features one of the most extensive collection in the world. More than 1100 instruments are housed in an early-medieval parish church, Buurtkerk (Citizens’ Church), since 1984. Every automated musical instruments are presented here; from tiny music boxes to elegant table clocks, mechanical pianolas to wonderful orchestrions (self-playing orchestras) and portable barrel organs to grand stupendous traditional Dutch street organs. They come in all shapes, sizes, sounds and colors. Check out the main centerpiece, a 2-storey high turret clock with carillon dating back to 1550-1600.
There are plenty to see and do at Museum Speelklok. In the technology room, visitors are allowed to play and listen to different instruments. Study how these instruments were put together to produce different sounds. Discover the technical aspects hidden behind these self-playing musical instruments.
Follow the museum expedition and delve into its history. Learn which self-playing musical instruments were among the first found in houses. Send the kids throughout the museum halls on an Organ Monkey Toon treasure hunt. Stop by the Music Factory where everyone can compose their own music on a play-box.
When visiting Museum Speelklok, you must partake in the guided family-friendly Musical Tour! It is the only way to hear the music playing live from a ‘programme’ melody running on cylinder, perforated paper roll, metal disc, cardboard book or memory chips. Which instruments start off by means of winding a spring, lowering a weight or using a motor? Listen to the repertoire ranging from waltz, tango, old classic and the latest hits. Experience the soft playing music from a Rabbit in a Cabbage (1911) and the loudness from a famous street organ named Arabier or The Arab (1925). Watch my snippets of my personal video about this guided tour.
Such guided tour starts at every hour from 1030hrs at half past the hour in Dutch and English. The last tour is at 1530hrs. Duration of each tour is approximately 45 minutes and it is FREE for all visitors with valid entrance tickets.
It is a live musical journey through history, tuning in on stories and grasping the mechanics of some of the star instruments. Highly recommended!
Museum Speelklok collects, preserves, presents and restores an extensive array of self-playing mechanical musical instruments. It has its own Restoration Room on site, which open for visitors (+€3.00 per person) every first Wednesday of the month.
On your way out, stop by the museum café for some delicious pies and browse around the museum shop for wonderful trinkets such as wind up music boxes.
Museum Speelklok is located right in the busiest shopping street of Steenweg in Utrecht center.
Address: Steenweg 6. 3511JP UTRECHT.
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 1000hrs – 1700hrs
Entrance Fees: €13.00 for adults and €7.00 for kids age 4-12 years old. Family tickets (2 adults + 2 kids) for €36.00. Free entry for Museumkaart holders.
Purchase combination ticket for Dom Tower & Museum Speelklok at €17.00 for adults and €9.50 for kids.
Getting There: 10 minutes walk from Utrecht Central Station.