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Klok & Peel Museum Asten reopens with completely renovated and expanded galleries
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands attends the opening of the renovated National Carillon and Nature Museum, which goes under the new name Peel & Clock Museum in Asten, The Netherlands. AFP PHOTO/ ROBIN UTRECHT.

ASTEN.- With the ringing of a bell, specially cast for her, Queen Beatrix officially opened Klok & Peel Museum Asten tuesday morning (April 24). Immediately after the opening, Astens Mayor P. Grem appointed museum chairman Harry van der Loo as Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau (Ridder in de Orde van Oranje Nassau).

With great interest of the public and press Queen Beatrix was welcomed at the museum by Queen's Commissioner Van de Donk, Mayor Grem, museum chairman and museum Van der Loo and museum director Mrs. Botden-Lemmens. During the tour of the museum the Queen met employees and volunteers of the museum.

Beatrix bell
The opening ceremony took place in the new large exhibition hall in the middle of the museum. At the request of the museum, Royal Eijsbouts had cast a new bell for the occasion that bears the name Beatrix. In Latin it is written on the clock: "Beatrix gave me her name and made me sound for the first time on 24 April 2012. I sing for peace, unity and love." With a loud knock on the bell the Queen opened the new Klok & Peel Museum Asten. Then followed a spectacular performance of carillonneur Rosemarie Seuntiëns.

Royal honor
Immediately after the royal visit museum chairman Van der Loo received a royal honor. Because of his many merits for the museum and various organizations in the municipality of Asten, he was appointed Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau.

The museum has undergone a total change. The existing museum building on the Ostaderstraat in Asten has been completely renovated and expanded with 1100 square meters. The former dark corridors have been replaced by an open, spacious interior with natural light and beautiful sight lines. The centerpiece is the large, new exhibition hall in the middle of the museum. The new entrance with a museum shop and digital information centre is spacious. Furthermore, the museum has a new movie theater with education space, a new museum cafe with outdoor terrace and a new office on the first floor with conference rooms. The renovated museum is a multi purpose building and has all the modern facilities for welcoming individuals and groups for a whole day. At the rear of Klok & Peel Museum Asten are the newly built museum gardens. In it lies the large new glass Oranjerie where workshops, educational projects, events and summer evening concerts are organized. The design of the new buildings is by Van Amersfoort Hoogevest Architects, the company that also worked on the renovation of the Dutch Rijksmuseum. The design of the museum's redecoration is by Van Laarhoven Museums and Heritage from Berg en Dal.

With the renovation, expansion and renovation, the museum has received an above regional allure. There is plenty of space for exhibiting the two unique collections. Klok & Peel Museum Asten has the largest collection of bells and carillons (chimes) in the world. In a timeline the visitor follows all the themes who are related to bells and carillions. From the origin and the ringing of the bell up to bell casting, bell sounds and historical carillons. In the centre hall the "Bells of the World" are exhibited. The second collection of the museum covers the entire natural and cultural history of the Peel region on the border of the Dutch provences Brabant and Limburg. It begins with the "invisible nature", including a fox underground fortress. Then also this collection follows a timeline. In 'The Peel at sea" fossils and a life-size mammoth skeleton can be seen. The exhibition "From Peel Swamp to national park” shows the rich flora and fauna of the area. In “The inhabited Peel” the emphasis lies on culture and people, including the Golden Helmet which was found in The Peel. Once outside in the museum gardens, the two museum collections merge “From herb garden to sounds garden.”

More than museum
With the new name Klok & Peel Museum Asten and new contemporary logo, the museum wants to emphasize its unique identity: global center for bell and carillon and natural and cultural heritage center for The Peel. But the revamped museum is more than that. In the building, in collaboration with Regional Historic Centre Eindhoven, a Heritage point is located where all the cultural and historical information about The Peel is available. Furthermore, the museum is located at the new Museum Square, a tourist-recreational junction for anyone who wants to discover the Peel region. For fifteen people the museum offers a special work environment in the context of the Social Employment Act (Wsw). There are also ten reintegration places in partnership with the Atlant Group and the municipalities of Asten and Someren. There are over 150 active volunteers for the museum. In the field of ecology, the new museum has a challenging ambition. It has its own ground water project, green sedum roofs, thermal storage system and energy saving LED lighting. Soon the museum will produce its own electricity through solar panels. After that Klok & Peel Museum Asten will be the greenest museum in the Netherlands.

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April 26, 2012

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