The Carillon School Jef Denyn was established in 1922 by the eponymous city carillonneur of Mechelen. He had already finalised his plans for the school as early as 1913 but World War I prevented him from executing them.

Jef Denyn's pioneering work culminated in the establishment of the Carillon School. Mechelen was the only place in the world where you could study to become a carillonneur until another carillon programme was established in 1953 in Amersfoort (NL).

Initially the school was funded with Belgian and international donations. Until 1930, the Mechelen-based Carillon School thrived and prospered. After this period, the depression undermined its finances, a problem that was only compounded by World War II.


The Carillon School Jef Denyn was only officially recognised by the Ministry of Education in 1959. From then on, it also paid the teachers.

In the Nineties, the Government of Flanders conferred the title of Cultural Ambassador to the school on four occasions. The Carillon School's organisation and funding are set out in the Decree of the Government of Flanders of 10 June 2005, Article 5.  Under this decree, the Carillon School now enjoys a unique position among Flemish educational institutions. Since 2005, the Carillon School offers a part-time arts education programme.