Image organ Singelkerk


On May 1st, 1967 Jan L. van den Heuvel was registered in Dordrecht as an independent organ builder. At that time Jan was 20 years old and the youngest registered independent organ builder in the Netherlands. Before then he worked in the company of the well-known organ builder Dirk. A. Flentrop in Zaandam.

In 1970 Jan was commissioned to build a completely new (III/P, 32) organ for the reformed church in Ridderkerk. In 1975 his younger brother Peter joined the company.

The reputation of van den Heuvel-organs is known for many years: the large 32-foot church and concert organs in Katwijk, (Nieuwe Kerk IV/P, 80), Paris (St.Eustache V/P, 101), Geneva (Victoria Hall IV/P, 71), Münich (St. Franziskuskirche III/P 51), Stockholm (Katarinakyrka III/P 62) and Kopenhagen (concert hall Danish Radio & TV IV/P 91) are famous. But also the others instruments like Opheusden (III/P, 40(, Lunteren (III/P, 46) and Ridderkerk (II/P 29) are very remarkable.

Van den Heuvel not only build large pipe organs but also design, build, restore and maintain many small church, choir, house and organs for study purposes with the same care and precision.

Every Van den Heuvel organ is specially designed for customer needs in close cooperation with the customer, their organists and the organ consultant involved.

Images Singelkerk Ridderkerk

Image Cavaillé-Coll

Orientation on Cavaillé-Coll

For years both brothers had, in addition to the Dutch organ building style, a lively interest in French organ building from the 19th century. They were particularly interested in the work of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll. Contacts with famous French organists like Michelle Leclerc and Daniel Roth opened up possibilities of an in-dept study of Cavaillé-Coll organs including N-D-cathedral, St. Sulpice and Sacré-Coeur Paris.

Images Nieuwe Kerk Katwijk

Image Jan van den Heuvel


Below you will find articles that describe our organ building philosophy.

The development of Aristide Cavaillé-Coll's work in the past, the present and into the future

This article was published in German, English and French in the ISO (International Society of Organbuilders) Journal, 1999 and is available as a PDF.
Author: J.L. van den Heuvel

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The organs built by Van den Heuvel are known for their warm fundamental organ sound, a sound that is vocal towards the high notes but not thin and sharp. The organ sound is subservient and all possible timbres are present to optimally support and colour the content of the psalms and hymns to be sung. This makes Van den Heuvel organs very suitable for accompanying (community) singing.

Image Feike Asma

Van den Heuvel organs and community singing

More than 200 CDs have been recorded on Van den Heuvel-organs. The first new organ was built for the Singelkerk in Ridderkerk. The first few years after delivery organ recitals with hymn-singing attracted more than 1.000 visitors from all over the country. The first organ solo album was recorded by Klaas Jan Mulder and over 10.000 copies were sold. Famous foreign organists were invited including the French organists Michelle Leclerc and Daniel Roth.

The CDs “Hymnsinging by only men” from the Nieuwe Kerk in Katwijk are known world-wide: it was an ideal of the Katwijk organist Jaap van Rijn to bring 1.600 men together and to accompany the singing of these men with the 80-stop Van den Heuvel-organ. It turned out to be a great success and this happening returned annually ever since. CD’s were released from every event and the proceeds were used to finance the building of another Van den Heuvel organ (25 stops) in the Oude Kerk at Katwijk. Once this organ was built, the proceeds were donated to many charities.

The concert trips to, among others, the huge Van den Heuvel-organ in Paris, can be called unique too. Over 50.000 singers from the Netherlands have participated in these concerts.

Certain Dutch villages are known for their special way of hymn-singing traditions; we already mentioned the fishing village of Katwijk, but also at other villages, like Yerseke (Van den Heuvel-organ III/P, 42) and Opheusden (Van den Heuvel-organ III/P, 40), the hymn-singing is very massive and impressive. It goes without saying that every place, church-congregation and organist has a special place within the wide possibilities of singing to God’s glory.

It would therefore go too far to list all places separately. However interesting to hear is of course also the ecclesiastical use of small and larger Van den Heuvel-organs abroad: surprising, for example, is the singing as usual in the church of Mänttä (Finland, Van den Heuvel III/P, 30) but also as usual in the US ( New York, Van den Heuvel III/P, 31).

Sound fragments

Nieuwe Kerk, Katwijk aan Zee

Organist: Jaap van Rijn

Als 't bazuingeschal des Heeren klinkt en Jezus' komst is daar.

Nieuwe Kerk, Katwijk aan Zee

Organist: Klaas Jan Mulder

Hoe lieflijk zijn de voeten van hen, die een goede boodschap brengen (G.F. Händel)

Gereformeerde Gemeente, Yerseke

Organist: Pieter Heijkoop

Psalm 130

St. Eustache, Parijs

Organist: Klaas Jan Mulder

Psalm 95

Mäntän Seurakunta, Mänttä (Finland)

Organist: Sami Salomaa

0 On riemu, kun saan tulla