Grote Kerk Nijkerk
In 1754, the Ambtsjonckers who governed Nijkerk decided to build a new church organ for the Grote Kerk. The old organ had been destroyed in 1673 by French soldiers stationed in the church. But the tide turned and Nijkerk started earning a fortune by growing tobacco. The cabinetmaker Andries van Bolder made the oak organ case and Matthijs van Deventer took care of the pipework, the mechanics, and all the other interior work of the organ. Various bills show that many others also contributed: painters, a wood merchant, a blacksmith, carpenters, and the sculptor who made the pillars.
In 1779, a clock was placed on the middle tower of the main work. This clock was supplied by the Belgian clockmaker Van Fischer and crowned with Nijkerk’s coat of arms. The original panel, representing the Nijkerk lion in carved wood, can still be seen on the wall in the vestry. The organ builder Johannes Andreas Paradijs from Amsterdam took care of the maintenance of the organ until 1800. From 1800 to 1811, the organ was maintained by Nijkerker Gerhard Axsen.
From 1812 onward, maintenance was entrusted to Abraham Meere. Among other things, he repaired several sagging pipes, extended many Prestant pipes, and placed new languets in the Trompet and the Dulciaan. Besides working on the instrument’s mechanisms, he also made a change in the disposition. The Cornet III of the rear work was replaced by a Carillon III and the Quint 1 1/2′ by a Fluit Travers 8′ (discant). He also placed five wooden front pipes on both corners of the rear work. Until 1844, several organ builders maintained the organ. In that year, Carl Friedrich August Naber came into the picture. He took on maintenance of the organ and performed a range of work on the instrument. A change in disposition followed in 1855, but it is not known by whom this was carried out. In the rear work, a Viola di Gamba (from c) was inserted to replace the Carillon III. The original Van Deventer Woudfluit was placed in the main work, taking the place of the Tertiaan II. The Woudfluit’s old position was filled by a Gemshoorn 4′ (from c). The Mixtuur VI of the main work was reduced to III-IV. The Sesquialter II became discant only.
A striking event in the history of the organ is that at some point, it was painted entirely white. It isn’t clear what year this happened, but it was probably around 1863.
In 1910, the firm De Koff from Utrecht placed a Subbas 16′ on the pedal, which is no longer attached. He installed two pedal couplers, in addition to other work. The Woudfluit 2′ of the main work (originally situated on the rear work), was replaced by a Violon 8′ (from c). The Octaaf 2′ was made less shrill. In the rear work, the Fluit Travers 8′ by Abraham Meere was replaced with a Prestant 8′ (from c). De Koff also replaced the manuals and the pedal.
In 1937, the white layer of paint was removed from the organ, resulting in the beautiful dark brown color reappearing. The firm Koch improved the organ on a number of points and installed an electric motor.
Shortly after the Second World War, the organ committee developed plans to expand the organ with a large free pedal. There would have been a total of ten pedal registers, including four reed stops. Due to the high costs, this plan could not be implemented. The desire to add pedal registers still exists, but this is a complicated matter because of limited space in and behind the main-work casing.
In 1953, another restoration took place. This was performed by the Koch company, which delivered a new Mixtuur VI for the main work. The Sesquialter II got pipes in the bass again and the Tertiaan II was replaced. These two registers were partly composed of original pipework, as was used in the Mixtuur.
The rear work again received a Woudfluit 2′. The then organist Hein Bouwman, however, did not like the sound this produced and came up with his own solution. He placed the pipes of the Gemshoorn 4′ (which had been kept with the organ) one octave lower (so it became a two-foot stop) in place of the Woudfluit. There was also a new Carillon III, although Van Deventer had not originally included it in the disposition. It was Abraham Meere who placed that register in 1812, replacing the Cornet III. Finally, the Mixtuur III of the rear work, which was still original, was shifted by a semitone.
There was dissatisfaction with the result of this restoration. Many registers had lost clarity, vitality, and volume. From 1956 to 1960, the firm Gebr. Van Vulpen carried out works on the organ, in which a large number of registers were revoiced. The Mixtuur III of the rear work was replaced with a new one.
In the early 70s, plans were made to have the organ restored by the Gebr. Van Vulpen company. Over the years, many pipes had been moved, reused, and roughly shortened, which meant that the organ could no longer be called a solid instrument. The restoration was carried out in phases. The original disposition was restored, and it was possible to identify the majority of the original composition of the mutation stops through some clever research. The factory manuals were also replaced by new, old-style manuals, and all the technical interiors were restored. The Subbas 16′ was maintained. The restoration was completed in 1988, and since then, the Grote Kerk in Nijkerk has once again had a beautiful historic organ at its disposal.
I. Rugwerk (C – c³)*
Quint 1 1/2′
Cornet III (discant)
II. Hoofdwerk (C – c³)*
Cornet IV (discant)
Trompet 8′ (bas / discant)
P. Pedaal (C – d¹)*
Hoofdwerk – Pedaal
Rugwerk – Pedaal
Rugwerk – Hoofdwerk (bas / discant)
* Manual compass extended to (C – f³), and Pedal compass extended to (C – f¹)
** Hauptwerk additions
- 4 channels (2 stereo channels －front and rear) of chromatically sampled stop-by-stop pipes.
- Sampled tremulant.
- Console, dual, and control screens.
4 channels, 24-bit lossless compression, multiple sample loops: 20.4 GB
4 channels, 20-bit lossless compression, multiple sample loops: 15.8 GB
4 channels, 16-bit lossless compression, multiple sample loops: 10.7 GB