The Organ of the Great church of Maassluis

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The Instrument

Rudolf Garrels (in Dutch) built the organ in the great church of Maassluis (1675-1750) in the years 1730-1732. It was a gift of Govert van Wijn (in Dutch), a rich citizen of Maassluis, ship owner and former treasurer of the fishery committee. On the 4th of December 1732, the day on which Govert van Wijn turned 90, the transfer and the usage of the new organ took place.

Rudolf Garrels was born in de East-Frisian place “Norden”. As a mate he had learned the trade from the German organ maker Arp Schnitger. Likewise many other pupils of this famous organ builder Garrels passed the border and settled himself in Groningen. Operating from this city he built several instruments according to the Schnitger-tradition similar to the still existing organ of Anloo (1718). Afterwards Garrels went to Holland and lived in Leiden and Den Haag. In the later work of Rudolf Garrels we find a synthesis of the Dutch and the German art of organ building. Especially the three manual organ of Maassluis is a good example of this synthesis. Daniel de Vries, a cabinet-maker and sculptor from Maassluis did all the carving and cutting under instruction of Rudolf Garrels.

The structure of the facade, consisting of nine parts reminds of the layout of some Schnitger organs, but is more like the instruments of the Duyschot-tradition. The vertical line is characteristic in contrast to the Nord-German horizontal accentuation. In this way a drawing originates from placing the largest front pipes in the middle tower, and situating both of the towers on a lower height. The beautiful wooden truss going down on both sides’ gives a perfect connection between those three points. Modern in the front of Maassluis is the sub truss without consoles, directly drawn to the pedal towers.

Those are merely a few elements, which indicate a synthesis between the art of building by Schnitger and the form and influences of the Dutch organ building-tradition of Hagerbeer-Duyschot. In the construction of the disposition examples are found as well. Garrels placed on every manual a trumpet 8' whilst a Vox Humana 8' was added in combination with a “Bagpipe 8' ” and a Quotidian 8'. Garrels was also inspired by examples from the Dutch school in placing a Cornet on the principal work.

In the course of time the organ of Maassluis could not be spared of changing musical tastes of several organ builders and organists. Jacobus Robbers (1772-1773), Andries Wolffers (1789-1801), Abraham Meere (1805), Jonathan Bätz (1840), Michael Maarschalkerweerd (1881) and two generations of Van Leeuwen (1938-1965) restored the organ according to their own view. A first restoration, intended to go back to the original situation of 1732, took place in the years 1956 until 1965. It soon appeared that the organ required a more radical revision. In 1975 the former churchwardens took the decision to begin a solid restoration and to restore the Garrels-organ into its original splendour so that it could be preserved for the posterity.

The extensive project obtained the full agreement and support of the Ancient Monuments Department of the Ministry of Works. The organ builders Pels and Van Leeuwen received the order. The governmental advisor for the organs, drs. O.B. Wiersma, conducted the activities a close co-operation with dr. M. A. Vente and the permanent organist of the Great church of Maassluis, Feike Asma.

The respect of the work of Rudolf Garrels was essential in realizing the restoration. Despite this a return to the situation of 1732 was not possible. An important beacon during the restoration activities was the condition of the instrument in 1840, the year in which Jonathan Bätz restored the organ and made it playable for many years. During the last restoration the entire wind supply was renewed. The wind valves of the principle work, the back work and the pedal were, when possible, restored in its original form. The missing valve of the upper work was imitated in a crafty way and placed subsequently. The entire register mechanism was replaced by a new register mechanism. Much of the historical pipe material was damaged in course of time. They had to be repaired or added in ancient style. As well the Subbas 16' (1938) as the Trumpet 32' (1975) placed on a separate valve behind the organ, have been maintained. Through this the Garrels-organ kept its broad basis even after the restoration. Until now this sound picture has stayed intact.

Disposition of the Garrels-organ of the Great church of Maassluis






(C-g3) (C-g3) (C-f)
Prestant 16' Baarpijp 8' Prestant 16' (discant) Open subbas 16'
Octaaf 8' Holpijp 8' Prestant 8' Bourdon 16'
Holpijp 8' Quintadeen 8' Holpijp 8' Roerquint 12'
Octaaf 4' Viola 8' Octaaf 4' Octaaf 8'
Nachthoorn 4' Prestant 4' Roerfluit 4' Octaaf 4'
Quint 3' Fluit 4' Quint 3' Mixtuur 5 sterk
Octaaf 2' Nasard 3' Octaaf 2' Bazuin 32'
Cornet 4 sterk (discant) Octaaf 2' Woudfluit 2' Bazuin 16'
Mixtuur 4-6 sterk Sifflet 1' Sexquialter 3 sterk (discant) Trompet 8'
Scherp 4 sterk Tertiaan 2 sterk Mixtuur 4-6 sterk Trompet 4'
Dulciaan 16' Mixtuur 4-5 sterk Trompet 8'
Trompet 8' Trompet 8' Tremulant
Tremulant Dulciaan 8'
Vox Humana 8'


Bovenwerk + Hoofdwerk, Rugwerk + Hoofdwerk,

Hoofdwerk + Pedaal, Rugwerk + Pedaal, Bovenwerk + Pedaal.


Jaap Kroonenburg is the permanent organist of the Garrels-organ of Maassluis





From 1965 till 1984 Feike Asma (1912-1984) was organist of the Garrels-organ of Maassluis

Further information

Organ concerts (in Dutch)

Other concerts (in Dutch)

Picture: organ front

Picture: organ front

Picture: Bovenwerk (Upper work) with three reed stops

Picture: The console

Picture: Copper-plate engraving 1732

Other pages about Feike Asma, the organists Zwart, Garrels organs en churchorgans (in Dutch)

Sound record: The opening bars of Concerto del Sigr. Meck (LV 134) Johann Gottfried Walther in MP3-size
Organ Grote kerk Maassluis, played by Jaap Kroonenburg. From CD Garrels 1732.89.04 LBCD 10 track 04, with kind permission of the publisher Lindenberg Boeken&Muziek, Slaak 4-14, 3061 CS Rotterdam, The Netherlands, exclusively meant for promotion of the Garrels-organ at Maassluis

Sound record: Opening bars Festliche Musik alla Haendel, opus 101 Sigfrid Karg-Elert in MP3-size
Organ Grote kerk Maassluis, played by Jaap Kroonenburg. From CD Garrels 1732.89.04 LBCD 10 track 02, with kind permission of the publisher Lindenberg Boeken&Muziek, Slaak 4-14, 3061 CS Rotterdam, The Netherlands, exclusively meant for promotion of the Garrels-organ at Maassluis


Van een deftig orgel, Jan Zwart, 2e vermeerderde druk, Uitgeverij en Antiquariaat "Jan Zwart" Koog aan de Zaan
De Grote Kerk Maassluis 1639 - 1989, T. Mastenbroek en J.J. Bosman, Maassluise Drukkerij, Maassluis

Organ committee:

Secretariat Organ committee Great church: Secretariaat Orgelcommissie Groote kerk van Maassluis, Touwbaan 68, 3142 BV Maassluis, tel. +31 10 5923417

The verger of the church: mr. W.P. Dijkstra, phone +31 6 53646807 or +31 010 5913958 (church)
The address of the church is: Kerkplein 2, 3144 EK  Maassluis

Or send an e-mail

Back to Maassluis, the right entrance or to Digitale Stad Maassluis

Version: April 19, 2003 Translation revised by Joke and Anneke Wijnhorst