History of the Organ at St. Willibrordus in Kloosterburen

by: Cees Van Dam

The church was built in 1869 and the 'old' Van-Oeckelen-organ from the former church was placed there. It was a small organ from Petrus van Oeckelen, built in 1848 (see below).

The Van Oeckelen-family originated from Breda where Petrus's father (Cornelis van Oeckelen; 1762-1837) was known as a watch and clock maker from 1787. From 1803 he was the carilloneur of the city of Breda. As an organ builder he probably was a self-taught man.

Petrus (1792-1878) went to Groningen in 1810 as a carilloneur and (musical) instrumentmaker, and set up his own business. He placed many new and second-hand organs in the provinces of Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe:

year - city/village. religion; new or 'second'-hand
1819 - Assen, Herv (=Hervormde = Dutch Reformed Church) Grote Jozef Abdij; his first new organ
1831 - Groningen, Herv Nieuwe Noorder: his second new organ
1840 - Zwolle, Waalse (=Walloon church) Geertruiden; second-hand organ from Groningen
1841 - Groningen, Geref (=Reformed church) Parklaan: organ from Groningen, Broeren-church
1841 - Smilde, Herv Koepel; new organ
1842 - Groningen, RK (=Roman Catholic) Academie of Broere; new organ
1845 - Tjamsweer, Herv; rebuilding of a J.W. Timpe-organ (1830)
1847 - Rolde, Herv; second-hand organ (originally a German organ)
1847 - Kloosterburen, Herv; new organ; 1 manual, coupled pedal; 8 voices
1848 - Kloosterburen, RK St. Willibrordus; new organ; 1 manual, coupled pedal; 8 voices

The disposition of both organs was probably:
Prestant 8
Holpijp 8
Viola di Gamba 8
Octaaf 4
Fluit 4
Quint 2 2/3
Octaaf 2 or Woudfluit 2
Trompet 8

1849 - Breede, Herv; second-hand organ; rebuilt by Van Oeckelen
1851 - Garmerwolde, Herv; new organ
1851 - Saaxumhuizen, Herv; new organ
1852 - Usquert, Herv Petrus & Paulus; new
1853 - Akkerdum, Herv; new
1854 - Veendam, RK (=Roman Catholic) Maria ten Hemelopneming; new organ
1855 - Groningen, Doops (=Doopsgezinde=Mennonite church); new
1856 - Akkrum, Herv; nw
1857 - Harlingen, Herv Wester; new
1859 - Zuidlaren, Herv Ontmoetings; second hand organ (1787)
1860 - Steenwijk, Herv Grote Clemens ; new organ
1861 - Beetgum, Herv; new organ 2MaP
1861 - Odoorn, Herv; new organ
1862 - Groningen, Herv Pepergasthuis; new organ
1862 - Peize, Herv; second hand organ from Groningen (1631)
1862 - Beerta, Herv; new
1862 - Westerbork, Herv;second-hand from Friesland (1726)
1863 - Middelstum, Herv Hypolitus; nw
1864 - Muntendam, Herv; new
1864 - Noorddijk, Herv; new
1865 - Oude Pekela, Herv; nw
1867 - Wagenborgen, Herv; new
1867 - Tolbert, Herv; nw
1868 - Nieuwe Pekela, Luth; new
1869 - Blijham, Herv; new
1869 - Visvliet, Herv; new
1869 - Slochteren, Herv; new
1870 - Kolderveen, Herv; new
1871 - Oenkerk, Herv; nieuw orgel
1872 - Ruinerwold, Herv; new
1873 - Westerlee, Herv Joris; new organ
1873 - Leermens, Herv Donatus; new organ
1873 - Westeremden, Herv Andreas; new
1874 - Oosteinde, Herv; new
1875 - Groningen, Waalse; new
1875 - Sappemeer, Herv; new
1876 - Burum, Herv; new
1876 - Klein Wetsinge, Herv; second-hand
1876 - Noordlaren, Herv Bartholomeüs; new
1876 - Stadskanaal, Herv Oosterkade; new
1879 - Den Andel, Herv; new
1879 - Wirdum, Herv; new
1879 - Nieuw Buinen, Herv; new
1880 - Steenwijk, Herv Kleine OL Vrouwe ; new
1880 - Tjamsweer, Herv; new
1882 - Diever, Herv; second-hand from Tjamsweer
1882 - Veendam, Geref; new
1883 - Niekerk, Herv; new
1884 - Assen, Geref Noorder; new
1885 - Groningen, Rem; new
1885 - Vries, Herv; new
1887 - Dwingeloo, Herv; new
1888 - Breda, Luth; new
1889 - Delft, Luth; new
1890 - Delfzijl, Herv Centrum; new
1893 - Westernieland, Herv; new
1894 - Niekerk, Herv; new
1894 - Woltersum, Herv; new
1895 - Slochteren, Herv; new
1895 - Oenkerk, Geref; new
1896 - Groningen, Luth; new
1898 - Kloosterburen, Herv; new

The disposition of this organ is nowadays:
Manuaal
Bourdon 16 (from c)
Prestant 8
Holpijp 8
Viola da Gamba 8
Octaaf 4
Fluit 4
Octaaf 2

1899 - Odoorn, Herv; new
1900 - Garsthuizen, Herv; new
1903 - Oldehove, Herv Liudger; new
1903 - Musselkanaal, Herv; new
1905 - Ter Apel, Herv Kloosterkerk; new
1906 - Borgsweer, Herv ; new
1909 - Dorkwerd, Herv; second-hand organ
1911 - Lutjegast, Herv; new
1915 - Leek, Herv; the last new organ that the firm built.

You see that during his life Petrus has been a busy man and the firm has also built organs in the west (e.g. in Amsterdam) and the south of our country.

After Petrus's death, his sons Cornelis Allegondus (1829-1905) and Antonius (1839-1918) continued the firm. In the year 1918 the firm was sold to Harmannus Thijs (the foreman), who sold his firm to Lucas Rinkema in 1933. In 1966 the firm comes to his end.

Cornelis Jacobus van Oeckelen (1798-1865) was Petrus's brother. He was pianomaker and inventor of mechanical instruments. In 1840 he leaves Holland and goes to Batavia (nowadays in Indonesia). In 1844/7 he rebuilts the organ in Semarang, Herv. In 1855 he goes to the USA.

Henricus (1835-1894) was a third son of Petrus. He worked in Petrus's firm, but (being the scapegoat of the family) he became a carpenter in the city of Groningen and later he was an employee of Roelf Meijer. Probably he tuned the pianos and was carpenter as well. You can read more about him in the site.

From 1891 (when the church sold the Van Oeckelen-organ) till 1925 they used a reed-organ (harmonium).

The second organ of the Roman Catholic Church was built by the firm of Jos. Adema (from Amsterdam). He was -like Petrus van Oeckelen- a catholic organ builder. Adema has built organs since about 1855 and the firm still exists. From 1868 they build organs in the French (symphonical) tradition (like Cavaillé-Coll).

The disposition of the new organ was:
Hoofdwerk:
Bourdon 16
Prestant 8
Bourdon 8
Salicionaal 8
Octaaf 4
Fluit 4
Mixtuur 2-3-4st
Trompet harmonique 8
Zwelwerk:
Holpijp 8
Viola di Gamba 8
Vox Celestis 8
Dolce 8
Flûte harm. 4
Picolo 2
Melophoon 8
Tremulant
Pedaal:
Subbas 16
Gedekt Bas 8

They say, that the last 20 years this organ has been silent, (current year 2001) because of the lack of money (for restauration).

The church has been built in 1869 by Cuypers, a very famous (catholic) Dutch architect. In 1903 his son enlarged the church.

During the Second Worldwar the bells of the church were claimed by the Germans and in 1946 the church became four new ones, made by Petit & Fritsen.


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Updated Sunday, November 21, 2004