Jump to content
Mander Organ Builders Forum

Bats in St Bavo


Recommended Posts

All of a sudden those severe 1960s neo-baroque cases with grills filling the space between and above the pipes in the facade don't seem such a bad idea.

An article in the Dutch Reformatorisch Dagblad gives more detail, saying that in effect the whole facade is going to be restored, but also says that woodworm has been found in the instrument and needs to be treated. Also, as the facade pipes need to be cleaned they're going to take the opportunity to address a couple of the 32' pedal pipes which speak poorly or not at all. It's going to be quite a job. As an aside, I don't know whether organ cases and the musical parts are or can be listed separately as historical monuments in the Netherlands, as in France.

You can read the article here Vleermuis vervuilt Müllerorgel Bavo Haarlem; grote schoonmaak nodig (rd.nl) - but not on a Sunday. The RD is the daily newspaper of the Dutch Reformed Church, and they apply the day of rest to their website as well as to other daily activities. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 10 months later...

With sincere apologies to St Bavo - what is the latest situation there with these problems? - as the Board has been decidedly silent recently, this “irreverent tale” from the late Stephen Bicknell might lighten some people’s day.  He carefully uses pseudonyms throughout, but his opinions of the composer and organ are loud and clear.  


For anyone who ventures into the other tales in this series, only in the case of St Sulpice and Maître Daniel Roth does Stephen Bicknell, from awe and respect, use real names.



Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to the attached newspaper articles (Google-translatable, as usual), the church authorities called in a company which used infra-red and sonar devices to find out where the bats (dwergvleermuis, literally "dwarf bat", formally a common pipistrelle) were entering the building. One entry point was a broken window, another by a support 30m up! They blocked / repaired these holes and arranged to guide the bats to another part of the roof where they placed special boxes for them. They're a protected species. Now, various pipes of the organ have been removed for repair of the damage caused by bat urine, and wooden parts of the instrument which have been affected by death watch beetle are also being attended to, all while the organ remains playable, albeit missing a few ranks and with some scaffoldoing in the way.


Historisch Haarlem (25): de geheimen van de Bavo (1) - zo komen de vleermuizen in de kerk (rodi.nl)

Vleermuizenurine reden achter restauratie Christian Müllerorgel Bavo (rodi.nl)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Please sign in to comment

You will be able to leave a comment after signing in

Sign In Now
  • Create New...