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Grote Of O.l.v Kerk, Breda, Holland


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Hi all.


Whilst I was in Holland in early November, I took the chance to visit the main church in the town of Breda. This church has just emerged from 99 years of restoration (1904 - 2003).


This spendid church also has an organ to match. Here it is, and apologies for the size of this picture which also shows the results of the restoration in part of the nave. I used MS Paint to make the picture a bit smaller than it was.



Photo: DC Harries, July 2003


It has 4 manuals, 63 stops and 3780 pipes. The main case is dated to 1967 - 69 but the positive was part of the first organ after the Great Fire of Breda - which destroyed 1300 houses, churches and chapels, leaving only 150 houses plus this church - and the positive case plus its painted doors date therefore to 1534. A rare survival?


Anyway, the book about this organ and its history was published in 1989 and it gives a list of the builders who have worked on instruments in this church:


1429: Mr. Jannes, Brabant - first known organ

1534: Hendrik Niehoff (?) - new organ. Located next to the current entrance which is the South door.

1543: Ysbrant Claeszone, Breda - additions

1546: Ysbrant Claeszone, Breda - additions

1549: Ysbrant Claeszone, Breda - additions

1566: Pipes removed for storage during religious troubles.

1710: Jacobus Zeemans, Breda (organist of the church) - new organ, sited above west door in the position of the present one. Cost: 2000 guilders.

1785 - 89: Johannes Schot, Breda. Various works but not a rebuild. Cost 2290.15 guilders.

1798: Organ valued to be worth 3600 guilders.

1816: Cornelius van Oeckelen, Breda - repairs. Paid 175 guilders.

1843: Stulting & Maarschalkerweerd, Utrecht. Paid 1225 guilders for works.

1859: Stulting, Utrecht. Paid 396.60 guilders for a new Viola Da Gamba (8ft.)

1938: H.W Flentrop, Zaandam - organ moved to the crossing at the east end of the nave to allow for restoration of the nave.

1956: Organ moved to a position on the south side at the east end of the nave, next to the crossing.

1969: Flentrop, Zaandam - organ rebuilt with new main case. 1534 positive case retained.


Anyway, look at the 1534 specification:




Grote of O.L.V Kerk te Breda, Holland

Specification of 1534 organ (by Hendrik Niehoff?)



6ft. Prestant

3ft. Octaaf



6ft. Holpijp

3ft. Fluit

1ft. Gemshoorn

1ft. Sifflet


6ft. Trompet



3ft. Prestant

3ft. Holpijp

12ft. Kromhoorn

6ft. Regaal

3ft. Schalmey



3 stops. Pipes in HW.



12ft. Prestant

6ft. Trompet (from HW)


Trommel (added 1548)




The PW in the above specification stands for "Pedaalwerk". My question is this:


Did this organ of 1534 have one of the earliest - if not THE earliest - pedal division of any organ in Europe? Or was there an earlier one elsewhere?


Sorry to make this posting so long! Hope the picture looks OK.


Any information on my above question will be gladly recieved!


Dave Harries,


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Hi mate.


Breda is one of my favourite places in Holland, with Amsterdam being the other. Usually if I decide to take a few days in Amsterdam then I pop down to Breda by train because I am 22 and I like dance music hence my occasional visits to the "Magik" store on the Niewstraat!!


I have not noticed an RC cathedral in Breda. I may not have looked hard enough or you and I might be thinking of the same church! My Dad likes looking in Churches so he would probably have a field day looking in the Grote Kerk.


I used to be a bit of an organist myself for a few years. I never did it for a job though and I eventually couldn't find a practive place that was available all the time so I gave up. :angry:


Let me know what you find out. I will be interested.


Also, I thought that the Grote Kerk had been RC since around 1630? Still a very nice church though.


And I shall come and look into the RC cathedral-church in Breda next time I am there. What is the organ history of the RC Cathedral in Breda? And where is it in relation to the Grote Kerk?



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The RC Cathedral-Church is on the same marketplace as the 'Grote Kerk'. The Grote Kerk was originally a RC 'collegiate' church until the reformation took place; from then on it has been a protestant church. Just for the record - it has never been a Cathedral. Breda has a his own bishop since 1853, the first cathedral being the St.Antoniuskerk on the greatmarketplace, the second was the huge neo-gothic church near the harbour (with a very large 32' Anneessens organ - both now dstroyed), the third was a 1950's church in a suburb and the fourth is ('from there and back again') the church of St.Antony of Padua in the very centre at the great market place. The organ is built by Loret (1858), rebuild by Maarschalkerweerd (+/-1910). In the near future it needs a considerable renovation.

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