History

The brothers Jos and Rijk Van Vulpen established an organ building company in 1940 that has gained a place of its own in the historical narrative of organ builders in Utrecht and the Netherlands. The two brothers upheld strict principles: a good organ must be made of the very best materials, and all components – from the pipes to the case – must be made in the company’s own workshop. From the very beginning it was clear that there was a demand for such quality. In more than 75 years, assisted by their brother Evert, they built or restored hundreds of pipe organs. These range from small to large, from chamber to church organs, and they are to be found both in the Netherlands and abroad. Click here to download a booklet on the company’s history (please allow time for the download!).

Growth

Soon after the company was established, orders began to flow in for new instruments and restoration work. After the flood disaster in the south of the Netherlands in 1953, our company supplied many new organs for churches in the province of Zeeland. Many instruments were built in what is known as the neo-Baroque style, largely under influence of Danish organ building. Our many restoration projects have included icons of Dutch organ building. For many years we also made domestic chamber organs according to a modern concept, of which more than 100 were acquired by organ lovers. The company grew, and in 1949 it moved to the Ambachtstraat (‘Craft Street’!) in the historical centre of Utrecht, where it continued to flourish, with a staff of nearly 40 building countless instruments. At the end of the 20th century a second move took the company to a modern and spacious purpose-built workshop in Utrecht’s northern suburb of Overvecht.

Evolution

Over the years the tonal characteristics of our organs have evolved. Inspired by the ‘Hollands’ organ of the 17th century, their sound has gained weight and roundness. Attitudes to restoration have changed too, with growing respect for the traditions of past generations of builders. Such an evolution is only possible if the builder makes everything himself: authentic organ metal, diagonal bellows, suspended key actions etc. Case designs have changed as well, and their appearance has acquired more relief. We have a reputation for fine cases built by excellent furniture makers, with carving and other decoration created by artists. In our state-of-the-art workshop, all aspects of an organ are addressed in a single flow as it makes its way through the building.