Foundation De Rijckere-organ 1776

De Rijckere-orgel 1776

In the 18th century, the Flemish brothers Petrus Josephus and Johannes de Rijckere built several organs. Two of them still exist today: a tri-clavier organ that was built in 1779 for the Oostkerk in Middelburg and still stands there, and a smaller organ that was built in 1776 for the Reformed Church in Axel. This is a unique instrument: the only unicapped organ by these builders that has been preserved in its entirety, and it is the only one of its kind.

In 1924 the organ was moved to the Reformed Church in Beek (Limburg). As this church is about to close, the organ came up for sale about three years ago. Three organ enthusiasts from Zeeland took the initiative to bring the organ back to the province. Gerard Boot, André Poortvliet and Bram de Wolf set up a foundation, wrote a project plan, and applied to the market to raise funds.

The foundation seized the unique opportunity to situate both De Rijckere organs in Middelburg, literally within walking distance of each other. The De Rijckere organ 1776 will be installed in the St. Augustinuskerk (former Lutheran Church, 1742), which already houses another valuable historic organ (Duyschot-Müller 1707/1754). This offers unique possibilities for master classes, concerts and excursions, with the aim of bringing the special character of the instruments of these Flemish organ builders to the attention of a wider public.

The objective of the De Rijckere-orgel 1776 Foundation is formulated as follows:

“To unlock the cultural heritage of the Flemish organ building family De Rijckere for a wide audience, by:
(a) purchasing the monumental De Rijckere organ from Beek and placing it in the St. Augustinus Church in Middelburg;
(b) expanding and sharing knowledge about the De Rijckere organ building family and their organs with the public;
(c) to organise concerts, masterclasses and organ excursions so that organ students and organ lovers can become acquainted with this specific type of Flemish organ.

Meanwhile, the organ is officially in the possession of the foundation and a choice has been made for an organ builder to transfer the instrument from Beek to Middelburg, and also to restore it, namely Verschueren Orgelbouw bv in Ittervoort.

On the website of the foundation you can find more information about this project, including an activity calendar and sound fragments of the organ in Beek. The Hurgronje Family Fund has supported this project with a financial contribution.

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