Peter van Dijk Discussion about organ Der Aa-kerk Groningen continued
Het ORGEL 96 (2000), nr. 2, 14-24 [summary]

Console of the organOn 17 December 1999, the city of Groningen decided to uphold its permission to change the main organ in the Der Aa-kerk at Groningen (Schnitger 1702, Timpe 1815 and 1831, Van Oeckelen 1858). In 1977 the organ was dismantled by the organ builders Taylor and Boody, because the church was in danger of collapse. In 1990 organ builder Reil re-erected the organ. The owner of the instrument, the Foundation Der Aa-kerk Groningen, presented a restoration plan to the city in 1993. The Advisor on Organs of the National Monument Service advised the city to grant permission under a few conditions. The Foundation Der Aa-kerk submitted a new plan in 1995, based on the idea that the organ should not be changed. After Reil dismantled the organ in 1997, it was concluded that the condition of the structure of the organ required an adjustment of the plan. The Foundation submitted a 'Wijzigingsvoorstel' [proposal of alteration] in 1997 which included reconstruction of Schnitger's rear case panels and framework, which had been removed by van Oeckelen. Consequently, quite a few Van Oeckelen-parts (e.g. his Hoofdwerk wind-chests and most of his Hoofdwerk pipes) will have to dissappear. The city of Groningen had upheld the permission. An official commission studied the objections to the 'Wijzigingsvoorstel' submitted by, among others, the Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organ of the Der Aa-kerk. The commission advised the city to uphold the permission. According to the description of the organ in the Dutch Monument Register, the organ in the Der Aa-kerk is an 'Organ with Back Positive, built by Arp Schnitger in 1702 for the Minderbroederskerk and moved here in 1814; richly decorated organ case on columns and with portal beneath it, dated 1702.' This description is the legal basis of the decision to maintain the permission: as the Van Oeckelen-parts are not mentioned explicitly, the city can take this decision. The organ will function well after the restoration. It is very unfortunate that so many Van Oeckelen-parts have to disappear. Rudi van Straten, advisor of the Foundation Der Aa-kerk, points out, however, that all parts built in 1831 and before will be saved, and as many parts from 1858 as possible as well. The Foundation for the Protection of the Main Organ of the Der Aa-kerk has appealed to the district court to overrule the city's most recent decision.