Wim Diepenhorst and Rogér van Dijk The Van Covelens organ in the St.-Laurenskerk at Alkmaar
Het ORGEL 97 (2001), nr. 3, 5-12 [summary]

alkmaarBW.jpg (17834 bytes)The oldest playable organ of the Netherlands has been extensively restored by Flentrop Orgelbouw. It was re-inaugurated on 27 October 2000.

The organ was built in 1511 by Jan van Covelens. It had one manual and the pipes were divided over two chests. The instrument was changed quite a few times since then: by Claes Willemsz. (1545, extension), Allart Claesz. (1551, he probably added a Pedal with a Trompet 8), Jan Jacobsz. van Lin (1625, extension), Levijn Eekman (1630, new bellows), Jacobus van Hagerbeer (1651, maintenance), Johannes Duytschot (1685 and later, probably addition of a divided manual coupler), Pieter Müller (1799), Michael Körnlein (shortly after Müller), Dirk Sjoerds Ypma (1844, maintenance), Carl Friedrich August Naber (1854, changes), L. Ypma & Co. (1894, restoration and changes), H.W. Flentrop (1939, ditto).

On the occasion of the restauration in 2000, the consultants Jan van Biezen, Koos van de Linde en Hans van Nieuwkoop chose, together with the organ builder, to reconstruct the situation of 1511 with respect to the Hoofdwerk; on the Borstwerk, material of Van Lin survived. The situation of 1651 was chosen as a reference for the restoration of the case.

Although we have few references when it comes to review the sound, as a result of a general lack of knowledge about Van Covelens and his time, the restoration certainly deserves respect: the instrument sounds wonderful and playing it feels like taking a trip through time.