The Inventory Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) in the Netherlands contains ICH of which the communities, groups or individuals involved have written a safeguarding plan. Those plans are reviewed by an independent review committee. Every three years an evaluation of the safeguarding takes place.


Brabant Organ Culture concerns the culture of the pipe organ. The pipe organ is a musical instrument in which the sound comes from small and large pipes, arranged in an organ’s console. The organ pipes are connected to keys that are used to play the organ. The chosen action (the connection between the key and the pipes) determines the type of organ. Three types of organ can be distinguished: a mechanical, pneumatic or electro-pneumatic organ. An organ can last for centuries if properly maintained. The organs are usually located in churches and the occasional organ is located in a concert hall.
The Brabant Organ Culture consists of three components: organ building, organists and composers.

Organ building
Organ building in Brabant is still practised by a limited number of organ builders. They do not only build organs in Brabant, but all over the world. In addition, these organ builders maintain many organs in Brabant and beyond on an annual basis.

Organists play the organ during services and concerts in churches and concert halls, inter alia. An organ is played with the hands (fingers) using one or more keyboards and the feet (with the pedal).

Composers from Brabant
Contemporary composers from Brabant compose works for organ with or without voices or other instruments.


The Brabantse Orgelfederatie (Brabant Organ Federation (BOF) has added the Brabant organ culture to the Inventory.
Both individuals and organisations are affiliated to the Brabant Organ Federation. These include organists (professional and amateur), organ builders, organ experts, organ researchers, conservatoires and music schools.
In addition to the direct practitioners, a number of supporting organisations/practitioners are also active, such as Orgelkids, the monthly magazine De Orgelvriend, the Katholieke Dirigenten-en Organisten Vereniging (KDOV) and the Koninklijke Vereniging van Organisten en Kerkmusici (KVOK).


Pipe organs have been built in Brabant since the Middle Ages. Around 1500 the organ underwent a great development, the most important feature being the possibility of sounding one or more ranks of pipes - stops - separately and the introduction of new sounds, such as imitations of existing musical instruments like flute, crumhorn, trumpet, shawm etc. By means of other timbres such as the mixtuur and cymbel stops, the organ was given a clear and transparent silvery sound. Organ builders from Brabant were at the basis of innovations. Initially, organ music did not consist of independent compositions but were transpositions of existing sacred music. In the 15th and 16th centuries, Brabant had a dozen prominent composers who composed much spiritual music for worship. With the outbreak of the Eighty Years' War and the iconoclasm, part of the musical repertoire disappeared to the outermost parts of the Southern Netherlands. The use of the organ and with it the organ culture was put on the back burner or even banned completely. At the end of the 17th century the (Catholic) organ culture reluctantly returned. Organ and vocal music were used for worship, but the non-papist regime between 1648 and 1795 remained a hindrance. The tide turned with the restoration of the Episcopal hierarchy in 1853, which led to the building of many new churches. At the end of the 19th century, church music received an ecclesiastical certification that seriously hampered the composers' creativity. With secularisation in the seventies of the 20th century, the organ culture of Brabant also came under pressure. Because of secularisation, a downward spiral in organ culture can be observed. The religious organ practice diminished and the concert practice received more attention. In the 21st century only a handful of organ builders from Brabant are still active. However, the Brabant composers are well-known beyond the provincial borders. The training of organists takes place via local music schools, private education and music conservatories.



  • Through excursions to organs in churches and concert halls, the BOF will promote the organ as a concert instrument throughout Brabant.
  • Cycles of Festivals will be organised; a New Music Festival, an Improvisation Festival and a Brabant Composers Festival.
  • The organ will be promoted as a concert instrument in order to place the organ out of its ecclesiastical context.
  • The CDs produced of the organs present in Brabant will be performed worldwide via the digital channel
  • The cooperation with the KVOK, Koninklijke Vereniging van Organisten en Kerkmusici and the monthly magazine De Orgelvriend is intensified by means of excursions.
  • The relationship with Fontys Conservatorium Tilburg is strengthened.
  • Regional meetings will be organised for professional organists from Brabant.
  • Cooperation with other organ circles in the Netherlands will continue.
  • The cooperation with Orgelkids Nederland, which involves young people in the pipe organ, will be continued.
  • When churches are closed, the parishes involved are contacted in order to preserve the organ.


Brabantse Orgelfederatie
van den Berghstraat 15