home - colophon - about ngn -
harmonium museum

Over sixty reed organs, the fine acoustic of a redundant church, a small but pleasing selection of beers, and the chance of a short ferry-crossing en route. What's not to like!
The collection includes both positive-pressure harmoniums and negative-pressure American organs, all in playable order. I'm proud to say that I'm encouraged to turn up at least once a month, adding a bit of ambiance and fielding questions as best I can.

Like so many other things, this is serendipity pushed across my path by the finger of Providence. I was out on the bike, cycling-by-numbers and enjoying the view from the towpath, and encountered roadworks. Consequently, I found myself in Schelle on an unsignposted diversion … so turned down the first side-street that seemed likely to get me back to the water. I caught site of something and yanked the brakes on in disbelief – why would anyone have put a medium-sized American organ in a glass-fronted display case in their front garden?

In the best surrealist traditions of Belgium, the neat label inside the case explained that this was not the harmonium museum. I made a note of this, hurried home and discovered a) that there was still a harmonium museum; b) that it moved to Klein Willebroek; c) that it would be some months until it opened for the season. I possessed my soul in patience, but arrived on the doorstep probably within minutes of opening time. Curator Ben made me welcome, and since then I've been a frequent visitor. (and done my best to encourage family, friends and other visitors to make the trip)

Musical instruments exist to be played, just as compositions exist to be heard. This undervalued, special collection gives the chance to hear harmonium compositions played on the harmonium – exceptionally well, in the spring and autmun recitals. It also gave me the chance to trigger happy nostalgia by encouraging a group from the Tuchthuis to visit; we stood round an American organ and sang psalms and hymns, just like they used to in their youth.

what you need to know

Volksstraat 55, 2830 Klein Willebroek – just across the river from Boom
Easter till Openmonumentendag; check the website for concerts and special events
I aim to be there on the 2nd Sunday of every month

NGN site - topics

Internal links

NGN site - topics

External links