The Flentrop Organ is the third organ to have been built for the Great Auditorium in the Academy Building in Leiden.
First organ (1675 - 1829)
On the occasion of its 100th anniversary, the University received a gift of about 1,000 guilders from the Englishman Sir Baldwin Hamey for the construction of an organ in the Great Auditorium. An organ for the Great Auditorium was built around that time. Almost nothing is known of the instrument, which was removed in 1829. Only the shutters have survived with the name of the donor, Balduinus Hamaeus (Latin) on the outside and the arms of rector, curators, mayors and steward of the university. On the inside are sections from Psalm XXXIII: Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, and Psalmus CL: Hallelujah, Praise God in his sanctuary.
Second organ (1935 - 1998)
To mark the 400th birthday of Prince William of Orange, the Great Auditorium was once again furnished with an organ, this time a gift from the students and alumni at their university. Taking the shape and dimensions of the shutters of the 1675 organ, organ builder G. van Leeuwen & Zn. of Leiderdorp reconstructed the organ façade. Behind it, he built a pneumatic organ with nine stops divided over Great, Swell and Pedal, returning the shutters from 1675 to the organ.
The organ was inaugurated on 2 October 1935, but due to the mediocre timbre and the negative influence of pneumatics on playability, it was hardly ever played at academic ceremonies.
Flentrop Organ (1998 - today)
In 1995, the 'Reconstruction Organ Great Auditorium' committee was formed to raise the necessary funds to have an organ built at Flentrop Orgelbouw in Zaandam. The organ was built in the style of Van Hagerbeer-Duyschot, behind Van Leeuwen’s 1935 front with the 17th-century shutters. The new Flentrop organ was inaugurated on 23 October 1998.
More information on the history of the organs in the Great Auditorium of the Academy Building and the Musicians of the Academy Organ can be found in the booklet Het orgel in het Adacemiegebouw (The Organ in the Academy Building). Available to order from email@example.com for € 3.20 including postage. The 28-page booklet and describes the new organ and its predecessors and covers academic music then and now. Illustrated in colour.