Johannes Josephus Elbertse was born on February 5th, 1883. Together with his sister, he was brought up in the Roman Catholic Orphanage “St. Hieronymus” in Utrecht. In 1895, organbuilder Maarschalkerweerd & Son installed a new mechanical organ in the Chapel of the orphanage. Maarschalkerweerd & Son was founded in 1840 by two foremen of J. Bätz & Co.: Pieter Maarschalkerweerd (1812-1882) and Christiaan Stulting (1803-1881). After approximately eight years, Stulting retired from the company. Thereafter, Michael Maarschalkerweerd (1838-1915) formed a partnership with his father in 1865.

During the installation of the organ in the orphanage, Jan Elbertse was allowed to lend a hand and that was the beginning of the “Elbertse-passion” for pipe organs, which has now reached the fourth generation in over 110 years.

From 1897 until the death of Michael Maarschalkerweerd in 1915, J.J. Elbertse progressed from apprentice to master organ builder. Maarschalkerweerd’s daughter assumed leadership of the company but investments ceased and no more new organs were built. In 1917, the ambitious Elbertse, now in his mid-thirties, decided to start his own company. In 1926 he moved to Soest (in the centre of the Netherlands) where the workshop is still located.
J.J. Elbertse, employed by Maarschalkerweerd & Zn.
J.J. Elbertse
J.B.M. Elbertse
J.G.M. Elbertse
J.C. Elbertse


Old Workshop
In June of 2017, The company celebrated it's hundredth-year anniversary. The Mayor of Soest, Rob Metz, was present to bestow the predicate "Purveyor to the Royal household by order of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander".

This is a great honour, of course, and an extra impetus to keep standards and quality as high as possible in the future!

In 1929, son Jan (J.B.M. Elbertse, 1914-1996) started working for the firm and faced the years of recession. The passing of the Second World War brought better times; the urge to rebuild the country and the economy brought a lot of work for the company. However, during the 60's and 70's of the 20th Century, the company faced troublesome times once again. The need to procure orders to keep the business going while still remaining faithfull to his own beliefs about organ building and sound was a trying task.

It was at the hand of Jan jr. that the company lived through these difficult years in which tradition and re-orientation went hand-in-hand. It can be stated that holding on to their own ideas and identity is what Elbertse Organbuilders thank for their growth and development in later years.
In 1968 Hans (J.G.M. Elbertse, 1951) joined the company. At first he committed himself to the development of small organs. Additionally, a substantial number of Positives and Box(Chest) Organs were built.

In the years that followed, adding to a respectable number of smaller instruments, a number of new instruments were built for churches in a.o. Luttenberg, Zeist, Aerdenhout, Rutten, Alkmaar, Roosendaal, Kortenhoef, Utrecht, Tokio and Wassenaar.
With the knowledge and principles acquired from years of experience forming the heart of Elbertse Organbuilders, the end of the 1980's and thereafter has the company specializing in the restoration of historic instruments, often instruments with official "Monument" status.
Beside tuning and maintenance of organs in the Netherlands and (incidently) abroad, the Elbertse-team of nine craftsmen work predominantly on restorations and reconstructions of mechanical pipe organs made by builders of the 19th Century. Included here are organs by Maarschalkerweerd, Loret, Smits, Van Oeckelen, Flaes (&Brünjes), Ibach, Peereboom & Leiser, Wander Beekes, Nolting, Van Druten, Bätz, Indermauer, Ypma, Steenkuyl, Van Eynden/Van Pethegem en Rogier.
This growth made it necessary and possible to build a new workshop. It’s with great pleasure that since 1996 Elbertse Organbuilders work in and from their new, modern, custom-designed workshop.
A good example of honouring tradition is their specialism in pneumatic organs. For years these organs were not very well liked, but a change slowly started emerging somewhere around 1990. The pneumatic technology was (re)appreciated as well as the specific organ sound of those times. In 1995, the very beautiful pneumatic Van Leeuwen organ in Bodegraven was restored/reconstructed according to the original principles, including a new free pneumatic pedal. The Sauer Organ in “Het Orgelpark” in Amsterdam, also a pneumatic organ, was reconstructed/restored in 2007: A unique organ in a unique location!
On September 1st, 2009, the fourth generation (J.C. Elbertse, 1986) joined the Elbertse-team. Jos successfully completed his four-year furniture builders study and thereafter worked for two years with colleague Gebr. Van Vulpen. bv