Designer Wim Janssen

“The Do-organ worldwide. I think it’s wonderful!”

by Lydia Vroegindeweij

Orgelkids has been in existence as a project since 2009, but it only really became complete when I met Wim Janssen in October 2012. He is the man who designed the Orgelkids organ. For years, he worked as a professional organ builder at Verschueren Organ Builders. Now retired, he has space and time to invent and try out new ideas. The love of the organ builder’s craft remains at the forefront of this. After three years, we looked back together.

Wim Janssen

Why exactly did you come up with this idea of the Do-organ?

“I saw that it was important to introduce children to the organ and how it works. Only an organ demonstration is actually too passive for that. You can let children see and hear all kinds of things, but they should preferably be able to do it more actively. The best thing would be if they could actually build an organ themselves. Which they could then actually play afterwards. There are always a few children who can already play a tune. Then it would be extra fun if they could actually play something. With that question, I set to work.”

How did the Do-organ come into being?

“I made a prototype first, out of cheaper wood. It was a real puzzle to see which parts could be assembled by children and which parts could already be available as complete parts. For instance, at first I had made the framework entirely out of separate parts. But actually that doesn’t add that much. So now the side panels are already one piece. After all, it also has to be buildable in a limited time. When that little organ proved to work well in practice, I made some nicer ones with oak.”

What was the most difficult part to make?

“That’s a part you don’t actually see much of. It’s at the bottom of the part with the two bellows. Pumping the wind into the organ has to be done by hand. Via the two bellows, the wind enters the magazine bellows. But during pumping, wind is only allowed to enter there and not leave. There are therefore valves in it, which only open when you pump wind into it. And they prevent the wind from going back in when you let the bellows suck in new wind. That was still quite a puzzle to make that work properly.”

How do you feel about the fact that your idea is now receiving worldwide interest as Orgelkids’ Do-organ?

“I think it’s brilliant! The way it’s getting attention now and stimulating and inspiring people, that’s wonderful! I couldn’t have imagined that. I am very happy that so many children are being introduced to the organ in this way. And also that it is now being embraced in more countries. Of course it is my design, but I am applying techniques that have been around for centuries. For me, it’s not about a protected patent or anything. It is more important that people have a nice tool to get children excited. If my organ contributes to that, I am already very happy. In recent years, it has become clear that many older people also become enthusiastic and learn a lot from the Do-organ. That also makes me very happy!”

Instruction video

In this video, Wim Janssen shows how to assemble the Orgelkids organ. (Subtitles by Frank Ezinga).

Materials at the Orgelkids organ

If you want to get started with the Do-organ, we have instruction cards, a lesson plan, sheet music and much more ready for you.

Where in the world?

Orgelkids started in the Netherlands and now operates in many countries around the world. On this map, we keep track of where you can find the Do-organ.


Orgelkids maintains a blog with current news about Orgelkids projects from around the world.

Orgelkids Wiki

Looking for more activities to introduce children to organ music? Orgelkids collects all kinds of educational lesson suggestions on the Orgelkids Wiki.