Fascination is the key to quality

Rens Swart, the man behind Rens Swart Organbuilding English text Nederlandse tekst

A very warm welcome from Rens Swart, the man behind Rens Swart Orgelbuilding! I have a broad interest and often dive deep into the subjects that fascinate me. And I love to write about it. Therefore much more can be find on my personal website, and I share part of it here. On this page I give a concise description of who I am and how my life developed until now. I hope you will enjoy reading it and I welcome comments!

Curriculum vitae of Rens Swart

Rens Swart bij de grootste pijp van de Conterbas 16' in OLV ter Sneeuw

Rens Swart with the largest pipe or the Conterbas 16' in the organ of Our Lady of the Snows in Antwerp-Borgerhout.

After my parents, native of Dedemsvaart (Overijssel), had settled in Alphen aan den Rijn, I was born there. After the Roncalli School, I went to the Ashram College in Alphen aan den Rijn. Then I went to study astronomy at Leiden University: the subject fascinated me, though I have never been active as an amateur, and I was good at science.

Astronomy, in itself known as one of the most difficult studies, did not cost me incredibly much effort, but in the end it did not really captivate me. And there were many other topics that interested me greatly and therefore I put a lot of time in them. To name a few: organs and organ building, computers and programming, nineteenth-century architecture and an eleven-year membership of the board of the Cuypers Society. More or less with the finish in sight, I stopped with astronomy.

My interest in and knowledge of nineteenth-century architecture, plus my apparently rather practical attitude, led to being asked as a board member of the Cuypers Society (Cuypersgenootschap, my own webpage, in Dutch only). Those were inspiring and exciting times! My occupation had a semi-professional character, both concerning the time it took as the high level required.

Meanwhile, I got to know Sabine Broekhoven, we married and moved from Utrecht to Alphen aan den Rijn. In 2003 we moved to a spacious house at the bottom of the Haarlemmermeer polder and in 2011 we bought a stylish house from the seventies in Dongen. This is in the Noord-Brabant province, the birthplace of Sabine.

In 1995 I went to study geodesy at the Delft University of Technology: it's the science of measuring the earth's surface. Initially I thought that it would be wise not to deal with the tough physical side of geodesy, after my experience with astronomy. But in the end, however, this was what suited me best. I graduated on a subject (webpage in Dutch, thesis in English) concerning the highly accurate measurement of the motion of the earth's surface from radar satellites: InSAR, also called radar interferometry by me. For a geodesist, my thesis had a rather high signal theoretical content and that was were my astronomy study came in handy. The perfectionist in me made that in 2001 I finally graduated cum laude.

After working with the TU Delft for more than a year, in 2002 I went to work with the Survey Department of Rijkswaterstaat, the executive department of the Ministry of Public Works and Water management, because of my knowledge of InSAR, the technique in which I specialized at TU Delft. Gradually I started getting involved in a much broader field. In particular my focus was on the interface of remote sensing, dike management, information needs and requirements.

However, the strategy of Rijkswaterstaat changed more and more in that it preferred hiring knowledge instead of developing knowledge itself. In particular because I was not interested in the process of managing buying knowlegde, I started my private company in 2006. At Swartvast, as I called the company, the focus is on knowledge concerning (mainly geometrical) geo-information, in particular bridging the gap between knowledge and technology on the one hand, and the use of it by (primarily governmental) organisations at the other hand, as a fulfillment of their information needs.

Meanwhile, I'm busy with organs and cars among others, I had different positions as an organist and am now organist in Antwerp and Dongen, I am busy with organ building and for this purpose I established Rens Swart Orgelbouw in 2011, I know a lot of the Rover SD1 and the Jaguar XJ40, I have several Daimlers and do the maintenance myself. And on all these topics I write articles.

Fascination … and writing

A famous Dutch saying goes "in der Beschränkung zeigt sich der Meister" and that is clearly not for me. There are many things that interest me and once I dive into them, often an inspiring fascination arises. Experience shows that fascination can lead to a high quality, though perfectionism and perseverance do help. The psychologist will note, however, that excessive fascination sometimes slightly resembles some autistic properties …

Furthermore, I really like to write on what bothers me – and I do it very fast – and that's why I don't like to keep it short.

For this website, that of Rens Swart Orgelbouw, this for the moment seems enough to me, but if you would like to read more, then I would suggest visiting my personal website, where the above also originates from.

Personal website from Rens Swart: the man, education, organ playing, organbuilding, Rovers, Jaguars and Daimlers, Cuypersgenootschap and so on

Dutch page new 26 February 2014, translated February 2015. Slightly adapted May 2017, copied and adapted on Rens Swart Orgelbouw February 2018.

Kind regards,
Rens Swart