Fascination is the key to quality

Rens Swart, his interests and the things that occupy him English text Nederlandse tekst

Welcome to the website of Rens Swart! I have a broad interest and often dive deep into the subjects that fascinate me. And I love to write about it. Hence this website!

It primarily deals with organs and cars. It is on organ playing, the instruments I play and the churches I am an organist of. Furthermore, this website is on the Rover SD1, for example my Rover 3500 Vanden Plas, and the Jaguar XJ40, including the super chique Daimler Double Six with its six liter V12, the adventures I've gone through with it, the collected background knowledge and tinkering it. History of architecture and the Cuypers Society. But there is still more that fascinates me: just have a look at the left menu at the left.

Welcome and enjoy reading! Any reactions? Please let me know at rens at rensswart.nl. Suggestions to improve my English? Let me know!


In an extensive report I describe the fantastic meeting in Dunkeld on the occasion of thirty years of Jaguar XJ40. With many photos! Also some pictures of our holiday in beautiful Scotland.

A nice illustration of my organ technical interest is the repair of a special kind of wind chest. I described and illustrated this, and some other repairs, extensively here. I also have an illustrated report on my spectacular dismantling of an organ.

During my membership of the board of the Cuypers Society, I undertook conservation and protection actions for architecture and organs, including filing lawsuits. My critical article on the way organ experts want to restore organs in a state that does not exist any more got a lot of attention (in Dutch).

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. Rens is organist of this church.

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). Those were inspiring and exciting times! My occupation had a semi-professional character, as well 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 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.

The face behind Swartvast … and his hobbies

I started to create a website for my company Swartvast in 2006. Because I consider my broad interest in subjects other than geometric geo-information (to mention my core business) as a recommendation, and hence like to share them with colleagues and clients, and furthermore think that it is good to know the human behind the man with whom you cooperate, I have added a 'section hobbies', under the heading 'the face behind Swartvast … and his hobbies'.

However, there were so many pages there, they had actually little to do with the company, and there is still so much that I would like to publish that it seems better to establish a website under my own name. So here it is.

Dutch page new 26 February 2014, translated February 2015. Slightly adapted May 2017.

Kind regards,
Rens Swart