The volunteer organist: a gift of God, or an employee with a contract? And does the organist have a right to a vacation?

by Harrie den Besten | Photo's: Jan Smelik | Het ORGEL | Year 116 | (2020) | Issue 1

In 1986, for the completion of his law studies at the Rijksuniversiteit Utrecht, the author wrote a paper entitled: ‘Kerkmusicus, een gave Gods of gewoon een arbeidsovereenkomst?’ [Church musician, a gift from God or a normal work contract?] Since then he has assisted many organists, preachers, and church trustees in lawsuits. Jurisprudence has developed considerably since then, and it seemed a good idea to explain that the Protestantse Kerk in Nederland can make use of a voluntary agreement, in which the organist is paid for services rendered but can also demand the rights offered by an employment contract.