Jan Aarden Story!

Coming soon in several articles the real Jan Aarden Story. The Dutch overnight long distance pigeons are the best in the world! Decades of selection and specialization did the job! The pigeons of Jan Aarden played an important role in the development of these almost unbeatable Marathon pigeons. In the next weeks a well-known Dutch long distance champ will tell you everything about the details! A must for every top fancier in the world!

Introduction Jan Aarden
Although the race results of Jan Aarden were good, they were of not of top-level! A few good results but no consistency in the results. Jan Aarden was a real gentleman. He runner together with his wife the Aarden Hotel in Steenbergen. He also had a job as bookkeeper. The Aarden Hotel still exists and every year a lot of pigeon fanciers from the whole world visit this place with historic value! The main question is: where did the famous long distance pigeons of Jan Aarden come from? The answer is clear and simple. Piet de Weerd brought him the best material of the world of that moment and advised him where to buy pigeons! Jan Aarden had the patience and skills to build with these pigeons his famous breeding loft! Racing is silver, breeding is gold! Pigeons of Oomens (Delbar-Deguffroy), Delbar (oa via Dusarduijn and Wagemaker), Stichelbaut and Meesters (from Zesentachtig maal het Zilvervosje) and later on Burgemeester Boels, were the main source.

Why became the name of Aarden so famous, even more than 50 years after the top-period of his own loft?

The reason is simple. A bit of PR and a dozen of top fanciers in the neighbourhood of Steenbergen were extremely successful with the Aarden pigeons and a few built up their own Aarden based strain. The quality and successes of these pigeons were distributed like a “ snowball” through the country. It was especially a few golden couples that made Jan Aarden famous. Here they follow. They were extremely important for the successes that had to come and for the further story.

***** (A) ***** the “Goei Koppel”: Donkere Wagemaker (Delbar via Stok) * “de Oomens duivin” (the main breeding hen also named “de Piet de Weerd duivin”; (Delbar * Deguffroy)

***** (B) ***** “Donkere Wagemaker” (and when he was died the “Geleende Wagemaker”) * “de Kromme” (a direct Staf Dusarduijn = Delbar)”

*****(C) ***** “Geschelpte Koppel” alias the “Oud Koppel”: Late Meesters (from “Zesentachtig” maal “Zilvervosje”) maal “Den Late Geschelpte”, a daughter of (A) “het Goei Koppel”.

***** (D) ***** “Late Meesters” maal de “Oude Bonnet” (from Donkere Wagemaker * Elfpennertje)
from couple (C) came the absolute toppigeons and the pigeons with the best inheritance and breeding power like the “37”, “38”, “49”, de Diepe Mees. The “37” paired with the “Donkere Delbar” was, although this is a very personal observation, the best long distance couple ever! The “49” formed with the “Kleine Cools” also a famous couple.

With these mainly Delbar based pigeons the rules of long distance overnight racing were changed!! These pigeons dominated these races for more then 50 years. An absolute record in the history of Pigeon racing. Selection at the 1000 km races and specialisation were they key words that created this success. The inheritance and breeding power of the Aardens did the rest.

The successors of Aarden.

Fanciers that made these pigeons and the name of Jan aarden famous around the world!

A few fanciers were very important for the success and fame of the Jan Aarden pigeons. They succeeded with children, grandchildren of the famous breeding couples of Jan Aarden himself! The first generation (1950 –1960) was almost all fanciers from Steenbergen and good friends of Aarden. We introduce:

***** Toon & Piet Ligtenberg. They bought from Aarden their famous “Oude Witpen” and “the Bontje Aarden”. This hen was coupled with a 100% Aarden (from Geertse) and they became the parents of two of the most famous Aardens ever: the worldfamous “10” (56-472110) of Ligtenberg and the famous “Oud Doffertje” of van der Wegen (58-341753)!!!! The stock pigeon and origin of the worldfamous van der Wegen strain! A sun of the “10” became the father of the famous “Dolle” of Marijn & Martha van Geel and was at the origin of this strain world-class pigeons! In a total sale the van Geel strain was sold for a fortune! Speaking about inheritance!

***** Friend of the house and "soigneur" at the Aarden loft Toon Stoffelen became famous by the “Oude Witpen”, a son of the old couple. He was the father of two miracle hens: “Mooike” and “Kleintje” and a few others. These hens dominated the National races for a while! Piet Lazeroms sold all the pigeons of Stoffelen.

***** Jan van der Par bought a son from “37” x “Donkere Delbar” and breeded from this cock the famous “01”. According to Steven van Breemen in his beautiful and interesting book, one of the best Aarden breeders and racers ever. Also the same ending of this strain, sold to Piet Lazeroms!

***** Chiel van Agtmaal, probably the best racer ever from Steenbergen, bought from “het geschelpte koppel” the “Oude Aarden”. The cock of the famous “Oud Koppel”. This couple from Chiel and his son Henk became the parents of a dozen of cracks and worldclass breeders. The most famous were two superhens: the “500” duivin (61-141500) and the “Donkere Dax”; the stock hen of Janus van der Wegen!! The “500”, according to Piet de Weerd with the “10” of Ligtenberg the best Aardens ever, was the grandmother of “ De Dolle” of Marijn van Geel. At the loft of van der Wegen, the ”Donkere Dax” was coupled with “ het Oud Doffertje” and they became the parents of supercracks, Fe “de Lamme” and the “1e National Dax”! At the same race under heavy conditions Stoffelen won 2, 5 en 17 National with exactly the same pigeons! From the “500” coupled with “ de Oude Stoffelen” came a miracle on wings, the worldfamous “26” van Agtmaal. Sold with all the other van Agtmaal pigeons to Piet Lazeroms. The “26” won 4th, 6th, 16th, 44t, 74th Nat Dax, 13th, 17th National St.Vincent and still 5-other prices on the long distance overnight races! Seldom, a better racer was born!

***** Jan de Weert also became youngsters from the “de 37” * " de Donkere Delbar" and his Old Aarden cock would be the father of the “76” and the worldfamous“131”. A race and breeding miracle of the same quality as the "10" and the "500"! Her son became the cock of the miracle couple of Braakhuis! These man from Limburg made history with children and grandchildren of this couple; "de Zwarte Moordenaars".

***** Not from Steenbergen came the underestimated Jan Cools from. This "baker" was from a small village in the neighbourhood called Nieuw Vossemeer. He was a good friend of Jan Aarden and played an important role in the development of the Aarden strain. He was owner of his famous “Oude aarden koppel” and of supercracks like the "Carwinner" and the "Barcelona". Aarden en Cools breeded together with their best pigeons (’56) and both lofts came as a result of this, at a very high quality level! In the best long distance strains of the moment (about 40-50 years later) the Cools/Aarden lines plays a keyrole!!! More info about this topic will be given later on! Main reason is that these pigeons have never been commercialised and also important was the fact that Cools was a very gifted and talented breeder! ***** Not from Brabant but from the islands of South Holland, more specific from Goeree Overflakkee, came the big champions of the NABvP "de Gebr,Vroegindeweij" and "Ko Nipius". From the pigeon village of the sixties Middelharnis. “Ko Nipius" was together with his remarkable “soigneur” Joep van Dongen unbeatable till 700 KM, but at the heavy overnight races they couldn't win a single price with their expensive Belgian pigeons! Untill Nipius buyed the Aarden pigeons, not a single pigeons, but complete baskets! With 4 children of the famous: "Geschelpte Koppel" it had to succeed! And so it did! With children of this Aardens they also became the Dutch champions on the overnight races. From Puttershoek (Hoekse Waard) came the legendary "Baker Barendregt". He also made an important contribution in the development of the famous Dutch marathon pigeon. His stock pigeons came also from "Meesters" (86 * Zilvervosje) a strain that also played a key rol in the Aarden and Cools strain. Also the Vroegindeweij Bross, who had the main Aarden stock pigeons a period at their loft, were important for the further development of and the success of the Aarden pigeons!

A "link" to the present time!

The success story of the Aardens was not at the end around 1970. It was just the beginning. The heavy St.Vincent, Dax and Bergerac (fe 74, 75, 81, 83 etc.) editions were dominated by the Aardens. A lot of this toppigeons were bought by Piet de Weerd and often sold after a few years to other top fanciers around the whole world! In this part of the Aarden story we will made the connection between the 60’s and the 90’s and introduce a selection of fanciers that were important in this period ***** We start with Piet Lazeroms from Zegge. He bought complete Aarden lofts: van der Par, Ligtenberg, van Agtmaal, Stoffelen. It didn’t matter for him. Buying the total loft means that he had also the best pigeons! He collected, advised by Piet de Weerd, a Golden Aarden colection, de “10”, “de “26”, de “500” etc. were at his lofts. It is very clear that he owned one of the best Long Distance breeding collections ever! Many top fanciers made use of this Lazeroms collection. Gebr. Van Zelderen (at least 5 times the 1st prize in a National race), Jacobs, Van Peperstraten and dozens of other fanciers became famous with these pigeons. Cor de Heyde got from Lazeroms his famous Klamper and built up with these pigeons (closely related to the “500”) a fantastic loft. Still at the top, 50 years after the start of the Aarden history. Unique in pigeon racing! Another recent example was Theo Ernest. His Barcelona success was based on the famous Aardens from the Groot and ... the van “Zelderen cock”! Piet Lazeroms enjoyed the good things of life and because of serious health problems he decided to sell almost all his pigeons! He was the one of the main Aarden-breeders and very important for the fame of the Dutch Marathon pigeon! ***** In Brabant from the village Heiningen (10 km from Steenbergen) came Hein & Hub Oostenrijk. They had a fantastic Aarden loft based on the Nipius pigeons. Modern long distance champs like Brugemann Bross, Leo Kouters based their lofts on this Oostenrijk pigeons. The famous breeding hen from Vertelman came from Leo Kouters!
***** It were Ligtenberg and van Agtmaal where a certain Janus van der Wegen bought his main stock pigeons. With the “Oud Doffertje”, the “Dax” duivin he built up an unbeatable long distance strain. After his death his sons Anton and Jac build up their own lofts. Also with Ligtenberg pigeons the ex-partner of Jan Cools Marijn van Geel built up a fantastic Aarden collection. The top cocks were “de Dolle” and “de Lange” . In their pedigree a lot of Ligtenberg and also the “500” van Agtmaal! His wife, Martha van Geel made these pigeons famous world wide! The total auction was a success. In terms of money but again a famous Aarden collection ended. ***** In cross breeding with the famous racing hens “Blauwtje” and “Vaaltje” of the fancier “de Ron” , de Groot from Steenbergen built up a famous Aarden collection. With the same pigeons also the van Giels bross from Steenbergen gained fantastic results. It was the glory period of Steenbergen. When elsewhere in the country only a few pigeons were arrived, in Steenbergen the race was over!
***** Some other examples of the sucesss of the “Jan Aarden fanciers” are Frans van Peperstraten from Oude Tonge and Jac Steketee from Bruinisse. In the early 80’s the star of the house-painter Frans van Peperstraten rose very fast! Living in the “Aarden region” he didn’t have to travel far to become the excellent Aarden blood. In Middelharnis (Vroegindeweij, van der Slik and van Eck) he bough his stock pigeons. He became the Aardens from the 3-top collections/lines of that moment: Lazeroms, van Geel via Vroegindeweij Bross and van der Wegen via van Es. He mixted them with the also Aarden based pigeons of Cock van Eck and Pieter Jelles van der Slik (with the “Sterke Barcelona” the winner of the Barcelona race, in ’99 the international Barcelona race was won by a grandchild of him!) Tough selection and a very strong breeding loft (with the best inbred racers) put him in a few years at the top of the long distance. The “Barcelona”, the “Marathon” (best dutch marathon pigeon of 1981), the famous “03” and two superiour breeding couples made him famous. The “03” was with the 9th, 13th National Barcelona, the 27th, the 44th International Barcelona the 22th, 27tt National Munchen, the 27th National Dax and a lot of other prices one of the best long distance pigeons ever. The loft Van Peperstraten was very all-round and won the 2nd, 5th and the 14th price overall in the dutch championship! After a stop of several years, Frans is again successful. He crossed his own Sloper-03 strain with the Aarden-Cools pigeons of his friend Piet de Vogel, marathon champ 2001 of the prestigious “FBZ” long distance club, and was in 2001 several times at the top of list from races as St.Vincent and Pau.

***** Another success-story is that of Jac Steketee of Bruinisse. He started with the Jan Cools pigeons, mixed them with the best van Wanroys (also 50% Aarden based) bought by the international Barcelona winner Hendriks Twello. With a lot of knowledge, he built up own of the best Aarden based strains of the 90’s. The children of the famous “Stamvader”, de “Pau duivin”, de Marseille, de Perpignan, de Bergerac, de Stayer were very succesful around the whole world! ***** Key, in this story, is the fact that based on the same kind of pigeons, a new type of pigeon was developed. Especially selected for and succsfull in the long distance overnight races (800-1300 Km). To speak about the Aarden strain is not completely right. Because of the diversity it is better to speak about the Dutch marathon pigeon. A kind of pigeon, because of the tough selection and inbred, extremely suited for breeding a new generation of toppigeons for the long distance!
Magic results and superiority in the marathon races. The continuing story of the Aardens!

And the story continues!
The overnight races in the years ’70-’80-’90 and also nowadays were dominated by the Aarden based pigeons. “As strong as horses and never tired”. Like the old Delbar! and Bricoux pigeons at their best with very heavy (warm and headwind) conditions. Just as precise as a Switch Watch! ***** Some examples: the Barcelona classic was fe won by Kuypers, Torreman, Walpot, vd Slik, Van Noordenne, Coenen, Houtekamer, vd Wegen, Willegers, Brok with Aarden pigeons. In ’75 the St.Vincent classic was a disaster (the race was open for 8 days). The Aarden dominance was extreme: 1st price Van Rijsdijk Aarden via Stoffelen, 2nd price Schouw Aarden via Lazeroms, 3rd van Geel Aarden via Lazeroms, 4th V Eeden Aarden via Lazeroms, 5th Oostenrijk via Barendregt Schouters/Meesters. The same story could be written about dozens of these races: St.Vincent ’81, Barcelona ’99 with at the first 8 prices Aardens. A tribute for these special pigeons! ***** Magic couples: superbirds and magic couples are a pleasure to write about. Famous was the Golden Couple of Jan Tepas from Ulft. 2 sisters born from this couple (Dafje & Kleintje) won a marathon race at the national level under extreme conditions with more than an hour ahead for the second arrival! The Golden Breeder 788 of Steketee was also magic. Cees de Jong had his Golden Breeder the 60. Gebr.Kuypers from Neer dominated Barcelona for years with their Aarden based pigeons. The Dolle van Geel, the Lamme vd Wegen, de 131 de Weert, de 26 van Agtmaal, de 03 van Peperstraten are dead, but nowadays there are a still a lot of other Aarden Supercracks like the Stayer from Steketee,the superhen de Witstaart of Polder, the Monty Boy & Ullrich of Piet de Vogel, the Orhan, Myra of the Brugemann Bross are examples of topbirds nowadays.

***** Selection and specialization did the work in the Netherlands. There is no place in the world where you have 10-15 opportunities to race from more than 900 Km in one year! A lot of top fanciers specialised and because of the extreme distances (more than 100-200 km longer than fe the Belgian fanciers) the dutch fanciers have the unique opportunity to make a very good selection of birds. Another important factor is the playing system. The dutch long distance fanciers also raced with hens and in this way not only know the quality of their cocks but also of the hens. Very imprtant to improve your loft and to select breeding couples. Most of the Belgian, German top fanciers at long distance understand this and buyed the Dutch overnight marathon pigeons with extreme success. Fe Peeters, Thone, Desmet Matthijs, Dons, Hermes, Kipp, Morsnowski etc. etc. succeeded with these pigeons. People like Piet & Henk de Weerd, Hans Eyerkamp promoted and exported these toppigeons.

***** How further was the next question? Inbred or cross breeding with these pigeons. What is the best breeding strategy. Some like a little bit of cross breeding W Muller and with him Houtekamer and the new champion with these pigeons Dominicus take this road. Also Anton vd Wegen. Batenburg vd Merwe is an example of a fancier that used excellent middle distance birds to make his Witbuik pigeons faster. Others used Aarden pigeons from different origin. A good example is Piet de Vogel Marathonchamp FBZ 2001 and also very scuccesfull in 2002, in a short period very successful with Aarden pigeons from different origin (with some cross breeding with only the best!). A lot of top fanciers in the South West did the same: Jan Polder, Toon Schults, AP Overwater. Cees de Jong and his friend van Tilburg do it with van der Wegens. What to think about the Klamper (= Lazeroms) imperium of Cor de Heijde, the Cools loft of Steketee. What is the best road? Nobody knows. Only the results matter! “Try to read between the sentences”, Frans van Peperstraten always says. Breeding, breeding, selecting, selecting is a must! The best will be at the top of the list!

At the picture a beautiful Aarden Eye! These pigeons are well known for these quality. As beautiful as the paintings of Rembrand, Vermeer etc.

The Jan Aarden Story...

When one gets involved in discussing the sport of pigeon racing the name of Jan Aarden is sure to appear especially in relation to the long distance because the strain of racing pigeons created by this master has been immortalised by some due to the impact it has made throughout the world. But who was this Dutchman credited with being the creator of a great marathon strain? A man whose bloodlines run through many of the winners and others to the fore in the Barcelona International and indeed many national and international winners throughout the world of modern pigeon racing.

Jan Aarden was born in the city of Oosterhout on the Sixth of November 1893 to Martinus Aarden and Lucia Schoenmakers. There he attended school at the Abbey of St.Paulus. From his earliest days Jan had a great love for animals and birds and in particular racing pigeons. A Fr. Paulus who kept some racing pigeons in the Abbey grounds and needless to relate the young Aarden in due course became the “boy manager” of the good Father’s stock kindled the love of the latter.

There his passion for the thoroughbreds of the sky intensified and by the time he was 18 he was a member of a racing pigeon club in Oosterhout; where in a short period of time he owned a loft of good short and middle distant birds.

An early influence upon Aarden was the family of Oomens from Breda who were the long distant stars of the Netherlands prior to World War 2. Aarden developed a close friendship with the father of the family and in due course owned some of their birds.

The famous “37” of Jan Aarden’s was a grandson of “Zilvervosje” which had Oomens bloodlines on both sides of the pedigree. This light check’ hen with a reflection of silver in her wings was a wonderful breeder as well as a racer.

Zilvervosje (the silver fox).

Her bloodlines are there in the families of the great Aarden fanciers like Muller, van Agtmaal, van den Burgh, van der Wegen, van den Eijnden and the Kuypers, as well as being the grandfather of Ko Nipius’s second national Barcelona.

In fact her contribution to the development of the marathon pigeon in Europe is immense. Especially in the light of the truth that there is very little known about the hen’s origins. But thanks to Steve Patrick of Parick Bros., I can state that the Zilvervosje is a daughter of Slaper H. 46- 270518 + the Goris Duivin of Alfred Goris (Kruisland).

This fabulous hen when mated with Zesentachtig H. 47- 433486 bred ‘Late Meesters’ H. 49- 525758:a pearl of a pigeon. (The famous ‘131’ was a great granddaughter of Late Meesters). The latter appearing in the pedigrees of many of the best modern representatives of the dynasty.

The partnership of Eijerkamp- Muller confirms that the Zilvervosje was the foundation bird of their family. The sire of van Wanroy’s the ‘Spin’ is a grandson and the dam is a granddaughter of Zilvervosje. And of course the ‘Spin’ was the foundation bird in the families of Kuypers Brothers and Peter van den Eijnden.

And as stated Aarden’s ‘37’ was a grandson of the hen. And in turn ‘37’ was the grandfather of Giel van Agtmaal’s ‘500’. Also ‘37’ was the grandfather of Jan de Weert’s ‘131’. Surely two of the best of the Aarden dynasty.

Further research showed that Zilvervosje was the grandfather of the ‘Oude Witpen’- a famous breeder of Toon Stoffelen. And that the ‘Bontje Aarden’, dam of Ligtenberg’s ‘10’ was a granddaughter of Zilvervosje. Bearing in mind that the ‘Bontje Aarden ‘ was the mother of Janus van der Wegen’s ‘Oude doffertje’.

The list appears to be endless re the breeding influence of Zilvervosje but as stated she was also a very good racer. Some of her triumphs included the following:
3rd nat. Dax (1949)
2nd nat. Dax (1950)
55th nat.St. Vincent (1950)
7th nat. Dax (1951)
47th nat.St.Vincent (1951)

However let us return to the main aspect of this article...

After Jan’s marriage to Janntje Akermans on the twentieth of July 1916, the Aarden’s moved to and lived in the village of Teteringen for almost four years.There Aarden built a loft and moved his pigeons there but because of family commitments and the First World War there was a lack of success.

In 1921 the family moved again- this time to Steenbergen, followed by another move to Grintweg in 1924.This was not to be the last removal for eventually the family settled in Steenbergen where Jan and his wife managed a hotel where even today many fanciers from throughout the world visits.

The early nineteen twenties saw another important influence bearing upon Jan in the person of his son Anton who was also interested in the sport and who at the age of 18 joined with his father in a combination. Anton’s influence led his father from the shorter to the longer races and although the results were not outstanding by luck and friendships Aarden through his skills and patience built a wonderful strain.

One of those friendships was Piet de Weerd, the world famous pigeonologist, whose knowledge and advice Jan pondered. Another fruit of their friendship was the so called “ Piet de Weerd pigeon”: perhaps Aardens main breeding hen, of Delbar / Deguffroy origin. In fact the Delbar’s played a prominent part in the Aarden’s origins for some of the early breeders carried the blood of this strain.

During research for this article I encountered material suggesting Aarden was the builder but de Weerd was the architect of the strain. Whatever the merits of the suggestion there is no doubt that Jan Aarden was a master of stockmanship. Visiting good lofts and obtaining the best upon which to build. Like all great creators however he knew that genius can involve the experience of others.

By the end of 1930 in the breeders of Jan Aarden was the blood of “Ost-Roe” alongside stock from Henrey Rey and a super hen from Leo De Cock. The “Ost- Roe” bloodlines belonged to Jules Roeckaert- the former title he used for sometime.

Here I relate to the colour of reds in the Aardens which raises some eyebrows to the extent that there is disbelief that red is a colour truly representative of the strain. Research however confirms that reds were at the basis of the strain through the stock of Rey and Roeckaert. The most prominent of the former’s loft was “Ouden Vassart”- a red which Rey purchased at the auction of Pauwels from the Sas of Gent.From Roeckaert Aarden bought for stock a light checker “Belske”, whose father was “Leon” a red cock from Leon Van der Saude.

Perhaps this may lie to rest the suspicion surrounding the Aardens of red or mealy plumage.

With his natural talent and genealogical knowledge coupled with an emphasis on inbreeding Aarden used the stock obtained from Roeckaert, Rey,and others to build and experiment.

Initially, he paired the “Blaue Ost-Roe” to the “Oude Rey duivin “ which showed the spark of genius for he had immediate success with this pairing. Their famous product was the great “Fietsvlieger” who as well as a winner on the road bred some outstanding birds. Mated to “Dikke Blauw” his outstanding nestmate he bred the “Schone Blauw” - a pigeon who excelled at winning first prizes at racing.

When pairing the “Reydoffer” with “Belske” Aarden produced another great pigeon in “46”- who won many races. A full sister of the “46” namely “Orleanske” won from Orleans three years in a row.

From the pairing of “Vetkonk” from De Cock with the “Fietsvlieger” Aarden bred “ Verkeeroe Duivin” - one of the best racing hens in his loft if not in Holland. The “Dikke Blauw” was also mated to Roeckaert’s “Duveltje” and produced the “Mooike” - another good representative of the strain.

The above where in the main Aarden’s basic couples and indeed “Mooike”, “Dikke Blauw”, “Schone Blauw”, and the “Verkeeroe Duivin” won prizes from a very tough race from St.Vincent?

From this and other results Jan Aarden realised that he owned pigeons of excellent quality.

The success of the developing Aarden strain caught the attentions of Jan’s fellow fanciers in Steenbergen and many were purchased resulting in the area becoming the hot bed of long distance racing in Holland. This also contributed to the evolution of the strain.

A few of the latter around the period after the Second World War until 1960 included Toon and Piet Ligtenberg whose famous hen “Oude Witpen” when coupled with another Aarden were the parents of two of the most famous representatives of the strain. The famous number ‘10’ of Ligtenberg and the fabulous ‘Oud Doffertje’ of van der Wegen. The latter being the foundation of the van der Wegen strain while number ‘10’ became the father of the famous ‘Dolle’ of Marijn van Geel- the origin of the van Gels.

Alongside other Steenbergen fanciers who set the sport alight with Aarden stock were Toon Stoffelen, Jan van der Par, Jan de Weert, and van Agtmaal. The latter being credited in some quarters with being a better racer of the Aarden’s than the great master, him.

Another important input to the Aarden’s was the great Jan Cools. A good friend of Aarden’s, Cools owned some good pigeons of the strain and they shared breeders with each other. Resulting in the production of top class performers.

As the strain developed it dominated the races from Dax, St.Vincent, Bergerac, and Barcelona, among others. Taking Europe by storm and extending beyond to become a truly world wide family. Piet de Weerd helped in this context by buying good representatives of the strain and selling them off to others.

Another important contributor to the success of the Aarden dynasty was Piet Lazeroms from Zegge (within the last four decades). This Aarden specialist bought out top lofts of Aardens and through this he owned the best of the strain.

In turn the best fanciers in Europe and elsewhere used Lazeroms as the main source of the Aardens. For example, Van Peperstraten and de Heyde. The latter built his loft on his famous “Klapper” which he had got from Lazeroms. There are also the exploits of Van Zelderen who won five nationals with Aardens.

Recent examples are Theo Ernest whose Barcelona successes are based upon the Aardens. Also the Brugemann Brothers whose famous loft is foundered upon another Aarden source - Hein and Hub Oostenrijk.

The exploits of Jac Stekatee of Bruinisse should not be overlooked for he formed one of the top Aarden studs of the nineteen ninetees. His Golden Breeder “788” is considered one of the best of the Aarden dynasty. As is the highly thought of “60” of another Aarden ace, Cees de Jong. Then there is the world known breeders and racers of Polder and de Vogel of today.

It would appear to be the case that the few mentioned adherents of the Aarden strain were fired by the master in their pursuit of excellence. I say a few for there are many, many more who could have been named who in their own way as breeders or racers contributed to the development of the strain.

In the countries of Britain and Ireland the Aarden’s are making their mark increasingly in National, Derby, and Classic races especially through the work of the Massarella Stud who acquired at extreme expense the best of the strains modern representatives. Although representatives of the strain had come to the top in previous decades.

There is also a body of astute fanciers who advocate patience with the strain and advise that it be crossed with the Delbars, Stichelbauts, and the Janssens. Whether the latter will be welcomed by the purists is questionable but patience appears to be required for it has been the experience of many that Aardens are late developers.

To conclude, what better memorial to Jan Aarden but to ensure that the strain he moulded will continue to overcome distances, mountains, seas, and other obstacles on the way to nest or perch. Thus all the Aardenists today will continue the work of the master from Oosterhout and Steenbergen.