We have visited most of the Important Jan Aarden lofts In Europe. However most of these lofts have excellent birds, but hardly anyone kept the Jan Aarden pigeons pure. So what we got to see at all these lofts were very nice pigeons, but 99 % of them were crossed with other strains than the pure Jan Aarden strain.
One loft showed the opposite. It is the loft of Machiel Buijk In Holland. At his fantastic breeding lofts there are only pure Jan Aarden pigeons of a quality we have never seen before. Indeed the pigeons of Machiel Buijk are still pure Jan Aarden pigeons and they are bred from the best lines of the world famous Jan Aarden long distance strain.
Machiel Buijk, 48 years old now, started pigeon fancy in 1970, so 30 years ago.
From the beginning of his career Machiel was only fascinated by long distance pigeons. He was born and still lives in the neighbourhood of Steenbergen, the little city where Jan Aarden and many of his successors lived.
Machiel Buijk was from a younger generation than the famous long distance champions of those days, but that did not stop him from visiting them many times.
When he was 18 years old, Machiel fell in love with his wife Mimi, but at the same time he fell in love with the beautiful strong Jan Aarden pigeons and he only wanted one thing: having the best Jan Aarden pigeons he could find.
10 Years after his start as a pigeon fancier, Machiel started working for pigeon magazines in Belgium and Holland. In those days he visited many lofts in Europe and bought many excellent pigeons from those champions. Machiel only wanted the best Jan Aarden pigeons and bought them on several lofts, such as Antoon Aarden, Lazeroms, Sprenkels, Vroegindeweij, Van der Wegen, and last but not least at Marijn van Geel from Nieuw Vossemeer.
Through the years Machiel learned to know the Jan Aarden strain as nobody else. He studied the Jan Aarden pigeons and found out, that the pigeons of Marijn van Geel were the best and purest Jan Aarden pigeons of all. Marijn van Geel did not only had the best results on the 1000 kilometer races but his pigeons bred and raced the best on many other lofts too.
For long distance racing there were no better pigeons than those of Marijn van Geel. Machiel then decided that in order to keep the Jan Aarden strain pure for the future, he had to form a colony of pigeons, all direct from the Van Geel loft. It was really difficult to buy those pigeons, because everybody wanted them so much.
But, having known Machiel since a youngster and having watched him mature as a keen and competent pigeon handler, Van Geel did not only sell him pigeons, but taught him over the years all about the Jan Aarden strain.
Sadly in 1983 Marijn van Geel died and from all over the world came requests to buy Marijn’s entire colony. However his wife Martha decided to go on racing and breeding the birds on her own. During the following years Machiel became Martha’s right-hand man. She knew that her husband had taught this young man well and she continually asked his advice. Machiel became her loft manager and in this capacity advised, paired and selected racing and breeding pigeons in order to continue Marijn’s work.
His payment was not money, but pigeons from the best breeders and racers of the Van Geel loft.
In February 1989 Martha van Geel decided to sell all her old pigeons. Machiel was the auctioneer and the sale of 168 pigeons realised a world record result. The pigeons were sold for 770,000 Dutch Guilders in appreciation of the life’s work of Marijn van Geel.
At that moment, there were already 140 original Van Geel pigeons at Machiel Buijk’s loft, only from the best racers and breeders. So, the Van Geel strain was saved for the future.
During the years, Machiel Buijk had more than 300 original Van Geel pigeons at his loft. lie cherished them like they were nuggets of gold but did not hesitate to eliminate if neccessary. Pigeons, not coming up to his stern requirements had to disappear.
So it happened that in the past even children of the ‘Dolle’, the ‘Lange’ and Vlekje’ ended their career in a dustbin, just and only because they did not fulfil the conditions of Machiel. In that way more than 50% of the 300 direct Van Geel birds were selected-out by Machiel. Only pigeons, bred from the very best Van Geel’s and moreover with the thoroughbred characteristics of this Jan Aarden strain were allowed to stay. The way of acting of Machiel Buijk saved the strain Van Geel for a total crumbling.
Back in time
In the 1950s’ Jan Aarden sold a lot of pigeons, but almost everybody crossed those pigeons with different strains. Only a few fanciers kept the Jan Aarden strain pure and that’s why pure Jan Aarden pigeons became very rare.