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Willem de Bruijn 1

Willem de Bruijn, best of the best (part 1 of 3).


In 2000 the National pigeon magazine NPO asked their readers who they found the best racer of Holland. I remember this so well because after the votes were counted I found myself at the 3rd place of the nation. Of course this was too much honour, but nevertheless I felt flattered. But 2000 is a pretty long time ago. 2000 is not 2013. If the same question would be asked to-day quite other names would be brought up.



I  was discussing this subject (who is the best) with friends.

The names of v d Merwe, Verkerk, de Bruijn and Koopman were mentioned most.

It is true, they are all fanciers that race many birds but without many birds it is hard to be the best to-day.

- P v d Merwe? He can show breath-taking results, but should be more consistent.

- Verkerk? He is for sure the best one day racer but his weak point is young bird racing.

- Koopman is a also a star but should be more consistent as well.

- We finally agreed: The absolute number ONE in present day pigeon racing is W de Bruijn. The results of the dentist who refuses to retire are breath taking the whole year round. Short distance, middle distance or one day races? Old birds or young birds? For his birds it does not make any difference.

Every race, the whole year round,  he is the man to beat, the favourite to win.

Not only regional, but Provincial as well. I cannot imagine that any one else has won so many NATIONAL titles in the last few decades.   

Willem de Bruijn who looks serieus. A rare picture.


As a youngster Willem was already obsessed by pigeons, which in fact was not real strange. Half of his classmates had pigeons in those days.

The real start to a magnificent career was made in 1984. Then he bought a farm with a big shed in the little town of Reeuwijk, located some 25 kms north of Rotterdam.

The lofts were installed soon, the only thing that was missing now were the birds. Good birds of course because this man is a born winner and one of the words that he hates is "average".

And where could he get better birds than at Bros de Wit? These were very honest people (important!) and in the races unbeatable.

The fact that they never got the international fame that they deserved is not relevant.

De Wit had mainly Klakbirds, so Janssen family. Today every Dutchman knows how good these de Wit birds birds were then. They are winning now for Verkerk, Verbree and v d Merwe.

Those people, and de Bruijn of course, were smart enough as to go and get De Wit birds while the rest of a whole nation was sleeping.

Willems pigeon farm


So to De Wit he went where he bought 30 babies. It was back in 1984.

Only one year later he had his first real super. He named it "Sterkweker" ("Breeding Star" 85-340) and this name was not exaggerated.

This b"rd would be the start of an era of a loft that was loaded with superbirds.

De Bruijn had so many of them throughout the years that I have to make  choices. The result is that, believe it or not, inevitably NATIONAL Aces, Olympiad birds and winners against 10.000 odd birds will be skipped or will get little attention.


"Starbreeder" (85-340)

"Starbreeder" was a direct De Wit bird. Through Klak and Ouwerkerk (line Verbarth) there was pretty much Janssen blood in it. "Starbreeder" became:

- Father of the best cock of the country in 1993.

- Grandfather of the best cock of Holland in 1995.

- Also grandfather of the best NATIONAL young bird in 1996.

Perhaps the most spectacular descendant of "Starbreeder" is "Super Schalie" (90-089). "Schalie" means "Slaty" which is a reference to the Janssen strain.


"Super Schalie" (90-089)

You just cannot possibly describe how good the off spring of this wonder breeder was. In most of the de Bruijn Aces of today the blood of this bird is represented. 

As said before it is a grandson of "Sterkweker" but "Super Schalie" is also a direct son of 86-186, another Klakbird through De Wit and another basic bird as well.

Descendants of "Super Schalie" were:

- 3rd best hen of Holland 1992.

- 3rd best hen of Holland 1993.

- 2nd best hen of Holland 1995.

Especially a pigeon called "King", another descendant of 86-186 was a one in a life time bird. It won: 4.410 p -1st, 3.818 p - 1st, 2.289 p - 1st, 1.3890 p - 1st.

Most of de Bruijns best breeders also have an excellent racing record. Like "Super Schalie". It won:

9.119 p - 1st

4.734 p - 1st

2.976 p -1st

737 p - 1st (3,106 p - 2nd).

691 p - 1st (2.891 p - 8th).

It gave so many supers that Willem just forgot to update me on one of his best direct children: "Apollo" (01-694) which is a descendant of Sterkweker as well.


"Apollo" 01-694.

"Apollo" was 4th best Middle Distance bird off All Holland: His main results are:

3.777 p - 1st

4.492 p - 4th

4.274 p - 4th

6.409 p - 7th. and naturally much more.

Off-spring of "Apollo" won:

- 5th best cock of Holland.

- Bourges 8.548 p - 3rd.

- Sens 1.018 p - 1st

- Orleans 6.036 p - 1st

- Nanteuil; 14.669 p - 1st

- Mantens 11.778 p - 1st

- Peronne 19.278 p - 1st

- Duffel 5.535 p - 1st.

- Duffel 4.530 - 1st

- Peronne 608 p - 1st

- Vierzon 14.964 p - 3rd

- Morlinourt 8.345 p - 6th

- Strombeek 2.247 - 1st

- Nijvel 4.853 - 5th

- Pommeroel 4.092 - 2nd. 

- Sezanne 1.202 - 1st

- Pont 3.777 p - 1st AND MORE!


Olympic Zeus (01-452).

Also famous "Olympic Zeus" is a descendant of "Super Schalie" and the old de Wit strain. Seeing its results it will not surprise you it was crowned as the 2nd best cock of Holland in 2002 and that it was Olympiad bird as well. It won:

6156 p. - 1st

2555 p. - 1st

1453 p - 2nd

6409 p - 4th

3894 p.- 5th

2299 p - 6th

4178 p - 9th and, again(!), that is only part of it.

These prizes were won in races from 125 to 600 kilometres.

It stands to reason that "Olympic Zeus" as well became father or grandfather of many outstanding birds, but now I want to draw your attention to something else.

One of the bird that made W de Bruijn famous.


The birds, mentioned before, are mainly de Wit birds mixed with a bit Griekspoor, Ouwerkerk and van Breemen.

The start of the new century was for W de Bruyn also the start of a new era.

He imported some birds to mix with his own family and it was not long before the "new" de Bruijn birds stunned the nation. AGAIN!

In Holland it is a well-known fact that Willem de Bruijn have been friends since long.

Though we think the same about many things we practise this sport differently.

He races many birds, I even dare participate in a race with less than a handful. Furthermore you should know that before 2000 he had rarely been in Belgium.

For me this is different, I live right at the border, he lives in the middle of Holland.

When Willem said in 2001 "I would not mind trying out something new" my reaction was "Let"s go Belgium then".  

And to Belgium we went.

Our first target was a fancier that was quite unknown then and did not live far from the French border. Gilbert Meire was his name. How I knew him? When Leutenez was in his glory days he had supers from this man.

So we went all the way to Meire, Willem bought a basket full of birds and one was to be an absolute miracle, both as a racer and a breeder.

He named it "Gilbert". It won 40 prizes in 3 years" time, among them 3 firsts. As a breeder it was a real sensation and became father or grandfather of over 20 first prize winners. His descendants won:

- 4th S National Ablis 17.730 p.

- 1st Duffel 3.912 p.

- 1st S National Blois 20,755 p.

- 1st Orleans 3.984 p.

- 15th S National Bourges 9,000 p.

- 6th S-National Blois 4.673 p.

- Famous "Mystery Lady" and "Olympic Anita", both raced by Vanlint.

"Mystery Lady" won 12 prizes in top 100 National Belgium. "Olympic Anita"became Olympiad bird.

- 5th National Ace.

- 8th best cock of Holland..  

- 9th National Ace Belgium.

- 5th National Ace and more!!!

The dentist was so happy with his "Gilbert" that he told me: "If ever you know a man who has birds of the same quality, you should tell me.

That was in 2005 and I knew such a man indeed. His name was Leo Heremans, in those days just as unknown as Meire at the time, but already kind of legendary in his own area.

So to Leo Heremans we went.

The memory of those visits will stay in my mind forever.



I do not think any Dutchman had been to Heremans then.

German Mr Roeper though had outsmarted me and was the first foreigner to visit Heremans and buy his birds.

Anyway, Leo was proud then to get visitors from abroad then and he welcomed us heartily. And he was proud as well to show us his top birds.

Never ever will I forget the beauty of the birds that Willem and me handled there.

We were so impressed that we hardly spoke a word when we drove home and they kept us awake at night. In our lofts we felt like killing a lot of our birds, since they could not compare with Heremans birds.

Finally I myself bought 6 birds there, Willem bought 60, all from the very best.

This was typical W de Bruijn style. He never buys birds for crazy prices to put it in the breeding loft, on the contrary: For the same money that others sometimes pay for one bird he buys a bunch at a time and he races them.

They first have to prove themselves as racers before they get a chance to breed.

I must admit though, in the beginning de Bruijn was not sure of himself.

When he had those Heremans birds he asked me numerous times:

"Do you really think these birds are so good?" 

"No doubt about it, but why do you ask?" I always reacted.

"These birds are too pretty to be good" he said again and again.

The first training toss already made an end to his doubts.

Five races later he thanked God he had bought these birds. And after the first season he knew he had gold in his loft. Among the 60 youngsters were 12 birds that were ABSOLUTE SUPERS, birds that could win against 10.000 pigeons or more.                                                                                  



Note about National Aces in the Netherlands. We have the following NATIONAL competitions that each has its own rules:

- NPO. You can compare this with KBDB.

- WHZB: A traditional competiton of the leading magazine "NPO". 

- BOTB: The competition of to-days" leading magazine "Het Spoor".