Machiel Buijk

The treasurer of the Jan Aarden strain

There are many lofts that have found fame based on the Jan Aarden pigeons however whilst most of these lofts have excellent birds, hardly anyone kept the Jan Aarden pigeons pure, the lofts of Machiel Buijk are a rare exception.

Nearly all these lofts have very nice pigeons, but 99 % of them are crossed with other strains other than the pure Jan Aarden strain.

At the breeding lofts of Machiel Buijk in Holland there are only pure Jan Aarden pigeons of superior quality and outstanding eyesign admired by all who see them and they are bred from the best lines of the world famous Jan Aarden long distance strain of Marijn van Geel

Machiel Buijk, is now 65 years old, and started in the pigeon fancy in 1970. He was born and still lives in the neighbourhood of Steenbergen, the little city where Jan Aarden and many of his successors lived and from the beginning of his career Machiel was only fascinated by long distance pigeons.

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 wanted only the very best Jan Aarden pigeons he could find.

After being a pigeon fancier for 10 years, 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 since Machiel only wanted the best Jan Aarden pigeons and bought them from several lofts, such as Antoon Aarden, Lazeroms, Sprenkels, Vroegindeweij, Van der Wegen, and last but not least from Marijn van Geel from Nieuw Vossemeer.

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.

Throughout the years Machiel 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 not only had the best results on the 1000 kilometre races (621 miles) but his pigeons won out of turn for many other lofts too.

For long distance racing there were no better pigeons than those of Marijn van Geel and Machiel decided that in order to keep the Jan Aarden strain pure for the future, he had to form a colony of these pigeons, all direct from the Van Geel loft. It was really difficult to buy those pigeons at that time, because everybody wanted them so much but. Having known Machiel since he was a young lad and having watched him mature as a keen and competent pigeon fancier, Van Geel not only sold him pigeons, but taught him over the years all about the Jan Aarden strain.

Machiel Buijk’s favourite Van Geel pigeon has always been the ‘Dolle’, not only for its perfect results on the long distance races, but even more by the unique breeding eyes of this bird. The ‘Dolle proved to be one of the best breeding birds of the Jan Aarden strain.

The ‘Dolle’ is without any doubt the best long distance pigeon ever. The ‘Dolle’ participated in 17 long distance races and won 17 prizes.
His most important results are:

1st Provincial St. Vincent 1.684 birds
3rd National St. Vincent 6.844 birds
1st Provincial Dax 1.032 birds
3rd National Dax 3.649 birds
9th Provincial Limoges 1.610 birds
12th National St. Vincent 6.917 birds
20th Provincial Chateauroux 2.176 birds
22nd Provincial Chateauroux 2.425 birds
39th Provincial Moulins 5.146 birds
59th Provincial Moulins 4.612 birds
66th National Dax 3.561 birds

The great ‘Dolle’ died in 1985 at the age of eighteen years. The number of proven ace pigeons with ‘Dolle’ blood in their veins is tremendous and at that time Machiel Buijk had 13 children of the ‘Dolle’ at his own loft, more than anyone had ever seen together. Also at his loft were14 children of the famous ‘Vlekje’, the car winner from Dax. ‘Vlekje’ was a grandson of ‘Dolle’.

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 since she knew that her husband had taught this young man well and she continually asked Machiel for 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 compiled the sale catalogue since there was no one more knowledgeable about the Van Geel family to prepare this catalogue. Machiel was also 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 in time, there were already 140 original Van Geel pigeons at Machiel Buijk’s loft, bred only from the best racers and breeders and therefore 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 and he cherished them like they were nuggets of gold but at the same time he did not hesitate to eliminate any pigeons, not coming up to his high standards. 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 high standards set by Machiel and he eliminated over 50, % of the 300 direct Van Geel birds. 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 and by applying these standards Machiel Buijk saved the strain of Van Geel from a total crumbling.

Machiel Buijk has been very successful with the Van Geel pigeons and he proved once again how valuable the Van Geel strain has been and still is.

In his career, Machiel won many important Provincial races, such as St. Vincent, Chateauroux, Tours, La Souterainne and Limoges. All these races have distances from 600 to 1000 kilometres (372miles to 621 miles) and every time the victory was won against thousands of pigeons of the best long distance fanciers of Holland. Also Machiel Buijk was crowned as Ist champion of the famous ‘Zuidwesthoek’, undoubtly the most prestigious province for long distance racing in Holland

Many lofts have achieved great success with pigeons obtained from the lofts of Machiel Buijk.

Because of his business commitments Machiel does not have much time left for other things since he is working with pigeons every day, 7 days a week and 52 weeks a year, pigeons are his life.
At his pigeon stud in Hoogerheide, the breeding of the Jan Aarden pigeons is the most important goal. Machiel knows like nobody else that it is not easy at all to breed the Jan Aarden pigeons and keep them like they were in the 1960’s. Of course over 40 years of experience is a big help to him and that’s why he is succeeding in doing so.

Many times wealthy fanciers have bidded fortunes for the Jan Aarden collection of Machiel Buijk but Machiel knows that his colony of Van Geel pigeons is the last and most unique Jan Aarden bastion in the world therefore he made up his mind to keep this strain for the future and in doing so the life-work of Marijn van Geel is preserved.

To own this thoroughbred valuable strain is for Machiel of great importance. And many visitors from all over the world have visited the breeding lofts at Hoogerheide and were unanimous that a collection like this one is seldom found and of uncommon excellence.

Of course there are fanciers in the possession of a few typical Jan Aarden pigeons, but we cannot compare it with the pigeons at the breeding loft of Machiel Buijk, where tens of those birds are the guarantee for the future of the Jan Aarden strain. Those birds have perfect bodies, velvety feathers, long flexible muscles and the most fantastic imaginable coloured eyes, varying from green to gold and from purple to chestnut brown.

The Jan Aarden strain still lives in all its glory thanks to the passion of Machiel Buijk a perfectionist always trying to breed birds of better and better quality, a breeder of long distance racing pigeons of exceptional quality, you only have to see the eyesign in the back of his catalogue to prove this point.

Machiel Buijk is a very well respected International pigeon breeder whose aim is to own and breed the best long distance strain of racing pigeons in the world.

Author: Paul Stowell