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. In those days it was relatively easy to obtain long distance birds for very little money and it was in that period that Jan Aarden started to excel in long distance racing and he created the base for the now so famous Jan Aarden strain.

In the early years, before commerce dominated the pigeon world, it was possible to obtain pigeons from Jan Aarden and other fanciers who kept the Jan Aarden strain pure. Marijn van Geel was one of these fanciers and he started with his friend Jan Cools to concentrate on the long distance racing in preference to short and middle distance.

After initial good results, disaster struck: Their first loft of pigeons died of canker, all except one and after restarting with new birds a new disaster struck in the form of floods, which decimated their entire loft, this was in 1953.

A year later, Marijn van Geel and Jan Cools decided to separate and race pigeons on their own and both fanciers went to Steenbergen to obtain long distance pigeons to build up their own strains, based on the Jan Aarden birds.

Marijn van Geel
Marijn van Geel
Jan Aarden
Jan Aarden

Marijn van Geel acquired some birds from a fellow fancier, named Van Agtmaal, this fancier was the best friend of Jan Aarden and he could get all the pigeons he wanted from Jan Aarden. Van Agtmaal gave to Van Geel 5 eggs of his best breeding pigeons, two of these being the sire and dam of the world famous ‘500’, one of the best long distance racers of Holland and also a superb breeder. In the same year, Van Geel acquired two more youngsters from the same pair and these four brothers and sisters of the ‘500’ were Jan Aarden pigeons from the very best.

Besides these 4 pigeons, Marijn van Geel used only two more birds to form his own Jan Aarden strain. Those pigeons were the ‘Ligtenberg’ and the ‘Old 59’, bred by Van Geel from the ‘Big Cock’ from Stoffelen. Both, the ‘Ligtenberg’ and the ‘Old 59’ were pure Jan Aarden pigeons. With these 6 pigeons, Marijn van Geel laid the base for what years later was to become the best Jan Aarden colony in the world.

The only other birds, introduced after the initial start were the 1 st National St. Vincent winner of Willem van den Burgh, and the I st International Barcelona winner of Piet van der Slik these two pigeons were also pure Jan Aarden pigeons.

Marijn van Geel was a person who intensely disliked crossing his pigeons with other strains. He achieved his ideal through inbreeding, a method commended by some and acclaimed by others as the best method to achieve success.

Success came quickly to Van Geel after the purchase of the Jan Aarden strain via his friend Van Agtmaal. In no time Marijn van Geel belonged to the best long distance fanciers of Holland and from the early sixties onwards, he became very well known through series of top positions in the races from St. Vincent, Dax, Pau, Barcelona etc.

Although it is almost 50 years ago it is interesting to note that the results of Marijn van Geel have never been equalled in long distance racing and if there had been a world championship league for long distance racing, he would surely have topped it.

Marijn van Geel’s pigeons won two cars in national races, ‘Vlekje’ won a car in the Dax race and the ‘Dolle’ won a car at the St. Vincent race and five times a bird of Marijn van Geel was the winner in the southwest region of Holland against the cream of the Dutch long distance fanciers. Van Geel succeeded in obtaining positions in the first twenty-five prizes against several thousands of pigeons in almost every race he took part in.

The Jan Aarden strain of Marijn van Geel developed into the best of all long distance strains in Holland and several very good long distance fanciers approached Van Geel and bought birds and many of these became very successful with his birds.

Marijn van Geel from Nieuw Vossemeer was the only fancier who kept the Jan Aarden strain pure like they were in the 1950’s: pigeons with most beautiful eyes, imaginable, perfect physic and silky plumage. Van Geel kept the Jan Aarden pigeons pure through very close inbreeding and he succeeded in keeping the Jan Aarden pigeons to type and performance, 25 years after the demise of Jan Aarden himself. Marijn van Geel showed, how the old Jan Aarden strain was very suitable to inbreeding he was unequalled in keeping the inbred Jan Aarden strain pure and successful.

Through the years Marijn van Geel bred many unique long distance birds. World fame started with the now famous ‘Dolle’, undoubtedly the world’s best long distance pigeon of all time. The ‘Dolle’ was followed by the ‘Lange’, ‘Bonte 62’, ‘Old 54’ and ‘Old 59′ and many others. The more recent generation of Van Geel birds include Vlekje’, ‘Goede Blauwe’, ‘Barcelona’, Favoriet’, and ‘Munchenvlieger’ they were all from the same incomparable class, the hallmark of the Jan Aarden strain, and are still used in long distance flying at many top lofts in Europe.