The name of this strain I have seen printed as van de Wegen and van der Wegen but as I am used to van der Wegen it will be my choice for this article. This particular strain of distance racing pigeons blossomed on the tree of the Jan Aarden dynasty and without a doubt it is one of the greatest families of the sport. A truth confirmed by the countless successes of the founder and his sons and the numerous fanciers from throughout the world who have succeeded with it. In fact it is possible that it could be the beginning of a new dynasty of the sport in the present century. The strain had its origins in the Dutch town of Steenbergen which is the source of many outstanding strains and families such as Jan Aarden, Ligtenburg, and van Agatmaal among others. Obviously there must be something in the air of that Dutch environment which has produced such giants and greats of the sport. Janus van der Wegen who laid the strains foundations was of the former school and by all accounts he was a born pigeoner.
The strain has been developed from pigeons which have flown the tough Dutch programme of Bergerac, Dax, St.Vincent and Barcelona. In fact some commentators opine that the strain was the best in Holland during the last 50 years of the 20th century and the first 5 years of the new millennium, for reports world- wide keep throwing up the name time after time.
Beginning in the 1950s van der Wegen obtained birds from Jan Aarden although one of his most famous was of Ligtenburg bloodlines. This was a black cheq cock known as the 'Oude Doffertje' (H.58.314573) and as well a being the foundation of the strain it is one of the most famous names in the history of the sport. Partly of Aarden and partly of Delbar blood it was the brother of the famous '10' of Toontje Ligtenburg. As a producer the 'Oude Doffertje' was second to none being the sire amongst others of the famous 'Lamme' who scored 7th, 10th and 11th from Dax in the Dutch National as well as 6th National St. Vincent. The 'Lamme' sired 1st National Barcelona and 14th National St.Vincent, this same bird also scored 5th National Barcelona and 2nd National Dax. A son of the 'Oude Doffertje' known as '152' won 14 National prizes and two grandsons won 1st National St. Vincent and 1st National Bergerac. Other producers of the strain included the Dax hen, the 1st Hen, the Barcelona hen, the Gruiters hen, the '83' and the 'Oude Knollekop' to name but a few. The van der Wegen's is an excellent family to cross with. For example Willegers in 1983 was 1st International Barcelona with a cross and Simons won 1st National Barcelona with a cross. So did Thei Crommentuy who won 1st Nationals St. Vincent and Pau in the hot bed of Dutch pigeon racing. There are numerous other examples. Therefore it was a fortunate day in 1958 when a son of Janus van der Wegen namely Anton purchased two eggs from Toontje Ligtenburg, who in his own words recorded the occasion: 'In '58 Anton van der Wegen came to me and purchased two eggs of the third round. From them hatched two cocks. He showed me them when six weeks old. They simply radiated quality. One youngster I think he lost near the loft. The other became the famous 'Oude Doffertje'. He was a full brother of my '10'. A sure champion...' Little did Toontje or Anton realize that fate or whatever had placed them at the birth of a great strain, a strain that is still a leader throughout the world of pigeondom.