Van der Zijde Rens, Anna Paulowna (NL)

On behalf of Pipa, I have recently went to visit Rens van der ZIJDE in Anna Paulowna. Anna Paulowna, a town of approximately 14,000 inhabitants, is located in the province North Holland at a distance of about 15 km of Den Helder.

In the 12th century, when the sea penetrated further and further inland from the South (Zijpe), the West (Heersdiep) en the North (Marsdiep), the inhabitants tried to preserve the land by throwing up banks. However, their banks couldn’t withstand the power of the sea and with great efforts they could survive behind the West Frisian sea bank. Only about 1600, a few parts of the flooded area could be recovered. The Anna Paulowna polder was the last one to be impoldered with private money in 1846. Anna Paulowna was the spouse of King William II, who reigned over Holland in those days. She gave her name to this place.

The fancier

In 1971, Rens van der Zijde (60) started with pigeons in Den Helder. At the age of 6, he had 5 or 6 pigeons. He came in touch with pigeon racing because his uncle had some pigeons as well. He has had pigeons his whole life, with the exception of the time he discovered female beauty. After his marriage to Ineke in 1971, he became an active pigeon fancier once again. He has been a member of the Carrier Pigeons Association ‘P.V. Den Helder’ ever since. He takes care of his pigeons all by himself. His wife only helps out when it’s really necessary. Ineke does remind him to turn on the electronic clocking system. One time Rens forgot and when he came back from a walk, his pigeons had returned home, but hadn’t been clocked!

In 2004 Rens and Ineke moved from Den Helder to their present day address. The pigeon loft was already there, but the house still had to be build, resulting in two seasons of few races and mediocre performances. Rens used to race speed and middle distance. For some time he only raced with young pigeons, but since 1998 he has specialized in one day long distance races. He tries to peak at all one day long distance races (six) and if it’s possible with the top at national Blois.

Rens disposes of about 15 m of lofts. The front of the lofts is facing southeast. In the breeding lofts, the pigeons live on grids. The hens are housed in a set of pigeon holes with barred doors. Rens is still working on the loft, for he believes it has room for improvement.


Origin of the loft

Rens built up his loft with pigeons from the “Uno” from Raoul and Xavier Verstraete and pigeons from Ad Schaerlaeckens from the “Sissy line” (Mattens) x “Superstar” (Maurice Voets) and pigeons from Ludo Claessens, Putte. These pigeons were crossbred by Rens and this always results in good pigeons. De Ludo Claessens’ pigeons are red and the Ad Schaerlaeckens’ pigeons are blue. Recently, Rens has only bought young pigeons from Ludo Claessens. Right he is because Ludo, also known as “The Master”, “The Legend”, “Miracle Man”, “Pigeon Virtuoso” etc., has been performing inimitably for years. He is probably the best middle distance racer in the world!

Rens has 14 breeding couples, of which at least 4 super couples:
3 Ludo Claessens’ couples and 1 Ad Schaerlaeckens’ couple.
The main breeding cock is “Late Lange Vos” from 1995, a red cock from “Voske 54” and “Dik Licht”, both belonging to Ludo Claessens.
“Late Lange Vos” is amongst others father to:

* 97-NL-5730704 3rd  national ace pigeon long distance in 1999
* 01-NL-1702661 1st Bourges

(Pedigree : )

* 00-NL-1785943 1st La Ferte Bernard
* 04-NL-1892370 1st Strombeek 1st Ablis

“Late Lange Vos” is an extraordinary breeder:
27 of his children won a first prize no less than 65 times, of which several in great association (without doublings)!!!
Year of  birth
Ring number
Number of first prizes

Ludo Claessens’ pigeons are super inheritors.
That’s how his “Voske 54” brought a.o. these super pigeons in the world:
"Dream" : 1st nat. Orleans against 7,406 pigeons
"Vos 91": 1st Creil against 1,968 pigeons and fastest out of 20,000  – 1st Chateauroux against 4,509 pigeons
"Voske 88" : 1st Nijvel tegen 1265 duiven and fastest out of 10,000 – 1st Chateauroux against 3,069 pigeons
"Donker 92" : 1st Chateauroux against 2,898 pigeons
And “Dik Licht” is the mother of a.o.:
"Katoog" : 1st Orleans against 4,947 pigeons – 1st Etampes against 2,046 pigeons
" Witneus 75" : 1st Creil against 1,061 pigeons

UNO van der Zijnde
Rens possessed the best long distance pigeon in the Nat. competition WHZB in 2000. This pigeon was called “Uno” because it won first prizes and its ring number ended in a 1. It has been bred from two pigeons bought directly from Ad Schaerlaeckens.

The father
is son “Sissi”  from combination mother x son and the mother is daughter “Superstar”. The NL98-1015141 is the father of "De Rik” with ring number NL01-1702641, also ending in a 1. “De Rik” has been named after Rens’s and Ineke’s grandson.

This pigeon’s mother is B99-4399599 and is a daughter of "Uno" Verstraete. This pigeon races a.o. NPO Bourges 8,994 competitors, 1st, and Etampes 2,091 c., 1st, and ended in second place when sent to the Western European Nations Cup.

Attention: From a half-brother of the NL98-1015141 (Back then, NL97-1740980 was coupled with B96-4296310 and is a daughter of “Uno” Verstraete) Lau Hoffman from Den Helder bred “Lucas” NL01-5143477. This pigeon won a.o. NPO Tours 6,481 c., 1st, and NPO Bourges 8,994 c. 8th. It was sent to the Western European Nations Cup too, but this time extreme long distance since it barely got the distance limit. This one also ended in 2nd place. “De Inteelt” NL01-1702607 also comes from a combination of mother x son and has the NL98-1015141as a father. “De Inteelt” is the super couple’s cock, and the hen is the NL02-1796474, directly from Ad Schaerlaeckens and is a daughter of “Invincible” and “Supertje”.

“Dochter Invincible" (Pedigree : )
This is a super inheritor hen as well.
“Inteelt” x “Dochter Invincible” brought into the world these toppers amongst others:


1st Bergen op Zoom against 759 pigeons
• 1st Houdeng against 357 pigeons         
• 7th Chimay aganist 334 pigeons


1st Strombeek against 871 pigeons      
• 3rd Orleans against 1,726 pigeons
• 10th Nivelles against 4,269 pigeons


• 2nd Blois against 851 pigeons
• 19th Blois against 5,971 pigeons
• 9th Meer against 563 pigeons
• 23rd Bourges against 1,302 pigeons
• 23rd Tours against 625 pigeons
• 42nd Tours against 833 pigeons

Grandsons of the couple “De Inteelt” x “Dochter Invincible” are also performers:
1st Peronne against 216 pigeons
1st Peronne against 2,279 pigeons
1st Peronne against 262 pigeons
• 2nd Peronne against 5,086 pigeons
1st Meer against 465 pigeons
1st Peronne against 218 pigeons
• 8th Chimay against 3,134 pigeons
• 20th Chimay against 4,020 pigeons


1st Hasselt against 232 pigeons
1st Hasselt against 2,180 pigeons
• 2nd Meer against 339 pigeons


1st Strombeek against 338 pigeons
• 4th Strombeek against 2,595 pigeons

Here in Anna Paulowna, the coupling goes on during the first weekend after New Year.
About 50 pigeons are bred. Only the very best racing pigeons are used for breeding.

Flying system
Rens used to race widowers only , but the last two years he has gone in for complete widowhood with his pigeons.

To prepare them for the flying season, the pigeons are taken away to Alkmaar 3 times (ca. 25 km). The pigeons come along on speed and middle distances race until the one day long distance races start. In between two one day long distance races, the cocks stay home for a week while the hens go along on a middle distance race. The hens are not shown before the races. Starting from the middle of March up to about the 20th of April, the pigeons are living in the dark 24 hours a day, provided that there’s still a bit of light so they can eat and drink.

Dark means twilight in this situation. Rens does this to postpone them getting in shape until the one day long distance races are scheduled. The pigeons aren’t lightened after darkening them.
To decide which pigeons are nominated to be basketted, Rens takes into consideration the pigeons’ performances during the last few weeks. On Monday or Tuesday, the pigeons get a bath. Nothing is added to the bath water.

Feeding system
The closer the day of basketting comes, the more the pigeons are fed. They have a full feeder at their disposal all day. In the beginning of the week they are given light food: Gerry Plus and afterwards  50 % of Gery Plus and 50 % flying feed. They get some peanuts too. After returning home they get heavy feed.
In the second half of the week, they get Herbots ‘4 oils’ added to brewer’s yeast.

Training the pigeons
The cocks train two times one hour a day and the hens only once a day, but more then one hour. The pigeons are not taken away themselves and don’t participate in midweek races.

Medical guidance
During racing season, the pigeons are treated against yellow fever every three weeks by dr. Van de Sluis. He also gives them a weekly condition mix. Rens follows the doctor’s system very closely. After a race, the pigeons are given a purification mix.

Performance list
Rens won the “Golden Pigeon” in 1993. Bosua came in second and the third prize went to G. and C. Koopman. It was a quite an achievement to keep ahead of Bosua and Koopman!
Rens once had a pigeon for the West European Nations Cup as well. This pigeons was bred from the “Uno” x “141”.

The best racing pigeons
" Voske 61"

- 1st Bourges (678 km) against 183 pigeons
- 2nd Bourges against 1,777 pigeons
- 7th Bourges against 11,118 pigeons
- 1st La Ferte Bernard (605 km) against 182 pigeons
- 3rd La Ferte Bernard against 1,750 pigeons
- 25th La Ferte Bernard against 1,234 pigeons

- 1st Strombeek (220 km) against 817 pigeons
- 1st Ablis against (526 km) 323 pigeons
- 2nd Ablis against 2,235 pigeons
- 7th Ablis against 10,058 pigeons
- 9th Ablis against 14,707 pigeons
- 2nd Meer against 1,384 pigeons
- 3rd Meer against 4,417 pigeons
- 7th Meer against 23,845 pigeons
- 5th Orleans (586 km) against 220 pigeons
- 27th Orleans against 1,726 pigeons
- 113th Orleans against 6,893 pigeons
- 6th Bourges against 152 pigeons
- 39th Bourges against 1,302 pigeons
- 18th Blois (638 km) against 851 pigeons
- 70th Blois against 3,705 pigeons
- 101st against 5,971 pigeons
- 55th Tours (670 km) against 655 pigeons

"Goede Zwarte"
• Etampes 1st against 379 pigeons – 1st against 1,572 pigeons – 25th against 15,843 pigeons
• Bourges 1st against 211 pigeons – 1st against 852 pigeons – 1the against 8,801 pigeons
• Orleans 1st against 135 pigeons – 1st against 745 pigeons – 2nd against 6,970 pigeons
• Etampes 1st against 356 pigeons – 5th against 1471 pigeons – 162nd against 17,163 pigeons
• Tours 3rd against 163 pigeons
• Chateauroux 20th against 648 pigeons
• Bourges 9th against 223 pigeons – 28th against 1,148 pigeons - 105th against 10,209 pigeons
• Niergnies 42nd against 2,699 pigeons
• Orleans 45th against 1,264 pigeons
• Etampes 5th against 1,258 pigeons
• La Ferte Bernard 54th against 1,033 pigeons
• 4th world champion Versele Lage
• 6th national ace pigeon long distance Nat. competition WHZB

• Kapellen 1st against 702 pigeons
• Chateauroux 1st against 49 pigeons – 1st against 644 pigeons – 7th against 3,747 pigeons
• Houdeng 1st against 614 pigeons – 26th against 4,458 pigeons
• Etampes 4th against 265 pigeons – 108th against 14,785 pigeons
• Bourges 7th against 187 pigeons – 33rd 1,429 pigeons
• Tours 6th against 155 pigeons – 46th against 1,441 pigeons

Championships in 2006
Division 6 North Holland Rayon A
Speed 5th not nominated  3rd nominated
Middle distance 9th nominated
One day long distance 3rd not nominated   3rd nominated
General old 2nd not nominated 1st nominated
Pigeon champion 04-NL-1892370

Carrier Pigeons Association P.V. Den Helder
Speed 1st not nominated   1st nominated
Middle distance 2nd not nominated 2nd nominated
Long distance 1st not nominated   1st nominated
General old   1st not nominated  1st nominated
Young pigeons 3rd not nominated
After race 4th nominated
General 1st not nominated 1st nominated
2nd Champion pigeon long distance with 04-NL-1892370

There aren’t a lot of fanciers performing well with Rens’s pigeons, simply because he never got rid of nor sold pigeons of his.
Lau Hoffman did a job for Rens. He didn’t want any money, but pigeons and now 85% of his loft consists of Rens’s pigeons.
In 2006, Lau Hoffman was a.o. 1st general champion Rayon 1 division 6.

Also Alex Udo from Heiloo did a job for Rens during his move and he too didn’t want money, but a  few pigeons and they found out to their cost in North Holland. In 2006 Alex Udo became:;
1st champion speed Rayon 1 division 6
1st champion middle distance Rayon 1 division 6
1st champion young Rayon 1 division 6

These two people and pigeon friend Steef Duyn are about the only ones to ever get pigeons from Rens. Not much more pigeons left Rens’ss loft. Moreover, they only got a  few pigeons: about 5 per person, but almost all good ones. Now you’re probably thinking: “Than how did that Hoffman manage to get more?” He tries to sell every bond pigeon Rens makes available..

Goals for the future
Rens would love to win the “Golden Pigeon” once again.

The beginning of 2007
During the interview Rens’s pigeon friend Steef Duijn from Heemskerk was also present. He told us that he won 2nd and 14th prize against 3,597 pigeons with two grandchildren of the red “024” on the first race of 2007 in Heemskerk. On this very same race, Rens’s pigeon 04-NL-1892370, a son of the red “024” ( this is “Late Lange Vos”) obtained the 3rd position against 4,417 pigeons and the 7th against 23,548. With a granddaughter of the red “024” Rens also got the 22nd place against 4,417 pigeons.

The “330” of A. Udo from Duffel was 5th against 367 pigeons and 15th against 4,448. At Strombeek he won the golden medal against 343 pigeons, the silver against 4,081 and the bronze against 23,804 pigeons.

His nest friend 06-NL-2076331 also won first prize at Strombeek (It arrived at exactly the same time as the “330”. ) against 343 pigeons, 3rd against 4,081 and 4th against 23,804.
Thus in 2007 “Late Lange Vos’s” descendants immediately left their marks as well.

To conclude
I was put up with a fancier, serious about his hobby, who is still trying to improve his loft to his heart’s content after the move to his present day address, but already has obtained some beautiful results. My host disposes of a few super pigeons and he could easily win the “Golden Pigeon” in the future. Especially Ludo Claessens’ pigeons are – without depriving the other pigeons - of very high quality.
At the end of our conversation Steef Duijn wanted to add how he is surprised by Rens’s performances at one day long distance races and how Rens keeps on winning in all kinds of competitions (Here he is talking about the “Golden Pigeon”, WHZB, world championship Versele Laga, …).

Rens, congratulations with your great performances and we wish you all the best for the future!