Van Geel Marijn, "The Master Aardenist"


What can be written which has not already been written about this master of the sport of pigeon breeding and racing? A native of the Netherlands who obtained stock from a dynasty of the best marathon- type pigeons and in due course made a valuable contribution to that same dynasty. A fancier who made Nieuw Vosemeer known far
and wide throughout Europe and the world. When did it all begin?

Marijn van Geel and the great Jan Cools, another enthusiast for Jan Aardens, were a partnership but decided to separate and thereafter went to Steenbergen to obtain long- distance pigeons to build up their own families. The only proviso being that the stock obtained had to be based on the old Jan Aardens. Marijn van Geel acquired some birds from a fancier named Van Agtmaal: he was the best friend of Aarden and could get all the pigeons he wanted from him. Van Agtmaal gave to Van Geel five eggs, two of
which became the sire and dam of the famous '500', one of the best long- distance racers and also a superb breeder. Two more youngsters from the same pair were also to join the Van Geel colony that year and along with two more birds, Ligtenberg and the Old 59, bred by Van Geel from the Big Cock from Stoffelen. With these few pigeons van Geel laid the base for what were to become perhaps the best distance birds in the world. Later two other pigeons were introduced to his loft, the 1st National St. Vincent winner of Willem van den Burgh and the 1st International Barcelona winner of Piet van der Slik. This formed the basis of the wonderful van Geels.

However the future success of this family of pigeons did not come about through the chance matings of blue blooded birds. No! The owner epitomised the thinking fancier and hours of thought went into preparing the groundwork for his potential enterprise. As the master breeder, which he was, Marijn van Geel's course was that of inbreeding, in fact he was always reluctant to cross other pigeons into his family. This strategy paid off dividends for within a brief period of time van Geel was considered one of the very best Dutch fanciers especially from the start of the nineteen sixties onwards. Perhaps most important of all that this master of breeding technique kept the Aardens as they were during the 1950s. For even 25 years after the death of Aarden the van Geel Aardens were true to type and performance. What a family- it included the famous Dolle and Lange, Bonte 62, Old 54, Old 59 and numerous others including Vlekje whose bloodlines were the fertile soil from where champions blossomed within Holland and beyond. There is no doubt that van Geel was an outstanding master of the pigeon art and indeed, in the opinion of many,a genius of the sport.

Let us consider the great Dolle who died in 1985 at the age of 18. This great pigeon participated in 17 races and won 17 prizes including 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. Vlekje was a grandson of the Dolle and he
won a car in the national from Dax which confirmed the breeding potential of the Dolle which won a car in a St. Vincent national and lost by a few seconds another car in the Dax race, and this was when he was eight years old. Even today the Dolle bloodlines remain quite potent for Martha van Geel, the wife of the late Marijn, who returned to
the sport after a period of absence was 12th in the Barcelona national in the year 2000.

Throughout the world today the van Geel pigeon genes ensure that when it comes to the distance they as a strain are not found wanting. What better memorial to Marijn van Geel, a gentleman of our sport, who put so much of a wonderful intellect into his contribution to the continuance of the Jan Aarden dynasty. The name of van Geel will
be forever etched in the annals of the sport of long- distance pigeon racing.