Vredeveld Harm, "World Champion"


When you look at the results of the Versele Laga World Championship over the years several names jump out at you, the big names, the well know names, the professional names, Eijerkamp, Thone and so on. In amongst all those professional names is another name, an amateur name. A small name? No, not really, there is nothing small about the name Harm Vredeveld. It is just a name that we, outside of Holland, are not familiar with. It is a name we should know though because Harm Vredeveld is a big name. Harm Vredeveld is a World Champion of pigeon flyers.
I first met Harm quite a few years ago, the early 1990’s, when I was looking for a very good long distance flyer. I was looking for someone who not only had good pigeons and knew what to do with them himself but someone who I could talk to and more importantly someone who would talk to me, someone who was not frightened to pass on some of his knowledge and skill, someone who was prepared to help those less talented than himself. I told my Dutch friend what I was looking for and without further thought or hesitation he suggested Harm Vredeveld. How right he was.
Harm is not only a pigeon flyer par excellence he is a very nice, very honest, very hard working and very talented man. In Holland there are two real specialism’s Long Distance and Young Birds and Harm has excelled at both. He proved this in a very emphatic way by being Crowned WORLD CHAMPION Young Birds 1996 and SECOND in the overall World championship.
Harm lives in a charming little hamlet called Steenwijksmoer just on the outskirts of Coevorden in the province of Drenthe, North East Holland. Drenthe is one of the most attractive provinces in Holland. Coevorden is an ancient little town dating back to the 16th Century. The only traces now of that ancient past is the layout of the streets. Coevorden is on the Eastern edge of Holland very close to the German border. While Coevorden is a long way from the main “sprinting” areas of Holland and too far North to be consistently competitive in the International races it does have its own share of champions. Because of the way the Dutch National races are organised, the country being split into several areas with simultaneous liberation's from several race points, it is possible to be Nationally competitive in Coevorden as Harm and several others have proved.

Dam to winners of a/o:
”Loverboy”: 1st world champion Versele Laga 1996
”Mr. Loverman”: 1st National racing cock WHZB 2000
”Lucky Boy”: Superior racer and breeder … sire to:
4th National Houdeng (Afd. 10) 22,294 birds
”Game Boy”: 2nd National young acebird WHZB 2001
”Dutch Queen”: 15th world champion Versele Laga 1996
1st and 2nd generation offspring won over 7x 1st from
massive birdages (thousands of birds)
1st Hasselt 579 b.
1st Hasselt 537 b.
1st Chimay 355 b.
2nd Lommel 4,944 b.
”Dancing Queen”: 1st prize winner
”BOY” is also grandsire to many winners and top producers. His top granddaughter is the legendary ”BANDIT QUEEN”:
1st National young acebird WHZB 2001
1st National youngster WHZB 2001


Harm Vredeveld is now in his later fifties and works as a Security Guard. As he says he “contracted the pigeon bacillus from his father” and has never known life without pigeons. He started on his own in 1983 and since 1985 he has raced from Pastoor Slosserstraat where he has lived until now. All in the Vredeveld household have been contaminated by the pigeon bacillus and everything is devoted to the sport. They have a saying “The pigeon sport is the most important thing of secondary importance”.
Harm lives with his wife Lenie, who takes on 75% of the care of the pigeons while Harm takes on the other 25% of care and provides the leadership and management. He likes to be in control of as many aspects as possible and is not one to leave things to chance. He says “If you think your loft is well enough, your management as good as possible, and the results are not the way you would wish then you have to get other pigeons.” He believes that you cannot do without Lady Luck but that you should not leave many things to her.

During the 1970’s his lofts were crowded with the pigeons of John Lambrechtsof Borgerhout, Belgium. These were mainly Cattrysse/Huyskensvan Riel. With this sort of pigeon he became 3rd General of the Drenthe Region.
In 1985 however he came to the conclusion, after a poor showing at Ruffec, that he had the wrong pigeons. Ruffec was to far. He needed different pigeons for the longer distances. He decided to go to Jeu Vervuurt in Horst, Limburg. In 1985 he chose four pigeons of the strains Kees de Groot/van de Wegen/Krint.
In 1986 he obtained a further 16 eggs and could now start his breeding programme in earnest.
In 1987 he started racing these pigeons and at the same time started a severe form of selection. For example on the first race from Bergerac, France, if the first pigeon arrived at 1500hrs then the others had until 1800 hrs. Any later than this and they failed. Looking back he feels that this was too severe but it was this sort of selection that took him to 3rd place in the National Championships behind Van Ekeren and the very well known Bisseling brothers.
Amongst these pigeons was a “Golden Couple”. The cock H80-1035653was a grandson of Barcelona 862 from v.d.Wegen and the hen H82-1390887 was a Janssen/Delbar. From this couple came some exceptional long distance pigeons:
Ÿ H87-4006539- Oude Zwartje- a hen who won 17 prizes on overnight races.
Ÿ H87-4006553- Schone Vale- a cock who took 2 prizes in the first 10 in National races.
Ÿ H88-5801167- Het Vaaltje- a hen who took 10 prizes in the first 100 in National races.
Ÿ H88-5801159- De Sluiper- a hen who took several prizes in overnight races.
A son of this couple has proved to be an outstanding stud cock for Evert Glazenburgof Winschoten.
Out of the other Vervuurt couple was a pigeon H87-4006535, De Pau, who during the time that Holland did not have areas came 22nd in the National Pau, 87th National Marseilles and 20th National Dax.
A brother of De Pau, H85-112493 (old ring), won the Triathlon of Pigeonsports Holland in 1990. This pigeon came 11th, 28th and 30th in National races from Bergerac.
With this sort of pigeon Harm also took first place National Area 7 in the Classic Orleans Young Birds in 1990.
It was during this time that Harm noticed that his fond, long distance, pigeons were not fast enough. So he started looking for other pigeons.
In 1993 he got himself 6 young pigeons of the type of Jan Zoontjes from Boxmeer in combination with H and O from Nieuwendijk out of The Rocky, The 45th and the Micky crossed in family line at Harms request.
In 1994 he obtained some eggs from Koen Minderhout of Westkapelle of the strain of Vandenabeele of Dentergem, Belgium.
Also in 1994 though he came into contact with Hans Eijerkamp and obtained 10 pigeons with Olympiade rings. On reflection Harm says, this was a “Golden choice”. Out of those 10 pigeons were the following:
Ÿ NL94-7040193- HANS - Den Bosch - 15th from 2028 pigeons - Hasselt - 21st from 4017 pigeons - Hannut - 22nd from 7742 pigeons

Son ”BOY” x ”QUEEN” (Love Pair)
2nd National young acebird WHZB 2001
1st acebird in combine (Late Season races)
” GAME BOY” winner of:
1st Beek 3,935 b.
4th Hasselt 12,302 b.
4th Hasselt 6,152 b.
10th Maaseik 6,926 b.
18th Boxtel 13,496 b.
27th Chimay 2,674 b.
158th Chimay 20,707 b.
326th Maaseik 13,152 b.

Best Young Bird in Holland 1994

Ÿ NL94-7040192 - 1st prize from 4017 pigeons
Ÿ NL94-7040190 - 9 times a prize winner as a young bird
Ÿ NL94-7040195 - 9 times a prize winner as a young bird
“QUEEN” Dam of World Champion Young Bird
In 1995, not surprisingly, he again went to Hans Eijerkamp for some pigeons. This time he obtained a cock, NL95-1379941 “BOY”, from the lines of the legendary “46” of P. Verbarth. In fact he is from a Grandson X Granddaughter of the “46” when paired to “Sister Autoduif” NL90-2191223, a pure Janssen Bros- Arendonk. Harm paired this cock to one of the hens he had obtained the year before NL94-7040195 “QUEEN”. She is a daughter of “Glamourboy” NL87-1473403, who won 1st prize National Etampes against 13,842 pigeons and a further six first prizes, when paired to a daughter of the famous “CARLA” NL88-1235963 who in turn is a daughter of “CARLA-86” who was the best young pigeon in Holland in that year. From this illustrious parentage sprang not only “LOVERBOY” NL96-8016480 the World Champion of Young Pigeons in 1996 but also his nest mate NL96-8016479 “DUTCH QUEEN” who was 15th in that same World Championship competition .
“LOVERBOY” took four really top positions to win the title:
Ÿ 1st prize Houdeng 299km from 4272 pigeons
Ÿ 2nd prize Hannut 248km from 6585 pigeons
Ÿ 3rd prize Hasselt 214km from 6828 pigeons
Ÿ 3rd prize Hannut 248km from 5807 pigeons
He also won 20th Den Bosch from 8570 pigeons and 57th St.Ghislain from 4163 pigeons. A brilliant record by any standard but for his nest mate to win 2nd from 2,193 birds, 2nd from 1,845 birds, 2nd from 1,545 birds and 10th from 975 birds is really quite astonishing.
"HANS", the best young bird in Holland in 1994, has now returned to his place of birth, the famous Greenfield Stud in Brummen, where he has been joined by LOVERBOY. This illustrates perfectly how the professional and the amateur can work together to the benefit of all. It has long been the policy of the Eijerkamp family to buy Champion pigeons which are the foundation of their studs and breeding programmes. The progeny then become available to a very wide public. It is only someone with the resources of the Eijerkamp family that could gather so many champions together in this sort of way. Amateurs, like Harm, are then able to obtain pigeons of impeccable breeding, turn them into Champions like HANS and LOVERBOY who then take there turn in the breeding programme and on it goes. Of course people like you and I can obtain pigeons just like these as well, they are available to all, its just a matter of what we do with them.

” BOY”
Sire to winners of a/o:
”Loverboy”: 1st world champion Versele Laga 1996
”Mr. Loverman”: 1st National racing cock WHZB 2000
”Lucky Boy”: Superior racer and breeder … sire to:
4th National Houdeng (Afd. 10) 22,294 birds
”Game Boy”: 2nd National young acebird WHZB 2001
”Dutch Queen”: 15th world champion Versele Laga 1996
1st and 2nd generation offspring won over 7x 1st from
massive birdages (thousands of birds)
1st Hasselt 579 b.
1st Hasselt 537 b.
1st Chimay 355 b.
2nd Lommel 4,944 b.
”Dancing Queen”: 1st prize winner
”BOY” is also grandsire to many winners and top producers. His top granddaughter is the legendary ”BANDIT QUEEN”:
1st National young acebird WHZB 2001
1st National youngster WHZB 2001

Meanwhile “BOY” and “QUEEN” have remained at Steenwijksmoer where they have continued to breed quite exceptional pigeons. The next of their progeny to acquire National status was “MISTER LOVERMAN” who passed back to Brummen and the Eijerkamp family as an egg. This Blue cock managed to win the title Best racing cock of the Netherlands WHZB 2000 after winning 1st Duffel 8,053 b, 1st St.Ghislain 2,325 b, 1st PSMaxence 1,127 b, 2nd Ghislain 4,556 b, 2nd Ghislain 4,362 b and so on, another phenomenal champion.
In 2000 “BOY” and “QUEEN” bred “LUCKY BOY” who won 1st Hasselt 6,905 b, 3rd Beek 4,600 b and 9th Rethel 2,329 b and in 2001 they bred “GAME BOY” who won 1st Beek 3,935 b, 4th Hasselt 12,302 b, 4th Hasselt 6,152 b, 10th Maaseik 6,926 b amongst others and so won 2nd Young Ace Bird of the Netherlands WHZB 2001. “GAME BOY” also qualified for the pre Olympics in Dortmund in the short distance discipline for the European Championships.
Not only have “BOY” and “QUEEN” bred many champion racers but they have also bred pigeons that have themselves bred champion racers and so the dynasty moves on. If we look at “DUTCH QUEEN, who was herself as you will remember 15th in the World Championship 1997, she was grand dam to “JULIET” winner of 1st 2,329 b, 9th 3,131 b, 14th 4,571 b, 15th 17.077 b and 16th 6,926 b but more importantly perhaps was dam to “BANDIT QUEEN” who dominated young bird racing in the Netherlands in 2001 winning both Best Young Bird of the Netherlands WHZB 2001 and Best Young Ace Bird of the Netherlands WHZB 2001. This dominance continues until today with two direct descendants of “BOY” and “QUEEN” winning 1st and 2nd from 31,500 young birds in the Netherlands National Morlincourt 2003.
Harm believes in his own judgement in the assessment of good and bad pigeons. He selects on the basis of eyes, muscles and other body qualities. He also looks at the breeding, particularly in relation to the distance he requires them for. They must come from a line which shows itself as suitable for that distance. He is always looking for better pigeons, every day he is looking for better pigeons, and most of the time he seems to be finding them in his own loft.

You might think that to support results like these Harm would have to have hundreds of pigeons and large palatial lofts to keep them in. You would be quite wrong. Harm is an ordinary working man and lives in an ordinary semi detached house on a small estate in a small village. Its all very attractive and well cared for of course because that's the way the Dutch are by nature and legislation, and that's the way Lenie and Harm are hard working and thorough. The lofts stand in the garden and in that sense he is truly an ordinary back garden flyer. They consist of two compartments for 48 pairs of racers, a section for 12 pairs of stock and a section for the young birds measuring about 10 feet by 8 feet. The young bird section does have a heater and a fan but all the others rely on natural ventilation. Harm says this is not the proper way to design lofts, and I think he means there should be more use of mechanical means to ventilate properly.
A very big part of the care of the pigeons is Lenie’s work. She starts every morning at 7am cleaning until about 9 am when she breaks for a coffee. During the racing season they spend about 5 to 6 hours each day in the lofts but during the close season this is reduced as much as possible in order to rest both the pigeons and the fanciers. The old pigeons sections are cleaned every day and once a week they are cleaned with a chlorine solution. During the racing season the young bird loft is not cleaned out at all. They are bedded down on straw, droppings are taken from the top of course, but Harm likes to disturb them as little as possible.
As far as feeding is concerned Harm does not believe that the contents and make of food is that important except that the quality must be superb and it all has to come from the same supplier. During the whole of the race season it must consist of at least 10% to 15% Barley. He does not believe that the quantity fed is very important although he does believe there is a relationship between training and quantity. The more you train the more food you need. To feed them then is a matter of observation and judgement. He does not use peanuts or anything similar because he thinks the quality is unreliable.
The young pigeons are trained once a week from 30 km and the widowers are trained from the same distance each evening. Harm believes that an early born young pigeon is much stronger than a bird of about four months when it comes to the longer races like Orleans.

Son ”BOY” x ”QUEEN” (Love Pair)
” LUCKY BOY” winner of:
1st Hasselt 6,905 b.
3rd Beek 4,600 b.
5th Hannut 3,448 b.
9th Rethel 2,329 b.
13th Boxtel 3,563 b.
14th St. Quentin 5,071 b.
15th Chimay 2,082 b.
29th Boxtel 4,571 b.
38th St. G. Hornu 1,883 b.
46th Nijvel 4,117 b.


Q. Why are you so driven?
A For me it is the same as top sports, so I want to win, it is a kind of honour. It is a very big kick as an amateur to be as good as a professional at that level.

Q What was the best thing you ever did?
A That I went to Jeu Vervuurt in 1985/86 to get some of his pigeons.

Q What was the worst thing you ever did?
A I don't know. I make mistakes every day but I learn every day of my mistakes.

Q What kind of system do you prefer?
A It depends, I play the traditional play, the widowship play and the eyrie play.

Q What do you like most about the sport of racing pigeons?
A When the pigeons are coming home after a flight and when the pigeons are taking a bath.

Q What don't you like about racing pigeons?
A To put them in baskets. You work all week with them and when they are inside the basket they fight like lions, that hurts. At a few flights I used eye cream so they couldn't peck each other in the eyes. The results were pretty good but I was ashamed of myself. It was terrible to look at.

Q What, in your opinion, is the reason for your success, the pigeons, the loft or the fancier?
A 1st the pigeon, 2nd the fancier and 3rd the loft.

Q How important is regularity?
A If you don’t want to take any risks as much as possible regularity.

Q Are you a believer in any special kind of theory?
A No, a champion has several kinds of properties.

Q Do you use “darkness” with your pigeons?
A Yes, if you want to race very fast there is no choice. But I am concerned, it is against nature. The year after the pigeons have been on “darkness” they are lesser good. The most important thing is that the pigeons are very healthy.

Q Do you ever use drops with your young pigeons?
A No, never.

Q How many pigeons do you breed in one year?
A About 120 pigeons. I’ve had several years when I have sold a lot of pigeons. I kept about 25 pigeons to fly with. It is better to breed 120 young pigeons in one year than 40 pigeons in 3 years.

Q Do you listen to medical advice?
A Yes, sometimes. A few years ago, for the first time, I followed a medical system from a veterinary out of Belgium. It didn't work for me, only for him! Only the best pigeons win. I remember some years ago a sports friend, name him Meine, had a top year. Nobody could beat him. He had a secret, onions in the drinking water. So everybody did the same that year, but there was only one winner......yes Meine.

Q Do you believe in drugs?
A No, absolutely not.

Q Do you read pigeon magazines and do you watch pigeon videos?
A Yes, I read about 5 magazines and I watch videos. Maybe you read or see something new. You are never to old to learn.

Q Can we expect a video from the Vredeveld loft?
A Maybe, if there is interest.

Q What is your opinion about commerce in the Racing Pigeon Sport?
A No problem, if it stays in between the lines.

Q How many pigeons will you keep over winter?
It depends, between 80 and 130.

Q Are there lofts that have success with your pigeons?
A Yes, a good pigeon sells itself.

Q What is your advice to a starter?
A It depends what your purpose is, but the joy in the sport is the most important thing.

Granddaughter ”BOY” x ”QUEEN” (Love Pair)
” BEAUTY QUEEN” winner of:
2nd Niergnies 2,672 b.
8th Rethel 2,329 b.
9th Beek 3,935 b.
9th Hasselt 2,444 b.
11th Hannut 4,538 b.
18th Chimay 2,075 b.
35th Niergnies 2,992 b.
79th Houdeng 3,131 b.
81st Beek 1,782 b.
* Supreme racer and breeding hen


Harm is still relatively young and with the commitment that he and Lenie show to the sport there will be many years of success ahead for them. They are not the type to sit back on their success, quite the contrary, being World Champions in 1996 has simply acted as a spur to be World Champion again. Harm is a country boy and a family man at heart and together with Lenie they have two delightful daughters and are now grandparents as well and that is the way they want to stay. Harm has a great belief in his pigeons and a great belief in himself and so in 1997 I wrote “You can believe me when I say you will be hearing a lot more of Harm and Lenie Vredeveld of Steenwijksmoer, World Champions, and their World Champion pigeons.” Well I was right to say that then and that same statement stands as true and as fresh today, you will hear a lot more of Harm and Lenie Vredeveld of Steenwijksmoer.