Here are some wonderful pictures that tell a little of the Janssen story
Charel, Adriaan, Louis, and Jef in front of their home at 6 Schoolstraat, Arendonk Belgium
Here is a wonderful shot of the Brothers in their younger years
Charel inside the "Attic" lofts admiring one of their champions
A collage from 1976, featuring the brothers, and their Super Champions
Some distinct "light checkers" inside the "Attic Lofts" Absolutly beautiful pigeons !
Some say the Janssens never had "White Flights" I beg to differ...inside the "Attic" Lofts..notice the Blue Check and Blue Bar White Flights
Here is a typical hand-written pedigree, unique to the Janssen Brothers of Arendonk.
The purchased pigeon, it's parents, and grand parents. (7 pigeons..that was it)
Simple but yet the most coveted pedigree in the history of pigeon racing.
.....Perhaps it was the wonderful tradition and family history of the Janssen Brothers that drew me in. Perhaps it was the simple lifestyle and humbleness of the great fanciers from Arendonk that caught my attention. Perhaps it was the memories as a young fancier, always hearing about the "Janssen Pigeons" and their dynamic impact everywhere they touched the skies. Or it might have been the first time I handled an "Original" and realized that I was holding something very special in the palm of my hands. Actually it was the ingredients of all of the above that led me to this journey, and desire of continuing this family of pigeons pure and uninterrupted...
The Brothers never married, and were able to dedicate their entire lives to the forming and creation of the legendary Janssen of Arendonk Superior family of racing pigeons
The Brothers worked collectivly and with great harmony, their progress and achievement was like clockwork. The dynamic of their common bond was their recipe for greatness and success
Charel was the fanatical "cleaner" of the lofts, and just as fanatical about the health of the colony. He was a tireless worker in the lofts, and a true master of his craft.
The list of Champion breeders and racers were endless. Fanciers world wide lined up for a possibility of purchasing the most distinguished pigeons in the entire world. The Brothers didn't seek fame and fortune .. but it certainly found them.
Quiet and unassuming were the traits of the Brothers. But on the inside they were fiercly competitive and driven to perfection. Really their strength was in the breeding loft, and their ability to pair the right pigeons together to produce and reproduce champions for themselves and many others that acquired this prepotent strain of pigeons.
Keep in mind that the line started in 1886, and the final auction ended in 2012. This spanned a time of 126 years. It almost defies logic and sheer imagination as to how this could be accomplished. Yet with a constant stream of success the Brothers built a dynasty unlike the pigeon world has ever known and perhaps will ever know.
Their family came in a variety of colors, however the "Light Blue Checkers" were the most commonly found in their lofts. The Ceulemans cross of 1919 and 1926 introduced the "Vos" or Red Checkers. They preferred the darker version of the red checks. There were also Blue Bars and Blue Checkers that had occasional white flights, as seen above. The Brothers were very picky about type and color.
Their lofts were simple (nothing fancy) yet all of the basic ingredients were present to maintain super health and and well being. It has been said that the Brothers could have built mansions and lofts that were a specticle. But they delibertly choose to keep things simple and remain in the house of their youth, which included the original lofts built over 100 years ago !
What a fascinating story they wove for the pigeon world to embrace and learn from. To own a Janssen today in 2014 is indeed an honor and a treasure.
The Brothers actually did not like to bother with pedigrees, but knew they must because of the overwhelming demand for their pigeons. They only wrote the band number, color and name if there was one. Leaving it up to the purchaser to research the racing and breeding heritage.
Below is the pigeon that the pedigree on the left belongs to. Geschelpt Klamperke is her name. She is one of the very few original Janssens still alive and producing here in the USA. She possesses all of the dynamic traits that you could ever want in a pigeon. She was banded in 2005 and is still producing perfect youngsters in 2014. Most likely she was banded by the Master himself Louis Janssen. She is a living piece of history, that is cherished at the lofts of 'Midnight Blue
Some of the well known physical attributes of the Janssen pigeon were ...very muscular, very strong, quite chesty, rich and soft feather that covered their bodies like a shield of armor.Their flights were well rounded and strong. They possessed very colorful and rich eyes showing intelligence and health from within. The Janssen pigeons were very well balanced, and sturdy. They possessed radiant health utilizing natural methods.
Unlike today their strain was not filled with 'quick fix' drugs and potions to enhance them on race day. Rather their health was based upon strict selection and observation. It was patience and keen awareness that built the Janssen strain.
Make no mistake that the Brothers sought after and remained diligent to producing a certain 'type' of pigeon..and they deviated very little in this persuit.
Editors note: Body type and physical attributes were of the utmost importance to the brothers. Today in many circles that is almost completly ignored. You may have a champion or two with depleted physical attributes...but you will never build a lastiong foundation with this type of breeding.
Father to the brothers Henri Janssen began the legacy in 1886 in the Town of Arendonk Belgium. He acquired the best pigeons of his time from the local area around Arendonk. For the Janssens pigeons were a way of life embedded in them from childhood. Their passion and expertise proved to be a lethal combination !
Henri himself was a master breeder and racer. He taught his sons all he knew, passing along much wisdom and knowledge that gave the brothers a strong foundation. Actually there were seven sons, however it was Charel, Adriaan, Louis, and Jef that were the well known and famous sons referred to as the "Janssen Brothers"
The pigeons that created and formed the Janssen legacy were from these four sources only;
1. The Original pigeons developed from Henri Janssen.
2. The introduction of the Ceulemans pigeons in 1919 and again in 1926.
3. The Schoeters pigeons in about 1940.
4. ...and the introduction of the Halve Fabry in 1960.
The well know master Cas Goosens played a major role in the contributions to the early Janssen 'Strain. Goosens and Schoeters were the closest of friends. It was Goosens the superior fancier that advised Schoeters on most of his stock selections, that would later end up in the hands of the brothers. So yes Cas Goosens did indeed have a big role in then developement of the Janssen Strain.
In no certain order or preference here is a short list of some of the most famous Janssen pigeons of all time...
"Vos Van 1919"
"Bange Van 51"
"Jonge Witoger Van 33"
"Schoon Licht Van 55"
"Merckx Van 67"
"Jonge Merckx Van 70"
"The Oude Raket"
"Jonge Raket Van 76"
"The Grote Witoger"
"Schoon Blauw Van 76"
"Blauwke Van 54"
"The Donker Vos"
"Schone Van onder
The cleanliness and hygiene of the lofts were of the utmost importance !
The Brothers kept their lofts "spotless" at all times. They spent hours upon hours in this fashion, caring for, cleaning, and attending to their precious pigeons. They employed the very simple and natural methods for the health and quality of their stock.
They knew each of their pigeons as if they were their own children, and took great pride in knowing each and every detail about their family !! They were extremly maticulous and detailed minded in all their ways.
As far back as I can remember I have always been fascinated by the Janssen line of Pigeons. As Early as age 9 is can still recall my Uncle Dan Kulwicki speaking with great admiration and respect about this marvelous strain of pigeons from Belgium. After reading many times over the masterpiece on The Janssen Brothers story, (written by Ad Schaerlaekens) I was convinced that some day I would fill my loft with the great Janssen of Arendonk Racing Pigeons. Spinning my dream for many years I finally made the move in 2007 to build my team around this incredible and historical line of pigeons. It has been a fascinating journey, venturing forth, to acquire the very best that I could find.
The Brothers are now gone with the passing of Louis at age 100 in 2013. The last of their great family still in Arendonk Belgium were auctioned off via PIPA in 2013. The prices that these final 20 pigeons brought in were absolutley phenominal and record setting. All of the final 'Originals' went to China and Tiawan. There are still a few remaining pockets of fanciers in Europe that have some 'Originals' and keep the family pure. Here at 'Midnight Blue Lofts' we have managed our flock, and kept the bloodlines 100% pure. We race them and compete with a large Concourse here in The Twin Cities Metro Area.
With much dilligence in research, and searching, we have managed to bring together what we feel is one of the greatest collections of 100% pure Janssen of Arendonk Racing Pigeons to be found anywhere ! With forty years of breeding and racing experience, we are confident that we have the ability to maintain and keep this legendary Janssen family pure and vibrant, unblemished and uninterrupted.
Our desire and goal is that for years to come, our Janssen pigeons will continue in the original quality and excellence that would have been found in the lofts at Arendonk.
We believe the Janssens in our lofts still maintain all the beauty and quality that made them famous the world over.
We hope you enjoy this pictorial essay, and can appreciate the deep and rich history that the Janssen Brothers and their pigeons have given to our sport.
...I would never pretend to put myself in the same catigory of the brothers, however through dedication coupled with a lifetime of experience I feel I can continue to keep the "Original" line pure and uninterrupted. Then you, as a fellow fancier can be the judge as to whether I have achived and accomplished this worthy endeavor.
Tom Fremont, Midnight Blue Lofts
Janssen Brothers of Arendonk of Midnight Blue Racing Lofts
The rich traditions and legendary bloodlines of the Great Janssen of Arendonk Racing pigeons ...continue here