Florea Sorin, Dinu Mihai , Gerard Hooymans, Vincent van de Kerk and Jan Hooymans in the wine cellar of Gerard Hooymans

Florea Sorin, Dinu Mihai , Gerard Hooymans, Vincent van de Kerk and Jan Hooymans in the wine cellar of Gerard Hooymans

Hooymans Company

Hooymans Company

The visit at Jan Hooymans was propbably the most special visit that I paid in Belgium and Holland, since the year 2004. I met Ian for the first time a day before the football match between Steaua Bucharest- Ajax Amsterdam. The week before, at the initiative of our German friend Klaus Stieneker, Jan invited Mr. Sorin at Amsterdam  for the football match with Steaua. Due to the short time we had, Mr. Sorin and I could not go, but of course, we invited them in Bucharest. Thus, invited by Florea Sorin and Gyany Antonescu, Jan Hooymans, Klaus Stieneker and Vincent van de Kerk (Pipa Holland) spent 3 days in Bucharest. I discovered Jan was an extraordinary man, a very modest man. I did not know anything about his financial status, I only knoew he was one of the best Dutch  pigeonsport fanciers for flights with distances between 100-650 kilometers. This was a reciprocal sympathy for Jan. Many times, through such meetings and reciprocal sympathies, we make friendships that last for a whole life, friendships that can be mre powerful that other friendships since childhood. That is why life in general is so beautiful and interesting. And we should mention something….generally speaking, positive persons attract only positive persons around them, and the negative persons attract only negative persons!!!! That’s what Buddha says and all he teaches us is mirrored in the daily reality.

Of course, when we decided to pay this ‘marathon’ -visit in Holland (I and Mr. Sorin) , we could not avoid Jan. In fact he insisted to spend a whole day only with him. A short time after that, we were going to understand why. The day before we remained in Belgium, because we visited Freddy Vandenheede and Chris Hebberecht. Together with our guide in this trip, Vincent van de Kerk (Pipa Holland), we went in front of Jan’s offices at 10  a.m. . It was then that we found out that Jan has the biggest mushrooms factory from Europe and the most modern factory of compost (the ballast in which the mushrooms grow, or, in Romanian, manure)- from the entire world!!!!!!

Gerard Hooymans, Jan’s father started this business in 1969.  Ever since an early age, before teenage, Jan joined his father. In the office, Jan  showed us at what level his business reached – with the map of Europe in front of him. We are already speaking of a business at global level, as Jan’s compost is the most requested in the world- for mushrooms!!!! At a certain stage  of the business, things did not work as they should have been, because the recipe for the compost was not exact, and the mushrooms did not develop accordingly. So, at that point, Jan left for  America, to learn from the best people of those years. After he returned home, in Holland, he obtained the best compost in the world, a compost that Jan is exporting now in industrial amounts in America.The compost is obtained from horse dung, chicken manure and straw, plus other few secret ingredients, but the three elements mentioned before represent the basis of the compost.

Let’s go back to our subject.  With the map of Europe in front of him, Jan said his business did not expand in the Eastern Europe.  Being a person with a real spirit for business, Mr. Sorin suggested to open a similar business in Romania. During only 30 minutes while they  discussed very interesting basic elements, the two agreed on it.

Another ‘bridge’ between Holland and Romania was born thus,just as the real Dutch- Romanian brotherhood was born. In the first half of the day, Jan presented to us every detail and corner of his factory and the mushrooms farm. Very interesting things. I saw Jan not as the employer, but as a man actively involved in all the activities of his  factory and I saw a great friendship betwen him and his employee. His oldest employee, a Moroccan has been working in his factory for more than 25 years. All that they earn, the Hooymans family reinvests in the company, that is why they are now leaders on the market at the time being. Jan is an employer that leaves home at 9 a.m. and returns at midnight, and he does this with great pleasure. He could speak about the company and his products with great endeavour, for a whole day, just as he colud speak about doves and vice versa. The visitors team was completed by Nikolaas Gyselbrecht and Freddy Vandenheede. As he was on holiday and knowing that we were going to visit Jan for a whole day, wanted to join us. This is not a common thing for Freddy, and those who know him can confirm this, but, as I mentioned above, positive people attract positive people.

Only in the afternoon we started to speak about the doves, But as Jan likes to say :”Life is not only about money and pigeons and he is so right. Jan and his father Gerard live close one to the other, on two impressing properties of a few hectares. The properties are separated by a natural fence of over 3 meters height. As his father is a passionate  golf player, he also has a golf course in the back area of the house, and Jan being an ex-professional football player, has a football field. Both of them have some exceptional wine cellars, where they have the highest quality wines, some of them being very rare editions.

Near a good wine glass, in Jan’s pigeonsport office we watched all his doves, “Harry” and his brothers and his parents “Jonge Bliskem and Dirjke”. I must add that Jan does not sell any squab from “Jonge Bliskem and Dirky”, though he received great offers for them!!!! For Jan, the pigeonsport is not a business.

Only 3 squabs from this pair have left his residence during the last 8 years!!!!One was for Peter Veenstra, it was bought by him in a public auction for 90,000 Euros- it was a female tha afterwards was named “Miss Million” ; he also offered 2 squabs as a present to his mentor Cor de Heijde.

I must mention that at the beginning, Jan had his doves fly for the marathon, and his doves were coming just from Cor De Heijde. In 2009, when Cor’s doves were stolen, Jan got in the car with a pair from “Jonge Bliksem and Dirjke” and offered them as a present to him. From the male Cor has reproduced the 1st place at the National Contest Bordeaux 2012 , flying from a distance of almost 900 kilometers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We checked “at hand” some exceptional doves,on the same pattern,  and with  a very rare musculature, this being the main element according to which Jan selects his doves.

Thank you again Jan to you , and to your all familly for the great hospitality !!! It was a day that for sure we will not forget untill the rest of our lifes !!!

Florea Sorin , Vincent van de Kerk , Jan Hooymans and Freddy Vandenheede ;

The final product ;

Vincent van de Kerk, Pipa Holland- our guide ;

If it were not for Jan, the pigeonsport would have disappeared from his town. Thus Jan has founded a club that was very close to his equitation center. The club is equiped according to the latest technology, and inside the club there is also a pub, where all the consumption is paid by Jan.

We had lunch in a beautiful fisherman’s restaurant, from the small harbour from Jan’s residence town:

Florea Sorin , Jan Hooymans , Dinu Mihai , Freddy Vandenheede , Nikolaas Gyselbrecht , Vincent van de Kerk ;

At home , at the Hooymans Family

Jan’s father, Gerard Hooymans is a real gentleman, a man of great vitality and who has a passion for golf.

In this small compartment from the attic on top of the office the famous “Harry” flied and made history ;

One “feels” the pigeonsport

Impreuna cu legendarul “Harry”

Impreuna cu “Alexia”