One of the most evocative pigeons of this century is ´Harry´ of Dutch Jan Hooymans. Few fanciers who will shrug their shoulders questioningly when they hear or read this name. During life already a legend. Now it just so happens that this pigeon came up when I was talking to a Belgian. 'What a pigeon, huh' I said. If only I hadn't done that.
Because both in the Netherlands and in Belgium there are quite a few prejudices about the quality of each other's pigeons.
Some Dutchmen are frustrated to hear again and again how their southern neighbors (some) look down on the quality of their birds. They ndeed seem to assume with their heads in the sand like ostriches that the Dutch pigeons would not be out of place with the predicate ‘crow’. They base their opinions on the opinions of others.
And those others represent an older generation, some of whom have never seen a Dutch pigeon or even fancier up close.
Belgium is the cradle and that's where the best are, as they used to say and that's how they (‘they’ is a minority) still say. As for the great long distance they are prepared to make concessions. After all, the results on International flights do not lie.
Those were reason for other Belgians to focus northwards when looking for reinforcements for the great long distance. And didn't regret it.
Those Belgians who were dominant at great long distance in 2021 nearly all raced pigeons with ´Dutch blood in their veins´.
And what about Middle Distance? The races in the Netherlands are mostly faster, but those Belgian critics don't see or don't want to see that for the time being. Of course ‘faster’ does not need tot refer to quality.
The more advanced transport to the release station may be the reason that also at Middle Distance the races in Holland go faster.
This idea of some Belgians is also motivated by the fact that the Dutch traditionally race with more pigeons.'So more bad. They only play with good, Dutch basket everything that moves. ́
The Dutch do indeed enter more birds.
However, there is often better performance, which is not compatible with basketting more rubbish. The difference in International long distance races is even shocking. But if you refer that some seem to suffer from a suddenly emerging hearing impairment, biased as they are.
DUTCH PEOPLE THEN?
Some Dutch people are just as short-sighted or silly, so to speak, and are equally dismissive of Belgian pigeons.
One argument is the sometimes ridiculous number of pigeons in competition.
For some, there are also feelings of revenge. They left a lot of money in Belgium for 'better' pigeons, the expectations were as tense as the elastic in the lingerie of Dolly Parton, but the pigeons did not meet them, often on the contrary.
Maybe, by the way, just their own fault because who did often fall for? Whipped-up names in fake reports about fake champions.
Buying pigeons in Belgium many Dutch people learned from a previous generation. Shortly after the war you had to be in Belgium indeed for the better pigeons. And Belgain ‘sellers’ did their best to maintain the tradition. That's why my interlocutor picked up the nose when I confronted him with ́a pigeon called Harry. ́
The nightly arrivals in the Netherlands is another thing. 'All fraudsters' the same Belgians even shouted out loud.
Until there were so many of them in 2021 that this topic was wisely shun. Concerning this subject I remember that seminar from long time ago.
Philip H pointed out to his compatriots that they had to be careful or it would not be long before they would be swept away by the Dutch in the long distance. Soft laughter from someone in the back of the room.
When he wondered later on why in Belgium there were never any nightly arrivals, the room shuckled. Now he became unstoppable and shouted: 'At Barcelona, the Dutch also can't clock at night. And why not? Because of the double check.'
The man became the most popular guy in the audience. 'How can you still speak of quality when you see how many pigeons some Dutch people race with,' he shouted.
That seminar was a long time ago.
The Belgian could not have imagined that there would ever be a race (nine eleven 2021) that showed how many of his compatriots had turned into mob flyers as well. They were all professions. Selling was their living.
In Belgium there are very good pigeons and in the Netherlands too. In Belgium there are very bad pigeons and... it is no different in the Netherlands.
In Belgium there are regions where the quality is significantly less than elsewhere and you can also say that of the Netherlands.
We must be careful not to put things too black and white, which is childish, not very intelligent but explainable. Black and white thinking was instilled in the older generation at an early age in the time of Sjors and Sjimmie. They were also black and white.
People saved tinfoil, which was even taken from packets of cigarettes.
That was for the blacks in Africa. Missionaries took that with them. They were white just and they went there to wash souls.
They also had to be white. But luckily, times changed. It seems that people in Belgium now race with more pigeons than in the Netherlands back then. That has nothing to do with quality but an evolution that you saw coming years ago.
Many have trouble with those so called mega lofts, and attack the flyer. But those people take advantage of the possibilities they have in Holland and Belgium. In some countries people do not understand that you are free to race with 500 pigeons or more. ́Is that still a SPORT? they suggest. True. Doesn't look like it. But it's never been a SPORT.
In my childhood I had a neighbor with a lot of space, a lot of money and a lot of pigeons. Then, very few raced 20 birds or more. I played with about six, of course was mostly beaten, but could still enjoy the sport. Well, ‘sport…?’