Kees van Rijswijk (56) has got the pigeon-fancier's bug, as he puts it. And that started when he was thirteen.
He has an entire 'flock' at home in Renkum: 95 carrier pigeons at the moment, but it is the quiet period. In the summer there are twice as many flapping around. They are all used for sport: racing and breeding winners is what it's all about. But you have to be able to take your losses. 'When you let a pigeon fly off, you've basically lost him. We suffer blows, just like boxers. But we just roll with the punches.' Luckily, they do often come back to their owner. Or rather, to the female pigeon waiting patiently back home.