“For a little while,” says Jonker. Moments later, he returns with a fist-sized folder. In this world of folders, catalogs and instruction manuals that show the history of Batavus. “Hobby”. Lack, perhaps we should say about the passion to collect, because he has little, as it happens later. His collection of mopeds and motorcycles has fourteen copies. It’s not full anymore.
A side room serves as a showroom
“But sometimes I have thought: ‘This will not work’. I was once 24 years old,” says Wietze Jonker. “There were many things that I still had to work hard on. If I wanted to play, I had to first put three mopeds out. Then you have a lot only. I’ve passed their numbers on to other members. But the funny thing is, if you remove three, two always come back,” he laughs. It has ensured that they no longer fit in his attic and garage and that a side room in his home is used as a showroom. Because it should be said: each of them looks like a ring pull.
Work on it every day
“A few still need to be addressed,” says a sympathetic Heerenvener, as we look around his workshop. “It’s not that hard, you know. If you take the model apart and put it back together right away, you know. Then you have the difference between one, two and three gears and the difference in versions, but then there you have it. I deal with it in one way or another every day. I like to open . Turn on the stove, turn on the music, and you will lose a few hours in no time. But I also like to sit behind my computer, browse the Marktplaats and eBay, and see if there is anything for me. I often spend an evening with that. I would also like a guide of instructions and a brochure for every style I have. That’s where it starts. But then you go on and want more documentation from Batavus. I think I’ve got more of it now. There seems to be a good booklet on Batavus skating. I haven’t been able to find it yet.”
It is not without pride that he shows a brochure from 1960 for carriers and motor carriers. Caution is advised when unfolding. The edges are quite smooth. “This is very rare. I think few people have it. I got these and several others from a man who wanted to make sure they were in good hands with me.
And so it goes from brochures and motorcycles to electric cars and from sewing machines to the Batavus Whippet: a nosemoped from the early sixties, often executed in two colors, complete with a panther print on the seat of a friend, offering out at the top. and two pipes and a windshield on the headlamp. Popular among collectors who put six thousand euros on a rug. “My hobby has become more expensive. I started with a few tens, but now you’ve lost about a thousand euros on a moped. I don’t have that Kiboko. Too expensive for me. I have others that are more rare.” Jonker refers to fast mopeds that were very popular in Germany. Its display is orange with only 25 km on the clock. He takes us to the side room and points to the thick block (engine). “Fifty cc, top speed only 85 kilometers per hour. In Germany you were allowed to drive at the age of sixteen, but you had to have a special driver’s license. That was not allowed in the Netherlands.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Batavus runs like a red thread in Wietze Jonker’s life. He did not work there for almost half a century, but he is also a volunteer at the Batavus Museum and knows a lot about the history of the brand and the technology of mopeds and motorcycles. It makes him a source of information. “You don’t want to know how many people are going to come to your stand at a trade show. Ask where they can buy a certain part or ask about engine modification data and which airplane should go on a certain carburetor.” The fact that he knows a lot about it is also why he writes for the Batavus Moped Club magazine. “That’s a lot of fun to do and because of that you also gain knowledge yourself. If I can’t help them myself, I often know someone who can.” When asked how many types of mopeds Batavus has produced, Jonker does not answer. “I really don’t know. There are many of them. Brands have taken over and have developed a wide variety. Every year there had to be a new style. Even if it’s just a note, on a sheet of metal, for example.
Plant in the area
For Jonker, being a member of the Batavus Moped Club also means doing four group rides a year. “Always on a Saturday, spread over Holland. And a length of seventy to eighty kilometers. With a long break in the middle for lunch. There is always a broom car on the side, because of course it is old things. But I also visit here. About the route the smaller ones, Oudeschoot, Oranjewoud, are good here.”
Go back to his seminar. In addition to motorcycles and mopeds, we also see a two-wing trench, as we know them from the Americans from the 1950s, under a large cloth. Jonker laughs at the surprised face of his listener. “A 1957 Chrysler Windsor. I haven’t gotten to it yet.”
The Netherlands is a country full of collectors. We used to collect as children mainly pins, stamps, cigarette bands, model cars and comic books, these days you can’t imagine them being collected. A website with all possible collections has been launched: Last Dodo. In addition, there are very large ones, whose house is sometimes too small to fit all the things. This month: Wietze Jonker from Heerenveen. Wietze collects mopeds. And more.
Text and photos: Richard de Jonge