Albert Willems (Eisden, Maasmechelen Belgium)as a child was already a driven pigeon fancier. At first, together with his father, he flew the short and middle distance races. But he quickly became obsessed with the extreme long distance races and had a special fondness for Barcelona.
In 1994 Albert Willems won 1st and 2nd Provincial Barcelona in the Limburg province, Belgium. That was just a taste of what was to come in 1996. That year he won:
- 1st International Barcelona against 20,129 pigeons with the famous "Gerda", band No B94-5315096.
At this time he flew together with a partner, but all of the partnerships pigeons were housed at his home and he was in full control of all the racing and breeding management.
After the dissolution of this partnership the pigeon colony was almost entirely dispersed. A half brother to "Gerda" was kept ("Michel") and has played an important role in the development of today's colony in Eisden. "Michel" B98-5001400 is also is a grandson of "Gerda".
Albert, together with his son Michel, made a new start in 2000. It didn't take long for the successes to return. In 2003 they won the 2nd Provincial Barcelona and the year after again the 1st Provincial Barcelona. Meanwhile "Willy" won 1st semi-National Jarnac for them against 6,856 pigeons.
In 2005 Albert Willems shocked the pigeon sport and had a total sale. But he had the pigeon virus so bad, that in 2006 he again laid the foundation for a new start. Again it was a successful restart. As this time the new partnership of Willems-Wynants (new partner the jeweler Peter Wynants from Oostende) won no less than five Provincial victories from 2008-2012. The highpoint of which was in 2010 when the partners won 5th, 6th and 8th on National Barcelona against 12,641 pigeons. That was not the only top result during the 2008-2012 period. During this period the partners also won:
- 2nd National Pau
- 2nd National Orange
- 5th and 6th National Bordeaux
- 5th National Saint-Vincent etc.
At the end of the 2012 racing season news was percolating, that the collaboration between Albert Willems and Peter Wynants was coming to a friendly end. Hans and Evert Jan Eijerkamp realized that there was an opportunity to propose to Albert and Michel Willems a form of cooperation. It quickly became clear that the proposed cooperation was a win-win for both parties and the partnership of Eijerkamp-Willems was quickly formed. On October 29, 2012 the partnership contract was signed. Without doubt this was a historic day for both parties.