Circus renz

Circus Herman Renz

Circus Herman Renz is the largest circus of the Netherlands. Since 1911 it tours through the Netherlands and sometimes foreign countries.

Establishment of the circus

Arnold van der Vegt decided in the winter of 1911 to start his own circus. The first artist he contracts, is nobody less than his old friend Tom Mix. In 1923 Arnold changes the name of the circus into "Renz". During the Second World war it's difficult to survive for the circus. And because of the circumstances the circus is forced to give shows for the Germans. After the war it all goes much better. But Arnold dies in 1955 and with that his impressive circus career ends.

After the death of Arnold van der Vegt, his son Herman (senior) takes over the circus. But around 1970 he transfers the circus to his sons Paul and Arnold junior (also known as Nol). Paul act as a clown in the shows and Nol becomes the director of the circus. Nol and his wife Marina make the circus very successful. And for many years they travel around with a lot of success. In 1967 their son Herman junior is born. As a little boy Herman always wanted to continue his fathers circus, when he became old enough.


The success of circus Renz reached its peak in 1978. The two largest and most famous child friends of the Netherlands do their entrance in the piste. In 1978, Bassie and Adriaan make several television series with circus Renz as background. In the weekends they make their appearance in the circusshow, with successful clown acts. In this period the shows had always been sold out.

Bassie en Adriaan

In 1980 the Dutch tv-producer Joop van den Ende established circus Bassie & Adriaan. The staff of circus Renz is involved with the whole transport of circus Bassie & Adriaan. Circus Renz itself also travels through the country. At the end of 1983 Joop van den Ende stops with the circus after he tried a show with the Dutch singer André Hazes.

At circus Renz the Steijvers family reinforces the programme, afterwards followed by the Luycx-Sisters in 1983. Herman Junior falls in love with Diana Luycx. They start a relationship.

Nol again came in contact with Bassie and Adriaan in 1985. The cooperation between them was renewed and the success of circus Renz grew hugely. But in 1988 Nol became very ill. His last and largest wish was to travel once more with Bassie and Adriaan and a complete new circus-tent. The new tent was bought, but in January 1989 Nol van der Vegt died because of cancer. Because the new tour was already planned, Bassie and Adriaan decided to finish that tour. After the tour of 1989 the tent and material was sold.

The new circus Renz

In 1990 Herman junior and his girlfriend Diana go for one season to the French circus Achille Zavatta II. But Herman really wants to continue circus Renz with Diana, the families Steijvers and Ronday. Most people declare him for crazy. They think Herman is too young to restart the circus. In September 1990 Diana & Herman Renz break up the contract with the French. On March the 13th 1991 they start with the renewed 'Dutch National Circus Herman Renz'. The first place of the tour is Eemnes. For the young board of directors it is a heavy venture, but thanks to a contract with Center Parcs the adventure develops into a large success.

In five years time Diana & Herman Renz develop the circus into the largest of the Netherlands and later the Benelux. During the period around Christmas the circus always present their famous Wintershow in the Dutch city of Haarlem. In December 1995 Diana & Herman Renz receive the Oscar Carré Trophy. The trophy is hand over by the Swiss circus director Frédy Knie of Circus Knie.

There are massive plans for the year 1996. A new tent has been ordered and there is a new contract with Center Parcs. The tour of 1996 started at February 22 in the Dutch city of Hilversum.

A black period

March 13th 1996. On Centerparc 'Het Vennenbos' in the Dutch city of Hapert it is a busy day. The circus has arrived and the new tent must be built up. Herman & Diana have not shown themselves yet. Manager Robert Ronday decides to take a look at their brand-new trailer. Robert Ronday does a terrible discovery. He finds Herman & Diana both dead. By closer research of TNO (a Dutch company) it is determined that Diana & Herman died because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The shows and the tour are temporarily cancelled. Some days later the circus is relocated to the Dutch city of Haarlem. There the funeral takes place. After the funeral ceremony in the circustent the funeral procession goes to the city of Amsterdam. At cemetery 'Zorgvlied', Diana & Herman are buried at the family tomb.

Swing into action

A week after the burial the mother of Herman announces the she wants to sell the circus for 800.000 Dutch guilders. The largest circus of the Benelux stands to the edge of the abyss.

From several places help is unexpectedly offered. The then nine years old Ronald Blom starts an action which generates a lot of publicity. Ronald is seen among a lot of television shows such as 'The TV-Show of Ivo Niehe', 'Hart van Nederland' and 'Het Jeugdjournaal' (the news for youth). There also accures a story in the local newspaper of Haarlem ('Haarlems Dagblad'). Ronald also collects money (in total 1012 guilders). For his commitment he receives a free ticket for life of the interim executive board.

Also Ed Glas organises actions to save the circus, together with the interim executive board of the circus, Toin Routers (public relations officer of the circus in 2005) and Hans de Jager. A fan club is set up and individuals and a lot of campanies can rent a chair in the circustent to sponsor the circus. At last the actions have result. Princess, a company located in the Dutch city of Breda owned by Aad Ouborg, is perpared to sponsor the circus. Because of that Princess becomes the most important sponsor of circus Herman Renz until 1998. Circus Herman Renz is saved because of all the help and sponsors.

Nowadays the circus is owned by the families Steijvers, Ronday and Olivier. The executive board consists out of five people nowadays.

A royal distinction

On December 22, 2002 circus Herman Renz receives a royal distinction. Burgomaster Jaap Pop (burgomaster of the Dutch city of Haarlem) has the honour to hand over this distinction. With this royal distinction circus Herman Renz is the first Dutch circus which could take this distinction in receive. This royal distinction motivates the employees of circus Herman Renz to preserve the last greatest Dutch circus.

The Haarlem Audience Award

In the months December and January circus Herman Renz presents her famous Wintershow. During this period the visitors of the shows can vote for their favorite artist of the show. The winner receives the 'Haarlemse Publieksprijs' (The Harlem Audience Award).

Extern links

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