Circus Herman Renz

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This article is about the Dutch circus company. For the German circus company, see Circus Renz.
2004 - Circus Herman Renz

Circus Herman Renz is the largest circus in the Netherlands, and has been touring the Netherlands and other countries since 1911.

Establishment of the circus[edit]

Arnold van der Vegt decided in the winter of 1911 to start his own circus. The first artist he contracted was his friend Tom Mix. In 1923 Arnold changed the name of the circus to "Renz". During the Second World war it was difficult for the circus to survive, and because of the circumstances it was forced to give shows for the Germans. After the war, things improved dramatically. Arnold died in 1955.

After the death of Arnold van der Vegt, his son Herman Sr. took over management of the circus. In 1970 he transferred the running of the circus to his sons, Paul and Arnold Jr. (also known as Nol). Paul acted as a clown in the shows and Arnold Jr. became the director.

Arnold Jr. and his wife Marina made the circus very successful. For many years they traveled around with great success. In 1967 their son Herman Jr. was born. As a child, Herman's ambition was to continue his fathers circus business.


The success of circus Renz reached its peak in 1978. In 1978, Bassie and Adriaan made several television series with Circus Renz as the backdrop. In the weekends, they made their appearance in the circus with successful clown performances. During this period the shows were regularly sold out.

Bassie and Adriaan[edit]

In 1980 the Dutch TV-producer Joop van den Ende established Circus Bassie & Adriaan. The staff of Circus Renz was involved with the entire transport of Circus Bassie & Adriaan. Circus Renz itself travelled throughout the country. At the end of 1983 Joop van den Ende stopped with the circus after he tried a show with the Dutch singer André Hazes.

At Circus Renz the Steijvers family reinforced the program, followed by the Luycx-Sisters in 1983. Herman Jr. fell in love with Diana Luycx and they started a relationship.

Arnold Jr. again came in contact with Bassie and Adriaan in 1985. The cooperation between them was renewed and the success of circus Renz grew yet again. But, in 1988, Arnold Jr. 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 Arnold van der Vegt Jr. died of cancer. Because the new tour was already planned, Bassie and Adriaan decided to finish the tour after which, in 1989, the tent and material was sold.

The new circus Renz[edit]

1991 - Circus Herman Renz

In 1990 Herman Jr., and his girlfriend Diana, perform for one season with the French circus Achille Zavatta II. Despite this, Herman wanted to continue the Circus Renz with Diana, and the families of Steijvers and Ronday.

In September 1990 Diana & Herman Renz broke the contract with the Circus Achille Zavatta II. On March the 13th 1991 they open 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 it developed into a large success.

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

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

A black period[edit]

Family tomb Diana & Herman Renz

March 13, 1996. On Centerparc 'Het Vennenbos', the circus had arrived in the Dutch city of Hapert. Herman & Diana had not shown themselves that day. Manager Robert Ronday, looking for them at their, finds Herman & Diana dead. It was later determined that Diana & Herman died because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

The shows and the tour were temporarily cancelled. Some days later, the Circus is relocated to the Dutch city of Haarlem, where the funeral is to take place.

After the funeral ceremony, the funeral proceeds to Amsterdam, where Diana & Herman are buried at the family tomb at the cemetery 'Zorgvlied',

Swing into action[edit]

1996 - Ronald Blom at the 'TV-Show of Ivo Niehe'

A week after the burial the Herman's mother announces that 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 is even a story in the local newspaper of Haarlem ('Haarlems Dagblad'). Ronald also collects money (in total 1,012 guilders). For his commitment he receives a free ticket for life of the interim executive board.

Also, Ed Glas organised 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 was set up, and individuals and companies can rent a chair in the Circus as sponsors.

Princess Household Appliances, a company located in the Dutch city of Breda owned by Aad Ouborg, is sponsors the circus. Because of that, Princess becomes the most important sponsor of circus Herman Renz until 1998. Nowadays, the circus is owned by the families Steijvers, Ronday and Olivier. The executive board consists of five people.

A royal distinction[edit]

On December 22, 2002 circus Herman Renz received royal recognition. Mayor Jaap Pop (mayor of the Dutch city of Haarlem) had the honour of presenting the award. Circus Herman Renz was the first Dutch circus to receive this award, which motivated the employees of Circus Herman Renz to preserve the last great Dutch circus.

The Haarlem Audience Award[edit]

During December and January, Circus Herman Renz presented its famous 'Wintershow'. During this period, visitors voted for their favorite artists. The winner received the 'Haarlemse Publieksprijs' (The Harlem Audience Award).

External links[edit]