Nearly a hundred years …

Our centenary is approaching. In 2018 Bouten & Son in Venlo will be a hundred years old. A great achievement! The fourth generation will be in charge then. And that is, as statistics teach us, even very exceptional. A remarkable company history with four leading persons.

Leo Bouten Sr.:
In the early 20th century Leo Bouten is a saddler and, in his leisure hours, a passionate hunter. His great hobby is taxidermy. He takes animals that he has shot himself and, soon, also animals that have been sent by missionaries from exotic places to be exhibited in the Mission Museum in the village of Steyl. In 1918 Leo realizes that taxidermy is more profitable than saddlery. He decides to turn his hobby into his profession and sets to work. German taxidermists teach him the tricks of the trade. Then the Second World War comes nearer and nearer… Leo is called up for military service. His brother Frans tries to keep business going…
Leo Bouten
Jac Bouten Jac Bouten:
After World War II Leo takes up the thread, now assisted by his son Jac. Jac, who takes over from him in 1948, then develops the firm into a taxidermy and trading company. For the American company of Jonas Brothers he is going to “do” Europe. Business prospers, until dark clouds gather over the branch. Protests against hunting and the use of animal skins are growing more and more vehement. They influence the Dutch government, which tightens legislation. Jac realizes that disaster can only be averted when taxidermists join forces. Especially by his efforts the NVP – Nederlandse Vereniging van Preparateurs – (Dutch Union of Taxidermists) is founded. By drawing attention again and again to prejudices they manage to overcome most of the trouble and to secure the future of their line of business.
Leon Bouten:
In 1988 Leon succeeds his father. He, too is vey active in the Union sphere. In addition he extends the activities of the Venlo family firm. He starts dealing in what were then called “Precision Mannikins”and now McKenzie Taxidermy: The synthetic prefab moulds that make the traditonal “skeleton” of wire and filling material (woodwool etc) in taxidermy superfluous. Bouten & Son start to make these moulds themselves and to present them -worldwide- to fellow taxidermists. Whereas in former times mainly museums turned to the taxidermy skills of the Bouten Workshop, they are now joined more and more by private persons. Especially big game hunters find their way to the, by now generally known, Venlo company. They can show off their trophies, prepared by Bouten.
Leon Bouten
Maurice Bouten

Maurice Bouten:

The fourth generation is being prepared to take over. Maurice has worked in the workshop since 1991 already. He has learned the profession from his father. In addition he has gathered experience with Perr Lynn, a talented young Norwegian taxidermist. Obviously Maurice is a natural talent. In national and international professional contest he stands excellent chances. Among other things Maurice was Dutch title holder, European title holder and number two in the world. For the time being he will not take part in any contests. Time is short, owing to the large amount of work.

 

Bouten Workshop is still doing well after nearly a hundred years. Yes, better than that: Perhaps even better than ever. That is why the premises on the industrial estate De Veegtes will soon be completely modernized. Technical appliances have been improved. What has remained unchanged is love for the profession, ánd love for living nature. Maurice and Leon Bouten, and the members of their team, are the genuine followers of Jac P. Thijsse.

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