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In Memory of Jarig Bakker (1942-2011)

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Jarig Bakker
Jarig Bakker
XIXth ICV York

Jarig Bakker (1942-2011)

  • Born 7 August 1942, died 29 January 2011. He was 68 years old.
  • First editor to hit 10,000 pages (did that in November of 2010)
  • Started with Czech Republic and Slovakia (Slovak Republic) in 1999, added Poland in 2000, Netherlands in 2003, and Germany in 2006. He briefly edited South African flags, until he met Bruce Berry and passed them along to him, thereby giving him opportunity to pick up his homeland, Netherlands.
  • Not only editor, but artist for many of our flags, especially Poland, Czech Republic (which he always called Czechia - a sort of one-man mission to rename the country), and Slovakia.
  • Trawled through endless shipping lines flag charts and books to draw hundreds of the images of house flags from around the world.
  • He still holds the record for doing the most illustrations of flags for FOTW, with an amazing 7832 to his credit.
  • Smoked like a chimney and stubborn as a mule.
  • Cycled to York in 2001 to participate in the International Congress of Vexillology (ICV)
  • Cycled to Malmo, Sweden, where he caught the bus to attend the ICV in Stockholm (2003)
  • Was intending to cycle to the ICV Congress in Berlin (2007), but ended up in hospital with a dickie heart, of all people.
  • Chosen Vexillologist of the Year by FOTW in 2008 for his relentless service to FOTW in providing graphics of municipal flags and his long-standing editorial duties.
  • A proud Frieslander.
  • The photo of Jarig at the XIXth ICV York Conference was taken by Dov Gutterman in the First Hussar Pub on 26 July 2001 during the first FOTW live meeting.

Messages from/for his FOTW Family and Friends:

It is with great sadness that I forward the message below. I was aware that Jarig had gone into hospital for an operation, and I knew the prognosis was not good, but it is still a shock to learn of his passing. Concerning Ruud's second comment, Jarig had sent a substantial update just before he went into hospital, and had all his duties up to date to the end of September. As editor of over 10,000 pages on FOTW, he will be sorely missed.
I don't believe he had much of a family. He was unmarried through the 12+ years I knew him, and never heard him talk of children. He is survived by a sister.
Rob Raeside, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, Canada

Jarig asked me to contact you before he went to hospital to be operated on a cancer in his bowels. I have to report that he did not recover from the operation and after complications Jarig died this morning. We are sad and will miss this very special person.
I don't know how he was involved in your organisation, so I ask you if we have to undertake some actions in that respect? Please let me know what we have to do on this side. We have difficulty entering his computer. I wish you all the best.
Kind regards
Ruud van Wezel, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

He was the most special of friends. We exchanged hundreds of messages back in the old times, when I could take part in the list more actively. He taught me so much about Frysln, Caucasus, Kafirs, Netscape, Tuva singing, wry humour. And we would not fail to discuss the mythical, non-existent Rotuma flag. Something deep inside shall be missing forever without him.
De groetenis, Jarig.
Thanh-Tm L, Essonne, France

Wow! what's the shock! Such a good friend and mentor, gold mine of knowledge and a man of a very peculiar good humor. To add something else: Jarig crisscrossed the African continent in his younger days, got sick to his stomach in Nigeria and didn't get a proper medical attention there. He suspected that some day he will pay dearly for that. It might be the case. How sad to lose such a wonderful friend prematurely. Rest in Peace, Jarig. Tsjosch
Chrystian Kretowicz, Rubidoux, California USA

This is very sad news. We all knew Jarig for his insight and huge image production. (He and I collaborated on Dutch inland navigation flags for some time which really represents only a tiny fraction of his work.) To us, and vexillology in general, his death is loss indeed.
Jan Mertens, Edegem, Belgium

I was no close friend of Jarigs. I found him someone who wouldn't accept the message until he trusted the messenger, who wanted things to remain as they were unless he could be sure of improvement, who'd prefer handling a problem himself over leaving it to someone more versed in the matter.
In other words, though he lived in Amsterdam, he was still typically Frisian. He often irritated me no end, and we seldom agreed, but still I could usually understand his way of thinking. It was, curious as it may seem, not all that different to the many rows between my brother and me, which ended when we got to know each other better as grown-ups. I was hoping, when I met Jarig in person, something similar would happen between us as well. That's now not going to happen the way I hoped it would.
Yes, I knew he was in hospital, but he'd let on that it was nothing to worry about. So even though the hiatus grew alarmingly long, I refrained from letting the list know, as I understood that to be how he wanted it. Well, I guess you might count that as me cooperating with him, in the end. Sure, he leaves a gap in the editorial team, but we'll miss him more for the wide range of topics that had his interest.
Tomorrow I hope to sing at the lustrum of the local folk music session I frequent. I was still wondering what to sing; I guess that's now going to be the Frisian version of "Caledonia." Translating that title would yield "Frisia," but Jarig would have abhorred that, so it's well the Frisian title is "Fries om Utens" (Frisian Abroad).
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, Sneek, Friesland, The Netherlands

This is a sad news indeed. I met Jarig on FOTW long before I had chance to meet him in person, but when that finally happened we were old friends though FOTW already. The meeting happened in York on the Congress there in 2001. The apparent age difference was of no consequence. I remember Jarig was speaking slowly as if weighting every word carefully before it came out of his mouth, speaking in a deep and guttural voice. After I have heard him speaking I have always imagined such would be the voice Gandalf would have...
I had chance to meet him on several other occasions afterwards, on Congresses in Stockholm 2003 and others, but also had the pleasure of meeting him in the Netherlands in 2006 when I was visiting Shipmate factory in Vlaardingen near Rotterdama, where Jarig came to meet us, cycling all the way from Amsterdam.
I am going to miss him deeply, both on the FOTW and on the future Congresses.
Željko Heimer, Zagreb, Croatia

In many respects I feel very much like Zejko, as I also met Jarig for the first time at the York ICV in 2001. There were a few others of the FOTW guys as well and it was great to meet them all in person. I am very glad that I have met Jarig and the others there, as this again taught me how necessary and important a personal encounter is.
Certainly we did not share the same opinion all the time, but over a beer or two it is easier to understand the other's point of view. It is really sad to hear that "he has lowered the flag forever," so to say. We will miss him as one of the colourful persons that life in vexillology makes spicy!
Marcus Schmger, Munich, Germany

No more answers to all our questions
No more remarkable stories
No more warm friendship
Jarig we miss you

Bert Stok, Marjolein van Dijk, Sarah van Walsum, Ruud van Wezel, Janneke Schipper, Frans Evers, Henry van der Meer, and Frans Evers, Amsterdam

Shocking and sad news indeed! Rest in peace, Jarig!
Vanja Poposki, Skopje, Macedonia

This is very sad news. We all knew Jarig for his insight and huge image production. (He and I collaborated on Dutch inland flags for some time which really represents only a tiny fraction of his work.) To us, and vexillology in general, his death is loss indeed.
Then let us honor him by flying our own flags at half-staff.
Dean Thomas, Australia

I'm very upset to hear this. I was vaguely aware that his health had been giving him trouble, but I had no idea it was so bad, and this has come as a big shock. Jarig was a key piece of the jigsaw that is FOTW - sometimes contentious, but frequently informative, and always interesting, and an important member of the editorial team. He will be missed.
If anyone out there is in contact with any of Jarig's family, please pass on any condolences (not only for me, but - I am sure - from everyone on this list).
James Dignan, Dunedin, New Zealand

This is indeed sad news of the passing of Jarig Bakker. His FOTW on-line presence and attendance at a number of recent ICV's will be felt by us all. I should like to express on behalf of myself and the membership of Flags Australia, our deep appreciation of his many years of vexillological activities, especially when it came to improving the content of FOTW's pages and the resulting increased vexillological knowledge between us all.
Sincere condolences,
Ralph Bartlett, President, Flags Australia

I didn't know Jarig in the real world, only through this list and some off list correspondence, but a year or so ago, I did manage to get a card through to him in Amsterdam during a previous stay in hospital, following a posting on this list, which he was most surprised to receive. As has been stated much better than I could do by other friends and colleagues, his contribution to this project and to the study of flags in general was clearly very significant and he will be missed.
I was very sad to hear this news. May God rest his soul.
Colin Dobson, Oxford, United Kingdom

I also would like to add my condolences to Jarig's family.
Christopher Southworth, Lancashire, England

What disheartening news. Jarig will be sorely missed. We have lost a true gentleman, and a fine scholar.
Ned Smith, Saint James, New York, USA

What a great loss! I met Jarig in York in 2001 (ICV 19) and he was a great friend and a great flag lover.
Rest in peace
Jose C. Alegria, Gijn, Asturias. Spain

That is a big shock and a big lost for FOTW.
J. Patrick Fischer, Free State of Bavaria, Germany, European Union

Unfortunately I never met Jarig in persona. But I always have admired his assiduity and the power, when he was wiping away the backlogs of years, also his courage to maintain about 10,000 pages. Furthermore he was one of those gentlemen, encouraging me, to contribute some of my paintings. His encouragement and his credit in me was indeed a great help in times, I had to overcome many hardships. I feel deep compassion with his family. And of course his passing is a great loss for FOTW.
Thanks Jarig!
Klaus-Michael Schneider, Hamburg, Germany

I just received the sad news about Jarig Bakker's passing. My sincere best wishes to his family and friends, and know his passing puts a huge hole in his FOTW family, one that will be hard to fill. As a new editor I was always in awe in the number of pages he edited and the knowledge he displayed. He was amazing and will be missed.
Pete Loeser, Laytonville, California USA

I was deeply saddened to learn of Jarig's death. We (together with Mark Sensen) initially met at a cafe in Amsterdam when FOTW was in its infancy and immediately fell into a long discussion about vexillology, the impact of the internet and such like ... and then after the York ICV I took over from him as editor for the Southern and East Africa pages. As a one time deserving recipient of the "Vexillologist of the Year" award, he contributed much to FOTW and vexillology in general.
Rest in Peace
Bruce Berry, Johannesburg, South Africa

I was saddened to hear of Jarig's passing. I too was at that great first face-to-face in York in 2001 and met him (as well as many others) there.
Dave Martucci, Washington, Maine, USA

I only had intermittent contact with Jarig, mostly occasional back-and-forth requests to correct some matter in the drawing or editing of various house-flags. He always responded quickly, and always did so in a most friendly and approachable manner. Completely setting aside the huge editing load he carried, the FOTW community will be diminished by his absence.
Eugene Ipavec, Tustin, Southern California USA

I am very sad to hear of Jarig's passing, especially since he was one of the few who shared memories of WW2 (both vexillological and political) with me.
Norm Martin, Texas, USA

Jarig joined FOTW a few months after me, and from the start we found ourselves passing posts with jokes, football comments, and other non flag related issues. We met in person at York. Due to his modest means he resided at the local youth hostel and had to check out every morning, so he kept his stuff in my hotel room during the days. We spent many hours together (usually also with Željko) and had a long talks. We planned to meet again, but somehow it never materialized. I will miss him.
Dov Gutterman, Haifa, Israel

I was shocked to learn of Jarig's passing recently. Though I did not know him personally, he was a gentleman and a scholar, and he will be missed. Please add my words to those who have commented previously.
Steve Kramer, Listmaster Emeritus

I am very sad to learn of the death of Jarig Bakker. I met him during the York International Vexillological Congress, he was a very friendly man. We have exchanged news before and after the Congress. I have esteemed for years his work through FOTW. I present his family my deep condolences.
Michel Lupant, FIAV President, Ottignies, Belgium

A truly sad day. My condolences to those who knew him better. He will be missed.
Dr. Robert Czernkowski, Sydney, Austrialia

Another of our long time members and friends has passed away; a major loss for flags and the FOTW community. I met Jarig in Stockholm for ICV 20 and I'll always recall our passionate flags talks in the hotel lobby with some other FOTW members.
Pascal Gross, Grandvillard, Switzerland

in memoriam ce 2011  Image recoloured by Mark Sensen

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