Musician, Author, Composer, Singer and Entertainer, Founder and driving force behind Bobbejaanland


Bobbejaan Modest Hyppoliet Joanna Schoepen (Boom, May 16, 1925 - Turnhout, May 17, 2010) was a Flemish singer, guitar player and visionary. He was a former actor and whistler, as well as founder and former manager of the amusement park Bobbejaanland. Coming from a working class background, he worked his way up to being a successful entrepreneur.

His youngest son Tom Schoepen wrote Bobbejaan’s biography, summarising his father’s life and work below.

Bobbejaan Schoepen was a pioneer in Belgium’s music history [2] [3]: in 1948 has was the first Belgian singer to make an international breakthrough. He was also the first to use modern equipment, his own tour bus and an artist sponsoring system. From the 1940s and ‘50s onwards, he also introduced country productions in the low countries, France, Germany and Austria.  [2] [4] Furthermore, he is internationally known for his virtuosic whistling talent, a gift he lost due to a surgical procedure.[5]

He manifested himself as a folk singer with a broad musical style, and as a kind of entertainer-visionary for whom self-irony was a trademark. On a musical level, he flourished from the late 1940s to the mid-1960s. His repertoire of 495 songs sold five million albums: from cabaret, torch songs, cinematic instrumental songs and chansons to downright crazy folk music.[6] His biggest international successes include the torch song "Ik heb eerbied voor jouw grijze haren", the parody "Café zonder bier" and "Je me suis souvent demandé"[7] , a chanson which was a hit for Richard Anthony in France and South America. It earned Schoepen an artistic award in Paris in 1965.[8]     

From the 1970s onwards he purely focused on Bobbejaanland, which was created in 1961; as a result, the importance of his musical career took a backseat. In 43 years’ time, it grew into one of the more well-known parks of Europa, run by him and his family.[9]    

When Bobbejaan suffered from colon cancer, he and his wife and children decided to sell the park in 2004.[10] After the sale, he focused on his musical career again. In 2007 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Belgium for being a pioneer in Belgium’s music history.[11] In 2008 he was inducted in the American Whistlers Hall of Fame.[12] At the insistence of King Albert II, Bobbejaan Schoepen was awarded the rank of Officer in the Crown Order on July 6, 2009, which is bestowed to Belgians with significant artistic, literary or scientific merits. [9]    

On May 18, 1961 Bobbejaan Schoepen married former opera singer and model Josephina (Josee) Jongen (1931-2013). They had five children: Robert ("Bob jr.", 1962), Myriam (1963), Jack (1964), Peggy (1968) and Tom (1970).


Early musical period

Modest Schoepen grew up in a smithy in Boom. In the late 1930s he and his half-sister Liesje did folk variety in the surrounding villages, after which they passed the hat around. He did his first audition in 1944, for Brussels radio. In 1943 he received advanced education from guitar player Frans De Groodt (1892-1990). In the same year he debuted with a memorable performance in the Antwerp Ancienne Belgique. In a jam-packed hall he sang the South African song "Mamma,'k wil 'n man hê". The song was considered anti-German because of the phrase 'Nee mamma, nee, 'n Duitseman, die wil ek nie. Want Schweinefleisch dat lus ek nie.' As a result, he was taken away by some Nazis. Shortly afterwards, he was requisitioned to go work in Germany. As an alternative, he chose to sing for the Flemish labourers who were forced to work. In October 1944 he was imprisoned for three months in the Dossin barracks in Mechelen, without a trial or investigation. [6] [10]  [13]

In 1945 he formed the duo "Two Boys and Two Guitars" with his fellow villager Kees Brug. From Calais to Amsterdam, they performed impersonations, poetry, South African songs and country music, all with plenty of room for improvisation and adventure. The name Bobbejaan comes from the South African song "Bobbejaan klim die berg". From 1945 onwards, it was his stage name. [6]

In 1947 Paul Vandessel[22] introduced him to the Jewish manager Jacques Kluger of World Music Company, a well-reputed man who was looking for home-grown talent. Kluger asked him to entertain the US and Canadian troops during the Nuremberg trials,  in Frankfurt am Main and Berlin. When a delighted Kluger suddenly received a flattering telegram from Major Mearker, Schoepen was hired for a months-long tour of Germany. In Berlin, which was still partially razed, his floorshows were also attended by US general and military governor Lucius D. Clay, who asked him to perform two extra shows. These tours would further stimulate his country music aspirations. [10]

In the meantime, Schoepen also did stand-alone shows in his own country. Although he initially did not sing in Dutch, Kluger convinced him to record a Flemish album'. [10]

This led to the first recordings and "De Jodelende Fluiter" became Schoepen’s first hit (1948). In the same year he also had his breakthrough in the Netherlands. He was often asked as a guest star, for instance with the well-known radio show "De Bonte Dinsdagavondtrein", hosted by Frans Muriloff who saw in him the perfect man to work for Dutch Welfare. In 1949 he went on a tour for the Dutch armed forces in Indonesia. In between battles he did 127 shows in a period of 3 months. Because he also performed for remote troops, the Dutch government awarded him a decoration for valour and self-sacrifice. Only five days after he got home, he started a 220-day tour in Belgium. With nostalgic songs like the evergreen "De lichtjes van de Schelde" (1952), Bobbejaan Schoepen soon became one of the most popular artists in Flanders. [13]


Schoepen toured some twenty-odd countries, together with Josephine Baker, Caterina Valente, Gilbert Bécaud and Toots Thielemans (who played the guitar in his band in 1951) among others. He is presumably the first non-English-speaking European who performed in the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, one of the main country music centres in the US. In 1953 he performed there with country star Roy Acuff (1903-1992). He also played a concert with country singer Red Foley (1910-1968) in Springfield, Missouri. US country singer Tex Williams, founder of Western Swing, would later release a cover of his "Fire and Blisters" in the US (1974). [4] [6] [10]

In 1954 he went on a three-month European tour through Germany, Iceland and Denmark, which was traditionally concluded with several months of shows in the Folies Bergère in Brussels. In Denmark and Iceland Syd Fox was his manager. In January 1955 Jacques Brel was not quite successful yet; to change this, he was included in a week-long double bill with Bobbejaan Schoepen in the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels. By then, Bobbejaan was already an international star in his own country, on both sides of the language boundary. The NIR (now the VRT) proclaimed him the best Flemish singer, awarding him the Grote Prijs van de Vlaamse Grammofoonplaat. [10] [14]

In the fall of that year Bobbejaan took his show on a one-month tour through Germany and a one-and-a-half-month tour through Congo.

Pivotal moment

1956 is also the year in which Bobbejaan met the love of his life. Josephina ‘Josee’ Jongen studied classical singing at the Brussels Conservatory; she was also a model and worked in the Folies Bergère in Brussels, where she announced Bobbejaan Schoepen’s shows, among other things. They met each other there and the seed was planted for their relationship. In 1959 Josee won first prize at the Brussels Conservatory for her interpretation of Bach.

In 1957 Bobbejaan went to New York again. He recorded albums with Steve Sholes, the well-reputed manager of RCA Records. Sholes offered him a contract to visit all radio stations in the US for three months under the name of "Bobby John". This tour was intended to promote recent releases and in the meantime write new songs without ceasing. But Schoepen, who had been touring constantly for more than ten years and had contractual obligations in Europe, was looking for a place to settle down (the later Bobbejaanland). He decided not to continue the recipe for success across the ocean. Him meeting his future spouse may have also played a role in that decision. [6] [10]

On March 3, 1957 he represented Belgium in the second Eurovision Song Contest at the last moment. His manager Jacques Kluger rushed him from the US to Germany for this event and he had several days’ time to study three eligible songs. The (overly) slightly poetical "Straatdeuntje" was chosen. Of the ten contestants, Belgium finished in a shared eighth place with Switzerland.[6] [10]  This disappointing result did not have any negative effect on his career; both domestically and abroad his music got even more attention. In the same month, on March 27, 1957, Bobby Jaan appeared in prime time on BBC television in the “Show Band Parade” next to The Beverly Sisters, among others. This show was presented by Cyrill Stapleton and gave well-known and promising new artists the opportunity to perform their music live with their band.[23]

In 1958 Kluger ensured that Schoepen featured in the "Royal Variety Show", an annual event for the Queen Mum (Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon) of Great Britain. Via his local manager Jack Heath he heard the song "A pub with No Beer" by Slim Dusty; Bobbejaan decided to make a Dutch, German and English cover. In 1960 "Ich steh an der Bar und ich habe kein Geld" stayed in the German charts for thirty weeks; in Austria the song was a number one hit. The Flemish version "Café zonder bier" dates from 1959 and topped the charts that year. The song later became an evergreen. [6][15]

His German versions of "Hutje op de heide" and "Kili watch" (originally by The Cousins) also did pretty well (for instance, they featured in the German movie "Davon träumen alle Mädchen", 1961). Schoepen often went on a tour in Germany and Austria, for instance in 1955 with Caterina Valente and Dalida, bringing in new contracts. During the Berlin film festival in 1961 he was one of the musical top acts, where he made the Deutschlandhalle go wild with his crazy whistling acts. [16] In the 1960s Gert Timmerman, Camillo Felgen, Heino and James Last among others would turn the evergreen "Ik heb eerbied voor jouw grijze haren" ("Ich hab Ehrfurcht vor schneeweissen Haaren") into a major European hit. So far, more than three million copies have been sold. In 1961 Caterina Valente also released "Schaduw van de mijn" in Italy, under the title "Amici miei" and in 1965 Richard Anthony sang the French and Spanish version of "Ik heb me dikwijls afgevraagd" into the international charts.

In 1967 ZDF, the German television station, decided to make a tv musical starring Bobbejaan Schoepen, in which he performed his hits. The movie was partially recorded in the Barrandov movie studios in Prague, in the Kempen and in Bobbejaanland – still without rides at that time. [17]

Tours with a circus tent: 1958-1961

1958 is the year in which Bobbejaan Schoepen bought a large circus tent to tour more efficiently in his own country. This made him independent from venue owners who were asking increasingly higher rents and who did not always have the appropriate room for his show. He purchased the two-masted circus tent from the Tondeur circus family, who had some difficulty keeping its shows profitable. Schoepen was given organisational freedom and made the circus thrive again. On the preceding days he did his own promotion at the venues, in his own peculiar way: "During a cavalcade I even walked into a bar with my horse, where I bought my large four-legged friend a bucket of beer." [18]

On the occasion of the world fair Expo 58 an American stunt team came to Brussels, a private company led by rodeo champion Casey Tibbs. Because his rodeo show was located too far from Expo 58, not enough people found their way to his shows. Furthermore, his tent ruptured during a storm, forcing him to stop his shows; as a result, his company went bankrupt. The team could no longer support its fifty-odd horses and therefore returned to the US. Tibbs was forced to sell a part of his equipment; among other things, he sold Midnight, the horse starring in the eponymous TV show Zorro to Bobbejaan Schoepen. He used the horse for stunts in his shows for a while and as an attraction during the cavalcades, but the animal stepped on an exposed power line and died. [19]

In 1959  Schoepen started using a new circus tent, seating 900 to max. 1,200 spectators. The idea of using a circus tent for concert tours was quite unique at that time. These tours stopped as soon as Bobbejaanland opened its doors in 1961. 



Bobbejaan did not shy away from experiments: between 1950 and 1967 he starred in five movies: two Belgian, two German and one German-Czech. In 1962 he had the lead role in the absurdist movie "At the Drop of a Head" ("De Ordonnans" or "Café zonder bier"), with Ann Petersen, Yvonne Lex, Denise De Weerdt, Nand Buyl and Tony Bell, among others. A Dutch- and English-speaking version of the movie was simultaneously shot on set. Schoepen was unhappy about this movie adventure: "The filming was chaotic and two directors were fired. Jef Bruyninckx (a.k.a. De Witte) was told to solve it". [18] In 1999 the Belgian cult rock band Dead Man Ray toured with the movie through Belgium and the Netherlands. For Daan Stuyven (Daan) and Rudy Trouvé (ex-dEUS) the tour was also an ode to the (sometimes unsung) artistic versality that typifies the artist Schoepen: "A professional who succeeded in turning his jazzy country guitar skills, his deep angelic voice and crazy down-to-earth humour into a trademark and later into an amusement park ". [20]


Bobbejaanland (variety period)

It was never Bobbejaan Schoepen’s intention to build an amusement park; the current theme park is the result of his musical career. After almost fifteen years of constant touring, he was looking to settle down. In 1959 he bought a 30-hectare marshy estate in Lichtaart-Kasterlee, called Abroek, where he built a 1,200-seat theatre and a 2.2-kilometre-long beach. This became Bobbejaanland. His manager Jacques Kluger came up with the name. [13][18]

On December 31, 1961 Bobbejaanland was officially opened by Bobbejaan Schoepen and his wife Josee, who jointly developed the park into a life’s work. In the high season Schoepen himself performed two to five shows every day. In the meantime, other Belgian, Dutch and German variety artists performed there, as part of Schoepen’s show or otherwise. The most well-known names are Louis Neefs, Rocco Granata, Staf Wesenbeek (father of Lynn), Leo Martin, Will Ferdy, Jan Theys, Will Tura, Staf Permentier and Liliane Saint-Pierre (who decided to make a comeback in music as a result thereof). Another guest came from abroad: Jimmy Ross a.k.a. Mel Turner, who had a number 1 hit in England in 1981 with "First True Love Affair". Ross (originally from Trinidad) lived in the park for a long time; around 1970 he recorded several albums with Schoepen under the Bobbejaan Records label. From Germany we mainly remember actress and singer Ilse Werner and her well-known compatriots Rex Gildo and Michael Holm. Dutch showmaster Rudi Carrell, who became a famous TV personality in Germany, was Bobbejaan’s neighbour for several years.

The most well-known orchestras were led by Lou Logist, Roger Eggermont, Bobby Setter, Lou Roman and Claude Rabitsky.


Nudie Cars

In the sixties and seventies Bobbejaan and his wife Josee regularly visited the United States where they maintained good contacts with cult fashion designer Nudie Cohn, actor Roy Rogers and Western Swing pioneer Tex Williams, who released Bobbejaan’s song "Fire and Blisters" in the US in 1974. The foursome occasionally performed in local clubs in Los Angeles. [21]

Nudie Cohn and his son-in-law Manuel Cuevas designed the costumes for the cover of Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band by The Beatles, the black suits of Johnny Cash and the artist clothing of Elvis Presley and Gram Parsons. They also made the show costumes of Bobbejaan and Josee Schoepen. From Cohn the Schoepens also bought two of the legendary white US Pontiac Bonneville limousines he had decorated with authentic silver dollars, bullets, hand-made decorative rifles and a bull’s horn on the hood. Bobbejaan’s cars were made in 1963 and 1964. Cohn decorated eighteen cars in total between 1950 and 1975. Schoepen turned them into his trademark from the glamorous 1970s onwards. Nowadays, these cars are still the biggest crowd pullers of all the attractions he once had.


Since 1975 the estate evolved into a theme park, as a result of which Schoepen’s musical career slowly took a backseat. In the mid-1980s the shows became more concise and geared to an increasingly international audience. By that time, the theme park dominates the variety aspect, the businessman and artist. Nevertheless, he continued singing, while the shortened shows inevitably fell prey to the routine of the theme park. The artist becomes a rarity. "Eventually, there was nothing artistic anymore about my shows. Five minutes before I had to begin, my wife telephoned me: ''Two buses of Germans, a bus of Danes and three buses of Spaniards." And I changed my show accordingly. In Bobbejaanland there was no room for sentiment. It was all about work, to keep the business profitable. Sixteen hours per day, seven days a week. We had a workforce of four hundred people who needed to be paid every month." [4]

Twists and turns

Bobbejaan Schoepen’s life was far from smooth: during the war he ended up in prison twice, he lost his virtuosic whistling skills due to a surgical procedure, and he had major heart surgery in 1986. He was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1999, which fuelled the idea to sell his life’s work. However, not stopping meant moving forward and in the winter of 2003 the Schoepen family invested a massive amount of almost 12 million euros in Bobbejaanland for two world premier rides: Typhoon and Sledge Hammer. In the same year consumer magazine Test Aankoop conducted a comparative survey of 13 European parks. In almost every respect, Bobbejaanland was the most appreciated park in Belgium; on a European level, it finished second, together with Disneyland and Parc Astérix.[25]    

Nevertheless, in April 2004 it was decided to sell the park, after a preparatory phase of over three years. At that time, Bobbejaanland had a workforce of 400 and was acquired by Parques Reunidos, a Spanish-American amusement park group. Despite all speculations, it remained uncertain until the last minute whether the founder would sign. Eventually, the decisive factor was uncertainty about the future of amusement parks. The Schoepen family decided it was better to be safe than sorry, a decision that seemed to be most evident for its founder. When the current events programme Terzake asked him after the sale if he chose to cash in, Schoepen replied, staring in front of him: "What good is all that money, I can only eat two times a day." [26]

We can consider Bobbejaan Schoepen as the park’s artistic and business-minded attraction, and his wife Josee, the oldest of eighteen children, as the business backbone and her sister Louisa 'Wies' (1932) as the solid foundation for accounting and finances. The key to the family business’ success was the bond of trust within this triumvirate and their work ethic, which was strengthened by three of their five children from the 1990s onwards. With the sale, the last family business in the amusement park industry in Belgium vanished. Bobbejaan Schoepen and his wife did continue living at the estate until their death.

Musical comeback

In 2005 Bobbejaan Schoepen unexpectedly did four short shows at the literary festival Saint-Amour, where he drew attention again to his evergreen "De lichtjes van de Schelde". Dating from 1952, the song has been covered numerous times since then, for instance by Louis Neefs, Hans De Booij, Wannes Van de Velde and by Will Tura. In November 2006 the song was officially immortalised in the Radio 2 show  Eregalerij (Hall of Fame) by Bobbejaan’s admirer DAAN. In the same month, his son Tom Schoepen and his parents revived Bobbejaan Records. The record label had been founded already in 1966 but died a quiet death due to Bobbejaanland’s success.

Amid massive media attention Bobbejaan Schoepen received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Ancienne Belgique in Brussels on February 13, 2007 for his successful career as a singer-musician and for being a pioneer in Belgium’s music history.

On May 19, 2008 PIAS, in cooperation with Bobbejaan Records, released the album "BOBBEJAAN" in Belgium, with as guest vocals Geike Arnaert (ex-Hooverphonic), Axelle Red, Nathalie Delcroix (Laïs) and Daan Stuyven who also designed the cover.

The idea for this project was conceived by music producer Firmin Michiels when the cult band Dead Man Ray went on a tour in 1999 with the Bobbejaan movie "At the Drop of a Head". But the plan was shelved when Schoepen was diagnosed with cancer. In 2005 Michiels (A&R) and producer Tom Schoepen did start Bobbejaan’s voice recordings. Michiels’ decision to first arrange a performance at the literary festival Saint-Amour for Schoepen was a first step. Michiels understood that you can’t just give Bobbejaan Schoepen back to the general public: his peak period was too far away and the amusement park had caused too much collateral damage to the artist. But his credibility was slowly returning. The album was recorded in Bobbejaan’s living room, while he regularly had to deal with health issues during the recording sessions. Tom Schoepen has fond memories of those magical moments with his feather. "When dad felt well, we recorded songs. Naturally, those moments became scarcer."

In May 2008 (following the amusement park period of about 35 years) a new CD was released. The release immediately received wide media coverage, for instance by the Flemish TV news and the current events programme Terzake. Journalist Phara de Aguirre exclusively interviewed the artist in his home studio.[27] The album was critically acclaimed by the Belgian music press. The media paid a remarkable amount of attention to "Le temps des cerises", his duet with Geike Arnaert [28] and the final track of the album "Verankerd" [29], in which the artist sings about his fight against cancer and getting older: Als je oud bent / Als je ziek bent / Geen toekomst meer, je bent verankerd / Te dragen, te verwerken / Geen leven meer, uitgekankerd. [30][31]

In July 2008 Bobbejaan, as the first European, was inducted by the American International Whistlers Convention in the Whistlers Hall of Fame, an international hall of fame for whistlers. [35][36]

On October 2, 2009 Schoepen became the first honorary citizen of his hometown Boom. And at the insistence of King Albert II, Bobbejaan Schoepen was awarded the rank of Officer in the Crown Order on July 6, 2009, which is bestowed to Belgians with significant artistic, literary or scientific merits.[9]

Late December 2009 "The World of Bobbejaan - Songbook" was released, a triple CD with 76 songs that were recorded between 1948 and 2008. The trilogy took five years of preparation and was released in the Benelux by Bobbejaan Records as the artist’s only official, family-confirmed retrospective. [37]

On May 16, 2010 Bobbejaan Schoepen turned 85; one day later he died unexpectedly.

The legacy continues

On May 17, 2011 “Bobbejaan”, his official biography was published. A book written by Tom Schoepen and styled by art photographer Stephan Vanfleteren.

On September 13, 2013 Josee Schoepen died. 

Every year Bobbejaan’s and Josee Schoepen’s children organise a Bobbejaan Memorial to commemorate their parents. In 2018 there was a huge popular feast in the Lichtaart town square. Recordings and footage of the party can be found in the Bobbejaan Memorial Box

The Schoepen children have inventoried and digitised the Bobbejaan archives. Out of respect for their parents they also set up a private museum in Herentals with the record collection, show costumes and other valuable possessions and memorabilia of their parents. It houses the American Indian art collection of Josee Schoepen, as well as original objects from Bobbejaanland and even the living room and recording studio from Bobbejaanland have been recreated there.[24] 

To commemorate his father with a full-fledged final Bobbejaan album, Tom Schoepen travelled to Memphis in 2014 with Firmin Michiels. Together with soul musicians from Memphis they recorded music of twelve Bobbejaan songs, including “They Killed a King”. Bobbejaan Schoepen and his musical partner Mel Turner (Jimmy Ross) wrote and composed the song in April-May 1968 as a reaction to Martin Luther King’s assassination. The song was released as a single in the period the businessman started dominating the musician. 

Because the song had barely reached an audience outside Bobbejaanland, it was all the more interesting for Sam Moore to make a Memphis version of “They Killed a King”, which is soulful and still topical. Sam Moore is known as one half of the duo Sam & Dave, they became a sensation with hits such as “Hold on I’m coming”. Moore sang a new version of the song in the Royal Studio in Memphis, owned by the legendary producer Willie Mitchell. His son Laurence Mitchell has this to say about the song: “This song is so, so strong, it could have been recorded in the 60s or 70s in Stax Memphis by the best soul artists”.

In 2015 the documentary “Bobbejaan” premiered in the Vooruit in Ghent. The movie shows Bobbejaan and Josee Schoepen at home and in the studio in the fall and in the winter of their lives. The movie is about unconditional love and deterioration. Tom Schoepen filmed his parents from up close and director Benny Vandendriessche turned it into a fragile portrait. In 2016 the documentary was shown in Belgian cinemas, at film festivals and on TV.

In June 2016 the album “Duivels in de hel” was released, formal experiments in which you can hear how Bobbejaan creates songs in his home studio. He made the recordings in the desolate winters between 1966 and 1979, while Bobbejaanland was shut down for the winter.

In the 2016-2017 season Jan De Smet, Guido Belcanto and Barbara Dex and their band toured Flanders with their Ode aan Bobbejaan . They earned praise and standing ovations for their selection from Bobbejaan’s rich repertoire and their interpretation of the songs. 

If all goes well, Klaas Delrue, Isabelle A and Guido Belcanto will take the song show De wereld van Bobbejaan on the road in the 2020-2021 theatre season. In consultation with Firmin Michiels, they made another idiosyncratic selection of Bobbejaan Schoepen’s repertoire. 

Awards and nominations

* 1949: Decoration for valour and self-sacrifice on account of his musical support of Dutch front-line soldiers in Indonesia, presented by General Baay, commander in chief of the Dutch troops in East Java.
* 1955: Bobbejaan Schoepen, proclaimed as best Flemish singer, receives the Grote Prijs van de Vlaamse Grammofoonplaat (NIR in collaboration with Studio Gent, March 15, 1955)
* 1965: Education Artistique, diplôme de Croix d'Honneur de Chevalier. Awarded on June 30, 1965 by the Académie Nationale Artistique Littéraire et Scientifque, Paris (no 5177), for the song "Je me suis souvent demandé"
* 1978: Platinum album for 30 years of Flemish hits, Telstar
* (general) 25 golden albums
* 1986: Knight in the Crown Order (Belgium), April 9, 1986, awarded by the Ministry of the Flemish Community
* 1992: Bobbejaanland receives the Brass Ring Award from IAAPA in Dallas (US): 1st price for best publicity brochure.
* 1993: Medal of Sabam – Belgian Artistic Promotion, January 19, 1993
* 1995: Medal of Sabam – Belgian Artistic Promotion, September 26, 1995
* 1995: Belgian decoration, Order of Leopold II: Officer in the Order of Leopold II, September 26, 1995, awarded by the Ministry of the Flemish Community
* 2000: Induction in the Radio 2 Eregalerij, 2000
* 2000: "Ik heb eerbied voor jouw grijze haren" (nomination by Radio 2 Eregalerij)
* 2005: "De lichtjes van de Schelde" (nomination by Radio 2 Eregalerij, November 2005)
* 2006: "De lichtjes van de Schelde" (winning song in the Eregalerij, November 2006)
* 2007: Lifetime Achievement Award, ZAMU Awards 2006 (February 13, 2007)
* 2008: Whistlers Hall of Fame (International Whistlers Convention, awarded in Tokyo on July 21, 2008)
* 2009: Officer in the Crown Order, awaded by the Ministry of the Flemish Community (July 6, 2009)
* 2009: First honorary citizen of Boom, on the occasion of the municipality’s 700-year anniversary (October 2, 2009) 


* "Ah! 't Is zo fijn in België te leven" (1950 movie, Belgium)
* "Televisite" (1955 TV series, Belgium)
* The Eurovision Song Contest (1957)
* "At the Drop of a Head" / "De Ordonnans" / "Café zonder bier" (1962 movie, Belgium)
* "O sole mio" (1960 musical, Germany)
* "Davon träumen alle Mädchen" (1961 musical, Germany)
* "Bobbejaanland", ZDF movie production – Germany - Director: Vladimir Sis, 1967, Studio Barrandov Prague (1967 TV movie)
* "Der Goldene Schuß" - TV Episode (Musical, 1969)
* "Uit met Bobbejaan" (BRT 1969)
* "30 jaar Bobbejaan" (BRT 1978)
* "Bobbejaan 70" (BRT 1995)

Stage name

* Belgium and the Netherlands: Bobbejaan Schoepen
* Germany and Austria: Bobby Jaan, Bobbejaan
* Denmark and Iceland: Bobby Jaan
* France: Bobby Jaan, Bobby Jann, Bobbi-Jean
* United States: Bobby John


* In 1945 Schoepen chose Bobbejaan as his stage name (the literal translation of baboon in Afrikaans), after the song "Bobbejaan klim die berg!".
* Around 1950 guitar player Django Reinhardt accompanied the first musical productions of Bobbejaan Schoepen.
* Around 1967 Bobbejaan Schoepen came up with the name of Paribas, the former Bank of Paris and the Netherlands. [40][41]   
* He was asked to pick up The Rolling Stones at the Zaventem airport during their first tour in Belgium, but he refused because he had learned about their ‘sordid pubescent behaviour'.
* He had his own comic: "De Bobbejaanstory", by Jef Broeckx, Jacques Bakker, Ronnie Van Riet. Uitgeverij Het Volk, Gent. (1977)
* He featured in the comic "Jommeke in Bobbejaanland", from the Jommeke series by Jef Nys. (1978)
* Bobbejaan featured as Urbanus’ competitor in the Urbanus comic "De pretparkprutsers".
* In 1958 Bobbejaan Schoepen bought from revolver acrobat Casey Tibbs Midnight, the horse starring in the eponymous TV show Zorro. But the animal stepped on an exposed power line and died.
* "A pub with No Beer" ("Café zonder bier") is about a pub that actually existed. In Australia there is controversy about which pub it actually concerns.
* In March 2007 rock artist Daan sang an idiosyncratic version of "De lichtjes van de Schelde" into the finale of the VRT show "Zo is er maar één", which went looking for the most beautiful songs in the Dutch language.
* In 2005 Bobbejaan Schoepen finished 406th in the Flemish version of De Grootste Belg, (The greatest Belgian ever) outside the official nomination list.

View the embedded image gallery online at:

Sources, notes and references


* "Bobbejaan Schoepen" (Johan Roggen, Uitgeverij het Volk, 1980 - D/1980/2345/10).
* "De Vlaamse kleinkunstbeweging na de Tweede Wereldoorlog - Een historisch overzicht" (Peter Notte, Universiteit Gent, 1992)
* "Bobbejaan Schoepen, een Vlaams entertainer" - Histories documentary, January 4, 2001 (Canvas)
* "Bobbejaan Schoepen - Het Belgisch Pop & Rock Archief" (Dirk Houbrechts and Muziekcentrum Vlaanderen, 2001)
* "Brel Le flamand" - Histories documentary, 2003 (Canvas)
* Bobbejaan Schoepen Archives - Bobbejaan Records bvba ®
"Bobbejaan", official biography - (Tom Schoepen, Volkskundige Kroniek, June 2006)


2. ^ a b "Bobbejaan Schoepen, een Vlaams entertainer" - Histories documentary, January 4, 2001 (Canvas)    
3. ^ Bobbejaan Schoepen    
4. ^ a b c "Schoepen Troef" - Knack Focus, February 14, 2007    
5. ^ Bobbejaan Schoepen nominated for the US hall of fame of whistlers (Belga/lb), 08/02/08    
6. ^ a b c d e f g "Bobbejaan Schoepen, een Vlaams entertainer" - Histories documentary, January 4, 2001 (Canvas)    
7. ^ "Je me suis souvent demandé" - official clip (1965)    
8. ^ Education Artistique, diplôme de Croix d'Honneur de Chevalier, on June 30, 1965 awarded by the Académie Nationale Artistique Littéraire et Scientifique, Paris (no 5177).    
9. ^ a b c "Bobbejaan Schoepen krijgt ereteken van Officier in de Kroonorde"    
10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Bobbejaan", official biography of Bobbejaan Schoepen - Tom Schoepen, Volkskundige Kroniek, June 2006    
11. ^ Lifetime Achievement Award ZAMU Awards Belgium    
12. ^ International Whistlers Convention - North Carolina    
13. ^ a b c "Bobbejaan Schoepen, de Vlaamse troubadour die de wereld veroverde" (Johan Roggen, Uitgeverij het Volk, 1980 - D/1980/2345/10)    
14. ^ Documentation timeline anno 1955, official website    
15. ^ Australia celebrates 50 years of "Café zonder bier": Radio 2GB Sydney interviews Bobbejaan Schoepen"    
16. ^ "Bobbejaan Schoepen triomfeert op filmfestival Berlijn" Het Nieuwsblad, 1961 (exact date of publication unknown)    
17. ^ "Bobbejaanland" ZDF movie production - Director: Vladimir Sis, 1967    
18. ^ a b c "De Bobbejaan Story" (series). Humo, November 5, 1964    
19. ^ De Standaard – May 15, 2004    
20. ^ Dead Man Ray on tour with the movie Bobbejaan Schoepen from 1962    
21. ^ "30 jaar Bobbejaan" - TV-show, BRT, 1978    
22. ^ Former NIR director, entertainment department.   
23. ^ Announcement in Radio Times, March 22, 1956  
24. ^ The museum can be visited This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and is occasionally open to the public.  
25. ^ Test Aankoop magazine 477, June 2004    
26. ^ Terzake, Tuesday May 11, 2004    
27. ^ [1] Overview of VRT image archive, May 15, 2008    
28. ^ "Le temps des cerises" - official clip (2008)    
29. ^ "Verankerd" - official clip (2008)    
30. ^ Bobbejaan is back (Het Nieuwsblad, 17/05/2008)    
31. ^ (De Morgen, 28/5/2008)    
32. ^ "De culturele weerwraak van de jodelaar" - De Standaard 10/05/2008    
33. ^ [2] "Bobbejaan: de laatste nieuwe plaat van Bobbejaan Schoepen" - HUMO 13/5/2008    
34. ^ [3] Press release - 24/04/2008.    
35. ^ International Whistlers Convention    
36. ^ Schoepen in US Whistlers Hall of Fame – VRT news, July 21, 2008    
37. ^ "The world of Bobbejaan-songbook (1948-2009) - Muziekcentrum Vlaanderen    
38. ^ "Bobbejaan Schoepen wordt 85 en brengt live-cd uit"    
39. ^ "Bobbejaan Schoepen (85) beleeft revival" - Dagblad Trouw (ANP), May 16, 2010    
40. ^ "Bobbejaan en de naam Paribas", October 7, 2008    
41. ^ "Het beste moet nog komen" - Bobbejaan Schoepen, interview with Friedl' Lesage, Radio 1, February 14, 2007