How it all started..
Alexander Bisseling is sharing his own story! How he started over 20 years ago and everything that has happened since then.
Interest in nature was always present, and at a young age, I was already searching for rocks and fossils in the area with my grandfather. Through family vacations to Austria, I had my first encounters with taxidermy. In Austria, it is quite common to come across preserved animals.
Op een dag, ik was een jaar of 11, heb ik konijnenhuidjes gekregen van de slager en begon die te “looien”. Veel verder dan drogen kwam ik niet. Vele experimenten mislukten, totdat ik op de middelbare school kwam en de scheikundeleraar mij boeken liet lezen over looien. De basis was gelegd. Met wat drogisterij spullen en wat van de leraar lukte het om de huidjes echt te gaan looien!
The first bird
Tanning was fun, but I wanted more. When I was 14 years old, I found a sparrow and tried to do taxidermy on it. Of course, I had no experience whatsoever, and the result wasn’t great. Practice, practice, practice. I got to know other taxidermists who helped me along the way. The first bird that had an acceptable result was a magpie. I still have it, displayed in a glass showcase in the shop.
In a magazine, I read about championships in taxidermy in America. The reigning world champion at the time was offering lessons in bird taxidermy. I wanted to go to America to learn from him! It required a lot of money, so there was only one option: saving up! By June 1996, I had saved enough to travel to America and attend the training. On July 7th, I received the certificate.
Dutch championships (1996)
A few months after my return from America, the Dutch championships for taxidermy took place. I decided to take a leap of faith and participate. In November 1996, I won the third prize with a funny pheasant (fantasy bird) and a green ribbon with a complete rhea.
My hobby began to take on more serious forms. I started selling more and receiving commissions. It was time to start thinking about the future and turning this hobby into my profession. I needed to choose a name to work with. Alexander had to be included, along with my animals. Since I also spent a lot of time searching for stones and working with them, I wanted to incorporate that as well. Thus, it became Alexanders Animals and Stones, which I abbreviated to A.A. & S. Choosing the official start date was not difficult. Due to my passion for nature, especially animals, World Animal Day was the perfect date for me. And so, on October 4, 1997, A.A. & S. officially began its journey!
Dutch championships (1997)
In 1996, I achieved success in the Dutch Championships, which motivated me to participate again the following year. This time, I created a fantasy bird that I named Kikrapauw. With this creation, I won the first prize in 1997.
For some time, I had been an associate member of the N.V.P. (Dutch Association of Taxidermists). To become a full member, one had to undergo a ballotage (a type of examination). On October 31, 1998, I successfully completed this examination. I was also registered with the ministry to become an officially recognized taxidermist. However, there were only a few permits available per province, so I was placed on the waiting list.
Dutch championships (1999)
In 1999, I decided to participate again in the National Championships. This time, I won the second prize with a Palawan peacock pheasant. The first prize was not awarded.
Ik was aan het werk in juni 2000 toen Reinout Oerlemans op de stoep stond. Hij kwam voor zijn programma langs en liet een zwaan achter om door mij te laten opzetten. Een paar weken later volgden de opnames in de studio waar ik hem de zwaan aanbood. Tijdens deze studio opnames werd ik uitgenodigd om naar Amerika te gaan om daar een training te volgen bij één van de beste preparateurs van de wereld. Ik ben in de zomer van 2000 daar 6 weken geweest en heb erg veel ervaring opgedaan op elk gebied. Zowel grote zoogdieren als jachttrofeeën.
In 2002, the law for obtaining the preparation permit changed. If you were registered with the Ministry of Agriculture and balloting with the N.V.P. successfully passed, you could get the permit. I met both requirements, so on April 1, 2002 I was one of the first preparers in the Netherlands to receive the preparation permit from the ministry. With this I was and may also prepare native animal species, provided that a transport permit has been obtained for the animal in question.
A few years later, a friend of mine decided to start a preparation business in South Africa. Quite an undertaking and he asked if I wanted to help him with this. In 2005 I went to South Africa for the first time. Several times followed and it is now one of the better preparation studios in Africa! Of course I also gained a lot of experience here with the preparation of African game and the transport of trophies.
The Brown Bear.
My company grew steadily and the assignments literally got bigger. In 2005 I was commissioned for the first time to set up a brown bear. This one was 2.18 mtr. high, a huge animal and a beautiful assignment. The newspaper wrote an article about this.
Het krantenartikel wat in de regiokrant stond in 2005. Het stond op de voorpagina, met een vervolg binnenin de krant.
You receive a number of points for every prize that you win with a Dutch Preparation Championship. With enough points, your N.V.P. recognized member. In the meantime I had obtained enough points, so that I was recognized N.V.P. on January 25, 2006. became a member.
10 year anniversary
Time went by, my business was doing well and I was able to celebrate the 10th anniversary of A.A.& S. on October 4, 2007. I did this by holding an open house for 3 days. This has been in various regional newspapers, so many people came to watch. The mayor was there and Henk Westbroek came to make recordings for TV Utrecht. Also on the first day 3 live radio broadcasts were made from my workshop.
In the Center for Nature and Environmental Education at Landgoed Scotland in Amersfoort, a large part of the collection of skulls and stuffed animals has been lost due to fire. On March 20, 2011, a day was organized where private individuals could donate their stuffed animals to this center. I gave a preparation demonstration here that day.
Hunting information evening.
On March 24, 2011 I organized a hunting information evening about hunting in Eastern Turkey. It was a casual evening with lots of information about the area and of course hunting. The 2 Turkish guides were there with a film of the area and the game to be hunted. It was a very pleasant, useful evening with a mixture of guests and of course the Turkish snacks and Raki!
Opening delivery point Weert.
On Saturday 1 October 2011, the Weert drop-off point is open! Here customers can bring and pick up all their animals to be prepared. A real asset to the south of the Netherlands, Belgium and A.A.& S.!
On 4, 5 and 6 October 2012 I celebrated the 15th anniversary of A.A.& S. This time again with 3 open days. Various newspapers reported this, including “De Telegraaf”, the AD and “De Gelderlander”. Early in the morning live broadcasts were made for radio M Utrecht. Later in the day film recordings were made for RTV Utrecht and there were especially a lot of interested people.
Relocation to Renkum
In 2017 we moved to Renkum. On October 4, 2017, during the 20th anniversary of A.A.&S. We celebrated the opening of the new building there.