Eelke Bakker (right) the day before his 107th birthday.
Eelke Bakker (born 28 July 1910) is a Dutch centenarian who is the oldest living man in The Netherlands since the death of 107-year-old Jan Willem van de Kamp on 31 May 2017 and the third-oldest Dutch-born man, behind Jacques Clemens and Henry Van Stelton, who live in Belgium and the USA respectively.
Eelke Bakker was born and raised in the small village of Ballum on the island of Ameland, The Netherlands, on 28 July 1910. At the age of 14 years, he earned some money by working on the countryside and in 1928, when he was 18 years old, he moved to mainland Netherlands because there was almost no work to find on the island. He worked for a farmer in the village of Anjum in the province of Friesland, where he was a unknown stranger, which made him very populair amongst the girls and so he found his future wife. He later worked for Rijkswaterstaat, a part of the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. He even worked on the (now) famous Afsluitdijk, a major causeway that connects the provinces of North-Holland and Friesland together.
During World War II, he got caught (probably by members of the NSB, the Dutch allies of the Nazis) and taken to prison Blokhuispoort because he and his brothers listened to Radio Oranje (a Dutch-language radio programme on the BBC European Service managed by the Dutch government-in-exile and broadcast to the occupied Netherlands) on a radio he hided, while that was strictly forbidden.
Later is his life, he married Bauktje Sonnema in the former town hall of Metslawier, with whom he would have four children; three sons and a daughter. In 1959, they moved to the town of Dokkum, where they would build a cheap house. Bauktje passed away in 2007 and a son of them in 2009.
Though he reached an advanced age, Mr. Bakker is very fit and clear for a centenarian; at the age of 107, he still lives in that same house independently (though he gets some help from local caretakers, family members and neighbours), he is able to walk without a walker or walking stick, he can still read without glasses and he still remembers how he saw the first cars coming, as he mentioned: It was a black car, and in the village it was also black because of the people. Everyone wanted to see the car nearby. I can still see how people lay on the ground to see how the wheels were moving. Some of his family members reached advanced ages as well; his mother and his mother's father died at an old age and one of his sisters died at the age of 102 years. Mr. Bakker also has a pacemaker, which he got implemented a couple of years ago. Because of his pacemaker, he may live to the age of 110 years, according to his doctor. At the age of 107 years, he still enjoys life very much, as he mentioned in a short interview: I don't mind. I have to be much, much older. Eventually, I'll become 117 years. I'm not going anywhere. His secret for a long life is to work hard and go to bed early.
In a news reportage about his 107th birthday, Mr Bakker himself mentioned that he's still very healthy with no health problems and that he eats rye bread with bacon every day, which is another longevity secret of him.
- 106-jarige woont nog steeds zelfstandig Nieuwe Dockumer Courant, 27 July 2016
- Buurtzorg Dokkum Zuid trots op oudste man van Nederland Nieuwe Dockumer Courant, 3 July 2017
- Oudste man van Nederland viert 107e verjaardag Omrop Fryslân, 28 July 2017
- Eelke Bakker viert 107e verjaardag in Damwâld RTV Nof, 28 July 2017