As the German government now allows us to have more contact with friends, I decided to visit an old friend of mine who lives in a village near the city of Lueneburg, Germany.
Those who have served in the Army or Air Force during the Cold War know that Lueneburg Heath, because a part of this beautiful landscape is also known as a NATO exercise area.
Jens Boettcher lives in Kirchgellersen, a village with a population of about 2,500 people.
I met Boettcher during my first years of collecting farm toys, as a 20 year old with the same passion as I have for farm models.
At that time, he had just completed his three-year training as a mason and was working in his profession.
Now 44 years old, the collector shares his passion for farm toys and the real tractors and machinery.
During the first four years of his life, Boettcher lived on the farm of his grandparents which was the cornerstone for his passion.
On his fourth birthday, his grandfather gave him a Britains set containing a Massey Ferguson 595 and a barge wagon.
Living in a small village has some advantages and one of those is that all the kids know each other.
Moreover, all the kids had their farm toys - mostly Britains in 1/32 scale, because other brands in 1/32 scale were not available in those years.
His collection started to expand when he was 15 years old, as he started buying toys from the past from his friends and other kids who needed money to buy gas for their mopeds.
When his class made their graduation trip to Brighton in the United Kingdom, he discovered a small toy store that was closing. With more than a 50% discount on all the Britains items, he bought the whole lot after making a call back home to have his parents make the money transfer.
Note: This feature is in the August TF 2021 issue by Jacco van den Broek.