Gerontology Wiki
Eelke Bakker
Eelke Bakker
Bakker at the age of 109
Birth: 28 July 1910
Ballum, Ameland, Netherlands
Death: 3 May 2020
Dokkum, Friesland, Netherlands
Age: 109 years, 280 days
Country: NetherlandsNED

Eelke Bakker (28 July 1910 – 3 May 2020) was a Dutch centenarian who was the oldest living man in the Netherlands. He was also the second-oldest person in the Netherlands behind Anne Brasz-Later.


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 was 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, 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 died in 2007 and a son of them in 2009 or 2010.

Despite reaching an advanced age, Bakker is still very fit and clear for a centenarian; at the age of 109, he still lives in that same house independently (despite getting 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, despite having some minor short-memory problems. He also used to eat vegetables from his own garden every day and maintained that garden himself until the age of 104 years.

Except for Eelke himself, some of his family members reached advanced ages as well; his father reached the age of 89, both his mother and his grandmother reached age 90, one of his grandfathers reached age 96 and one of his sisters died at the age of 102 years. Bakker has a pacemaker, which he got implemented when he was 99 years old. Because of his pacemaker, he may live to the age of 110 years, according to his doctor. When Bakker was almost 107 years at the time, he mentioned in a short interview that he still enjoys life very much, which was repeated on his 108th birthday. His secret for a long life is to work hard and go to bed early.

Bakker was 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 oldest living man in the Benelux since the death of 108-year-old Jacques Clemens of Belgium, who ironically kept his Dutch nationality. Bakker is also the oldest living Dutch-born man in the world since the death of Henry Van Stelton (born 18 July 1909 in Nunspeet, Gelderland) on 7 June 2018, who lived in California, USA.

Eelke Bakker died in Dokkum, Friesland, Netherlands on 3 May 2020 at the age of 109 years, 280 days. Bakker is the oldest man from the Netherlands to have not achieved supercentenarian status.



Netherlands's Oldest Living Man Titleholders (VE)

Jannes Reiling • Hendrikus van Horsen • Petrus Bartelen • Keimpe Nijdam • Jan Kip • Wilhelmus Kostering • Willem van der Hulst • Marinus Wolffensberger • Johannes Hesseling • Jacob Hazewinkel • Willem Wels • Andre Beekman • Watze Watzema • Henri van Dooren • Cornelis Bredijk • Huibert Prins • Hendrikus Verhoeven • Johannes van der Hoeven • Marcus Faasse • Gerrit van der Horst • Martin Hendrix • Hendrik Nessen • Pieter Zandee • Johannes Rijstenbil • Arthur Notte • Johannes Linning • Gerardus Boomaerts • Jan Nijenhuis • Dirk van der Kooij • Pieter Zaaijer • Albert Geerlings • Jan Machiel Reyskens • Cornelis Jansen • Hendrikus de Bijl • Johannes van Capel • Reinier Pelgrom • Jan de Winter • Frits Rijkens • Jan Pieter Bos • Frits Botterblom • Henri Timmermans • Joop Rosbach • Ko de Lavoir • Jan Voogt Pzn • Jan van der Giessen • Adrianus van der Vaart • Jos Wijnant • Cornelis Geurtz • Gerard Helders • Arie Vermeulen • Tjeerd Epema • Serop Mirzoyan • Floor van Cleemputte • Wim Hendriks • Jacob Berg • Dirk van der Noen • Jan Willem van de Kamp • Eelke Bakker • Anonymous