With Bilzerse Waltwilder VV, White Star Schoonbeek Beverst, Heis Sport Bilzen, Stormvogels Rosmeer, Spouwen-Mopertingen, Jungle Boys Eigenbilzen, SK Munsterbilzen, KMR Biesen and DV Bilzen United, one can say Bilzen has a very big football passion. It's even a surprise such a small village has that many teams - and a couple of these are already mergers.
We went by Jungle Boys Eigenbilzen, mainly because of the wonderful name they have and the peculiar stadium they play in. The stadium even reminds us of the very famous lower league ground in Slovakia where a train runs between the grandstand and the pitch. Here it's a public road.
Already in the early 1900s Bilzen had football teams like Voetbalclub Vlug Te Been (you got to love those Limburg football names), Bilsen Vooruit and Belisia and in 1922 the number one team in Bilzen, Bilzerse VV was created. Soon others followed, such as Sparta in 1933. The team only played for a handful of years as the team dissolved as soon as WWII started. But the history was picked up by the creation of Jungle Boys Eigenbilzen in 1966 who started to play in green and white, as a reference to Sparta.
The first two years JB Eigenbilzen played in the Limburg regional FA, but in 1968 they moved to the Belgian FA for their professionalism. Lorry Stulens, one of the founding fathers, is the only remaining person still active in the team, currently as chairman. Throughout the decades it became clear that JB Eigenbilzen would mainly be a lower league team, having played in the third regional leagues for most of the time, occasionally in the second or fourth regional division.
In 2012 the team became very close to the end, but they found extra means to keep on playing. Much to the liking of the local people. The people from Bilzen are very proud of all of their teams. We are mainly happy because it would be a shame to see a ground like this, magnificent as it is, turn into a lost ground or even worse - see it demolished.
But where did the name come from? We suspect it's a reference to the bar where the founding fathers used to spend their days; Jungle Bar.
Bilzen seems to have very good air, as a lot of bigger names come from Bilzen. JB Eigenbilzen can sum up Guido Brepoels, Jelle Vossen and his father; Rudi Vossen. But it goes on as the other teams in Bilzen sprouted Vital Vanaken and Thibaut Courtois.
JB Eigenbilzen - definitely worth a visit.