Le Soir, 14 July 1966

Fernand Van Horen was a Belgian sports cartoonist, who worked under the pen name Horn. He was mainly affiliated with the Walloon newspaper Le Soir (1936-1940, 1947-1990), for which he produced over 10,000 drawings during his career. Van Horen sometimes worked under the pen name Jonko, which referred to his birthtown.

He was born in 1909 in Djokupunda, a town in the Belgian colony Congo, but spent most of his life in the Brussels area. His father worked for the Compagnie du Kasai, and his mother was a native Congolese. He enrolled at the Academy of Brussels in 1926, where one of his teachers was the painter Anto Carte. An avid sportsman himself, Horn made his first caricatures of sportsmen for Le Soir in 1936. He remained a contributor to this Walloon newspaper for many decades to come.

During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the 2nd Lancers. He was also a member of the Secret Army and took an active part in the fight against the Nazi occupation of Belgium. He was arrested on 24 February 1943 and spent the rest of the war in the concentration camps of Esterwegen and Flossenbürg. He made many drawings during his ordeal.

He resumed his cartooning activities upon his return to Belgium in May 1945. Between 1946 and 1948 he made a comic strip called 'Jim et sa bande' for Le Petit Monde, a promotional weekly published by the Brussels-based department store Le Bon Marché. Other contributors to this publication were Peyo and Willy Vandersteen. From December 1946 until 1978, he covered all types of sports in his section 'Le Week-end Sportif', that appeared every Thursday on the last page of Le Soir. He became especially known for his humoristic drawings of the Tour de France. Famous Belgian cyclists like Rik Van Steenbergen and Rik Van Looy, but also soccer player Rik Coppens came out of his pen many times. Later sections by Horn were 'Le Sport Souriant' (September 1978-December 1982) and 'Il ya 50 ans' (February 1972-April 1990). Horn also illustrated several serials, historical series and sports articles; not only for Le Soir, but also for Het Laatste Nieuws and Le Soir Illustré. Horn remained with Le Soir until 1990.

Horn furthermore drew advertisements for Surdiac, Philips, Citroën, Tricidine, Caltex and the Wielemans-Ceuppens brewery, and illustrated record covers for Belgian comedian Virgile (Léon Crabbé), movie posters and a couple of horse-related books by Edouard de Loménie. Horn also contributed a cartoon of iconic Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx for the book 'Il était une fois... Les Belges' /Er waren eens... Belgen' (1980), a collection of columns and comic pages published on the occasion of the 150th anniversary of Belgium. He passed away in Uccle in 2005, at the age of 96.

An overview exposition of Fernand Van Horen's work is held in the Maison de l’Image in Brussels in May and June 2018.


Website with Horn's experiences and drawings from the concentration camps
Facebook fanpage dedicated to Horn

Series and books by Horn in stock in the Lambiek Webshop:


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