Almost everything that the puzzle king Jan van Haasteren draws is no longer allowed

Jan van Haasteren draws everything that is no longer allowed, although that was not his special intention, because that is how he has been drawing for years. Hell, he says, yes! Crowds, events, everything overcrowded: swimming pool, beach, pop festivals, art markets, football stadiums, flower parade, fair, the song festival that was cancelled. A packed cruise ship.

We talk on the phone, Jan van Haasteren is the first person who really can’t receive me at home since the virus, in Bergen. Understandable: not only is he eighty-four years old, his work is gold. He is the Jan van Haasteren, the puzzle king. And he continues to draw imperturbably.

Since his retirement as a cartoonist, he has done nothing else, he has a life contract with toy manufacturer Jumbo for three puzzles a year. Jumbo sold ‘millions’ worldwide of his hand – I can’t get the numbers more precise there. Jumbo does send tables: in March of this year, Jan van Haasteren was number three of the best-selling toy brands, higher than Pokemon, Duplo, Playmobil and Monopoly, among others.