Our good friend and colleague Gerlof van der Veen died on December 11, 2014 at the age of 77. He was one of the founding fathers of our International Association for Media in Science (IAMS) and he was of great importance for the development of the area of media in science and education in The Netherlands.
Gerlof started his career in the media at the Netherlands Institute for Film and Science (SFW), where he was responsible for the subject area of medical sciences. From the very beginning he focused on the development of international contacts and co-operation. He was active in the International Scientific Film Association and he was an active member of the editorial board of the international science film library Encyclopedia Cinematographica.
CAWO around 1989. Gerlof is sitting in the front row, second from the left
After several years he became director of the Institute for Media and Education (OMI) of the University of Utrecht, which was the first university Audiovisual Centre in the Netherlands. As chairman of the Dutch-Belgian Society of Audiovisual Centres for Higher Education (CAWO) he worked in close collaboration with the Netherlands Association for Scientific Film and TV to position the field of scientific and educational media both inside as well as outside the universities.
One of his interests was to enhance the distribution and exchange of scientific and educational films and video’s. Within OMI he started a branch called VIDU (Video University), which was soon followed by the MEMO Marketing Organization, a company owned by all Dutch universities for the exchange and distribution of scientific films and video’s on a national and international scale.
In 1990 he hosted the bi-annual ISFA conference at OMI in Utrecht and in the following years he strongly supported the activities that should make ISFA ready for the emerging new media technologies and the growing importance of video for education. Eventually, this resulted in the transition of ISFA into IAMS, which was effectuated in Zaragoza in 1992. As stated above, Gerlof was one of the founding fathers. Moreover he offered to host the office of the new association at his institution in Utrecht and he was a great help to organize IAMS’activities in its first years.
After his retirement Gerlof moved to the small medieval town Zutphen. Early 2011 he was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Although he fought long against his illness and could maintain a reasonable quality of life his health declined more rapidly in the last year and he finally had to give up the fight. His last blog ended with the words: If one has learned to discern beauty in every day life, one is able to take pleasure in life until ones last breath! That too is giving life meaning.
In Gerlof we lose not only an inspiring and visionary man who played a significant role in the development of the field of media in science but we also lose a very good colleague and friend.