We say goodbye to Jef De Gryse

We say goodbye to Jef De Gryse

Jef De Gryse (23 March 1937 - 25 June 2023)

On this occasion, IFLA Europe Executive Council wrote:

‘We are deeply saddened to hear about the loss of Joseph De Gryse, our Jef. Today IFLA Europe members lost their father, their mentor, the spirit, and soul of our Federation. We were so fortunate to know him, to meet him, to be with him in easy and difficult times. All IFLA Europe generations express their gratitude for his valuable contribution to keep us strong and united.

Jef was distinguished for his nobleness, wisdom, care for IFLA Europe, calmness and innate strength. Most of us were so fortunate to share with him his work and ideas. Above all, he was passionate about landscape architecture, a dedicated and altruist person. He was a landscape philosopher and supporter of eco ethology in landscape. He believed that IFLA should ensure the application of the commandments of eco-ethology.

We would like to close with some of his sentences about landscape.

« Le paysage de l’ homme doit être authentique. Le paysage-temps-espace doit être universel.
Le paysage doit être l’image d’ un équilibre d’ énergie consommée et d’énergie produite.
Le paysage est l’ habitat de l’ homme. »

Please accept our deepest condolences IFLA Europe Executive Council Katerina Gkoltsiou, Didier Vancutsem, Margarida Cancella d’ Abreu, Diana Culescu, John Boon, and his beloved and forever friends Andre Colin, Daniela Micanovic Franckx’

On this occasion, Michael Oldham, founding President of then European Foundation of Landscape Architecture (EFLA) said:

“I would like to begin by thanking Jef’s family for giving me the opportunity to offer, on behalf of the International Federation of Landscape Architects Europe, our sincere and deepest condolences. As a friend and colleague for many years, I know that many of my colleagues will share my fond memories of working with Jef and will miss him enormously. Of course, it is always sad to lose someone you love and respect, but for someone who had a full life and achieved so much, we should also celebrate that life, a life that brought joy and enrichment to many people, and gratefully I count myself among them.

I first met Jef 35 years ago, in October 1987, at the University of Greenwich in London. Over the next two years, culminating in the official inauguration of the European Foundation for Landscape Architecture (EFLA), we worked with others, but in particular Stef Stegen, also from Belgium, and Jeanine Colin, to create a new pan-European organisation for our profession, one that was well structured, sustainable, and thankfully still exists today, stronger and bigger. As some of you know, I became the founding president and served for a further two years until Jef took the reins and remained president for several years.

On a personal note, the first meeting we had in London was interesting. Jef didn’t speak much English and I didn’t speak much French, but we did communicate, and I could see that we had a lot in common in terms of what we wanted to achieve. Jef had a very clear vision of creating a European Foundation, independent of the control of the International Federation. Mine was to reflect and respond to the needs of the European Community in terms of harmonising the education and practice of the profession. In the end, and inevitably to some extent, the Foundation and the Federation came closer together, but not before the Foundation was able to provide an exemplary, more structured model for the Federation, and at the same time more accurately reflect the States party to the Council of Europe, rather than the EC, an organisation with which we continue to have close and very important relations.

The last time I met Jef was in Antalya, Turkey, in 2019, at the IFLA EU General Assembly. We were there to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the organisation. We both gave speeches to the assembly and, of course, had a few beers together afterwards, reflecting on the past and also the future. Jef has always been an inspiration and mentor to many of us. I think it was destiny that we met when we did, in London, and I recognise very clearly today, more than ever, that it opened doors for me that have certainly changed my life. I want to thank you for your inspiration, your encouragement, your wisdom and above all your friendship.

I will cherish his memory for the rest of my life. Many thanks Jef - farewell old friend - rest in peace.”

Michael Oldham - Founding President of EFLA

On behalf of ABAJP/BVTL

Didier Moray, President of ABAJP/BVTL


Un homme, un héritage, une passion – Joseph De Gryse

Chères consœurs, chers confrères et amis,
C’est une page de notre histoire commune qui se tourne avec la disparition, cette semaine, de notre regretté Jef.

Outre ses qualités humaines reconnues par tous, avec son côté fédérateur, il fût un guide pour la plupart d’entre nous et même un confident pour certains.

Je ne reviendrai pas sur son long parcours, il a fait l’objet d’un magnifique texte, rédigé par notre consœur Ann Voets que je remercie pour sa contribution en l’honneur de notre ami.

J’aimerais, par contre, simplement vous exprimer quelques mots à propos de l’homme qui m’a accompagné durant ces dernières années en tant que Président national.

Je ne le remercierai jamais assez pour tout le soutien qu’il m’a apporté et pour ses encouragements qui m’étaient précieux… Ce que je retiens surtout c’est cette confiance mutuelle qui s’est forgée tout au long du chemin parcouru en commun.

Au travers de nos nombreuses conversations, nous avons partagé énormément de choses, au sujet de l’enseignement, de la pratique du métier, de la vision de la profession, des relations internationales et tant d’autres choses encore… cela m’a permis de réinterpréter ces échanges intuitivement dans l’intérêt de notre association.

Son travail n’est pas terminé, il va laisser un grand vide c’est certain ! Mais selon moi, nous avons hérité de son savoir et de sa passion du métier. A nous, à présent, d’écrire la suite de cette histoire du grand livre de l’architecture du paysage de notre pays.

Il restera longtemps un exemple pour nous. Et pour ce qu’il a fait pour chacun de nous et notre profession, nous l’en remercions.

Au nom de l’Association Belge des Architectes de jardins et des Architectes-paysagistes, je présente en cet instant de recueillement, nos plus sincères condoléances à toute sa famille et ses amis proches.”


A man, a heritage, a passion – Joseph De Gryse

Dear fellows, dear colleagues and friends,

It is a page in our common history that turns with the disappearance of our late Jef.

In addition to his human qualities recognised by all, with his unifying side, he was a guide for most of us and even a confidant for some.

I will not go back over his long career, he was the subject of a magnificent text, written by our colleague Ann Voets, whom I thank for her contribution in honor of our friend.

On the other hand, I would simply like to express a few words to you about the man who accompanied me during these last years as National President.

I will never be able to thank him enough for all the support he gave me and for his encouragement which was invaluable to me… What I remember above all is this mutual trust
which has been forged throughout the path traveled together.

Through our many conversations, we shared a lot of things, about teaching, the practice of the profession, the vision of the profession, international relations and so many other things… this allowed me to reinterpret these exchanges intuitively in the interest of our association.

His work is not finished, he will leave a big void for sure! But in my opinion, we inherited his knowledge and his passion for the profession. It is now up to us to write the rest of this history of the great book of landscape architecture in our country.

He will long remain an example for us. And for what he has done for each of us and our profession, we thank him.

On behalf of the Belgian Association of Garden Architects and Landscape Architects, I present in this moment of reflection, our most sincere condolences to all his family and
close friends.


Ann Voets, ABAJP/BVTL Delegate to IFLA EUROPE and IFLA wrote:

“The love for the landscape and urban planning and the big heart he had for human beings and nature were the guiding thread in Jef’s life.

Nurtured by good teachers in the Netherlands, he began in 1963 the development of a long and fruitful career. The cross-pollination between practice and theory has given birth to progressive projects, projects of a scale and of complexity hitherto unknown. A first at the time!

While teaching in various schools in Belgium and abroad, he was president of the Belgian professional Association of Garden and Landscape Architects from 1972 to 1990.

His sincere concern for the level of education of landscape architects and the international image of the profession led, in part thanks to his instigation, to the creation of the European Foundation of Landscape Architects (EFLA), which later became the European Region of the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA Europe). Thanks to these efforts, Belgium has played a leading role in this fascinating story. Jef has held various positions: he was a Member of the General Assembly, Treasurer and President of the European Council of IFLA. From 1992 to 1997 he was President and then Honorary President of EFLA.

It is to him that we owe the initiative and the basic text of the first International Landscape Charter, adopted in Cambridge in 1979.

Sharing was his mission.

Sharing is communicating, in language and in images. His fluent pen, his sparkling linguistic talents and pedagogical ingenuity were used in order to make the rich concept of landscape accessible. He developed the theory of the scenographic landscape and the understanding of the soundscape, thanks to an in-depth spatial analysis of the creations of the past. His knowledge and taste for the baroque gardens of André Le Nôtre contributed to this.

In his inimitable way, he positively influenced the trajectory of students, colleagues and collaborators and aroused their passion for the profession. Those who wanted to could tap into a seemingly endless source of new and fairly progressive ideas, even if delivered in Jef’s atypical way. He couldn’t be prouder that his students take ownership of his passion and enthusiasm, building their professional lives on this basis.

With the passing of Jef, we lose a valued colleague, a good friend and an exceptional mentor. Jeff, we will miss you.”

Ann Voets, ABAJP/BVTL Delegate to IFLA Europe/IFLA

Jef De Gryse was born in Brussels 23 March 1937, passed away in Anderlecht le 25 June 2023. During his long and rich professional career, he carried out various functions among which:
Honorary Member of Belgian Association of Garden and Landscape Architects (ABAJP/BVTL) and the Belgian Chamber of Urban Planners (CUB)
Dean Emeritus of Labour – Arts of Garden
Co-founder and Honorary President of EFLA – IFLA Europe
Professor ISA St.-Luc – ISAP Erasmus hogeschool - ISURU Brussels
Past Member of Board of Administrators, Library ‘René Pechère’ (BVRP)
Professor and international speaker
Member of International Jury Boards
Author of numerous articles
Member of Rotary Club in Halle
Founding Member
Bureaux D+A Planning et D+A International
European Foundation for Landscape Architecture (Brussels)
Landscape Institute INGO(Brussels)
International Forum for Urban Landscape Technologies (Paris)
Foundation Landscape Architecture Europe (Wageningen)
Centre du Paysage (Charleroi)



“L’amour du paysage et de l’urbanisme et le grand cœur qu’il avait pour l’être humain et la nature ont été le fil conducteur de la vie de Jef.

Nourri par de bons professeurs aux Pays-Bas, il entame à partir de 1963 le développement d’une longue et fructueuse carrière. La pollinisation croisée entre la pratique et la théorie a donné naissance à des projets progressistes, d’une ampleur et d’une complexité jusque-là inconnues. Une première à l’époque !

Tout en enseignant dans diverses écoles en Belgique et à l’étranger, il a été président de l’association professionnelle belge des architectes de jardins et des paysagistes de 1972 à 1990.

Sa préoccupation sincère pour le niveau de formation des architectes-paysagistes et l’image internationale de la profession a conduit, en partie à son instigation, à la création de la Fondation Européenne des Architectes Paysagistes (EFLA), qui est devenue plus tard la Fédération Internationale des Architectes-Paysagistes région Europe (IFLA Europe).

Grâce à ces efforts, la Belgique a joué un rôle de premier plan dans cette histoire passionnante. Jef a occupé différentes fonctions : il était membre de l’Assemblée Générale, Trésorier et Président du Conseil Européen de l’IFLA. De 1992 à 1997 il était président et ensuite président d’honneur de l’EFLA. C’est à lui que l’on doit l’initiative et le texte de base de la première Charte Internationale du Paysage, adoptée à Cambridge en 1979.

Partager était sa mission.

Partager, c’est communiquer, en langage et en images. Sa plume fluide, ses talents linguistiques étincelants et son ingéniosité pédagogique ont été mis à profit pour rendre accessible le riche concept de paysage. Il a développé la théorie du paysage scénographique et la compréhension du paysage sonore, grâce à une analyse spatiale approfondie des créations du passé. Sa connaissance et son goût pour les jardins baroques d’André Le Nôtre y ont contribué.

À sa manière inimitable, il a influencé positivement la trajectoire des étudiants, des collègues et des collaborateurs et a suscité leur passion pour la profession. Ceux qui le souhaitaient pouvaient puiser dans une source apparemment inépuisable d’idées nouvelles et assez progressistes, même si elles étaient livrées à la manière atypique de Jef. Il ne pouvait pas être plus fier que ses étudiants s’approprient sa passion et son enthousiasme, construisent leur vie professionnelle sur ce_e base.

Avec la dispariGon de Jef, nous perdons un collègue estimé, un bon ami et un mentor exceptionnel. Jef, tu vas nous manquer.”



“De liefde voor landschap en stedenbouw en het grote hart dat hij mens en natuur toedroeg, vormen de rode draad doorheen het leven van Jef.

Gespijsd door goede leermeesters in Nederland, vat hij vanaf 1963 de uitbouw aan van een lange en vruchtbare carrière. De kruisbestuiving tussen de praktijk en de theorie, resulteerde in vooruitstrevende projecten, van een tot dan toe ongekende schaal en complexiteit. Een primeur in die tijd!

Naast zijn docentschap in verschillende scholen in België en in het buitenland, was hij voorzitter van de Belgische beroepsvereniging voor tuin- en landschapsarchitecten van 1972 tot 1990.

Zijn oprechte bezorgdheid over het niveau van de opleiding tot landschapsarchitect en over de uitstraling van het beroep op internationaal vlak, leidde mede onder zijn impuls tot de oprichting van de Europese Federatie voor Landschapsarchitecten (EFLA), die later omgevormd werd tot de Internationale Federatie voor Landschapsarchitecten, regio Europa (IFLA Europe). België nam dankzij die inspanningen een leidende rol op in dit boeiend verhaal. Jef bekleedde verschillende functies: hij was lid van de Algemene Vergadering, penningmeester en voorzitter van de Europese Raad van IFLA. Van 1992 tot 1997 was hij voorzitter en nadien erevoorzitter van EFLA.

Het initiatief en de basistekst voor het eerste internationale landschapscharter, aangenomen te Cambridge in 1979, kwam er dankzij hem.

Delen was zijn missie.

Delen wil zeggen communiceren, in taal en beeld. Zijn vlotte pen, sprankelende taalvaardigheid en pedagogisch vernuft werden ingezet om het rijke begrip ‘landschap’ toegankelijk te maken. De theorie van het scenografische landschap, en het begrip van het sonore landschap ontwikkelde hij dankzij een diepgaande ruimtelijke analyse van
ontwerpen uit het verleden. Zijn kennis van en voorliefde voor de barokke tuinen van André Le Nôtre liggen aan de basis hiervan.

Op onnavolgbare wijze heeft hij het parcours van studenten, collega’s en medewerkers positief beïnvloed en hun passie voor het vak aangewakkerd. Wie dat wou, kon zich laven aan een schier onuitputtelijke bron van nieuwe en best wel vooruitstrevende inzichten, ook al werden ze op Jef’s eigen, atypische manier gebracht. Hij kon niet
fierder zijn dan dat zijn studenten zijn passie oppikten en met de door hem doorgegeven kennis en zijn enthousiasme als inspiratie, verder hun
professionele leven uitbouwen.

Met het heengaan van Jef verliezen we een gewaardeerde collega, een goede vriend, en een uitzonderlijke mentor.

Jef, we zullen je missen.”

Ann Voets, ABAJP/BVTL Delegate to IFLA Europe/IFLA

IFLA Europe
VESTRE Hunter Industries

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1040 Brussel, Belgium

secretariat@iflaeurope.eu GSM: +32  492 319 451 Skype ID: ifla.europe Contact

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