† Jan Voskens
In Memoriam Jan Voskens To our great sorrow last 12th February 2016 our colleague, Dutch landscape architect Jan Voskens, Extraordinary Member of the Dutch Association of Landscape Architects and IFLA EUROPE Honorary Member, has passed away.
Jan Voskens has always worked with all his heart and soul for the development and the structural organization of the discipline of garden and landscape architecture, both at national and international spheres.
He was graduated in Landscape Architecture at Wageningen University (Netherlands) in 1974, and undertook part of his studies in Massachusetts (USA). As a student he took part in the organisation of the IFLA Congress on the Delta, which took place in the early 1970’s at Wageningen University. His master thesis developed the plan for the first National Park of Curacao, the Cristoffelpark. His proposals are still effective, and have resisted the passing of time and present day conditionings. Already in those days Jan was a man of the world and the international realm. His professional career took place at the engineering firm Grontmij, Zeist, and in the provincial administration of Utrecht, Netherlands. Jan Voskens was for many years a member of the Dutch Association of Landscape Architect (NVTL). He has strived for a Dutch Association for garden and landscape architecture, an association for people who love the discipline, open to everyone, including the interests and the protection of the offical title. The Dutch association NVTL resulted in 1983 from the merger of the Association for garden and landscape architecture (VTL) and the Union of Dutch garden architects (BNT). Consultations on the fusion were conducted at the time by Jan Voskens (and Klaas de Poel) for the VTL and by Roel van Aalderen and Heino Cleveringa for the BNT. For NVTL as early as 1983 he organized, together with the Wageningen education pillar, the ground-breaking two-day “Symposium on Computers and landscape architecture”. Jan has also worked actively for 6 years as a member of the Committee of Admission to the Title of garden and landscape architect on the basis of the Law on the architect title from 1988 to 1994.
For NVTL and “The European Landscape” Foundation, he was one of the organizers of the IFLA Congress 1988 in Rotterdam called “Changing Agriculture, Changing landscapes” on the role of European agriculture in the development of our landscapes. This conference raised a lot of media attention and interest for research, with reports that influenced even national and European policies. For more than 10 years, Jan was the enthusiastic Dutch representative to the International Federation of Landscape Architects (IFLA). In that period, in 1989, he became also one of the founding fathers of the EFLA, the European Foundation for Landscape Architecture. Also in this case he conducted negotiations and one of the important aspects of his input was that the EFLA would be an organization open for anyone that cares about the field. In 2014, at the Silver Jubilee that celebrated the 25 years of existence of EFLA now IFLA EUROPE- in Oslo, he was honored for his role in the creation of EFLA together with the other founders. He was appointed Honorary Member of our Federation. In gratitude for his special commitment to the landscape architecture in general and in specific for the Dutch discipline, the Dutch Associaton NVTL last October 2015 also appointed him to Extraordinary Member.
Though the chronic disease MS earned him the last few decades ever more heavy restrictions, Jan has battled with raised head against this disease. We will remember him as a brave and visionary man with great passion for the profession, the Association and international collaboration.