Hans Dieter Philippen obituary

Hans Dieter Philippen obituary.


The shock was great. May  9 this year very unexpected at the age of 58 our Turtle Survival Alliance Europe vice chair Hans Dieter Philippen passed away. Very peacefully in his sleep. May 13 he was cremated and May 21 his ashes were buried at the Bergerbos cemetery in the Netherlands.

Hans Dieter always lived close to the Dutch boarder and by a lot of Dutch turtle keepers he was sometimes called “an almost Dutchman”.

The TSA Europe not only loses one of her vice chairs but also a very dedicated turtle conservationist.

October 20, 1984 I met him for the first time at a meeting of the Dutch Turtle and Tortoise Society at the Rotterdam Zoo. That day a 32 years long personal friendship began. During the 80ties he guided us to a increasing number of German, Austrian and Swiss turtle keepers and breeders. We visited zoos together and he was a very welcome guest at the Rotterdam. He was advisor for the European Association for Zoos and Aquariums, advisor for the European Studbook Foundation and since 2002 TSA Europe vice chair.

Hans Dieter had the ability to bind people. He did that in a charmy, friendly and co operative way.

His knowledge on fauna and flora was tremendous; he was a living encyclopaedia. Besides that he built up a large library of books, magazines and other references. You never got a “no” for an answer when you asked him something.

On his memory card was written:

There are people in the world,

Having the gift,

To find friends everywhere; and

The best thing a person can leave behind,

is a smile on the face

of those who remember him.

The reptile and amphibian keepers community lost an icon.

Although he is no longer with us he will never be forgotten. His name will endlessly be connected to what we all share the love for animals.

And when we remember him we will indeed do with a smile.

Our condolences go to his wife Elke Grünwald and his family. We wish them strength.


On behalf of the TSA Europe board

Henk Zwartepoorte, TSA Europe chair.

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