Tilburg School of Humanities

Communication, Culture, Philosophy, Religion and Liberal Arts and Sciences

In memoriam Koen Jaspaert (1956-2017)

Last Friday, September 8th, Koen Jaspaert passed away from the effects of ALS. He was 61 years old.

In the 1980s Koen was a member of the Werkverband Taal en Minderheden of Tilburg University, one of the predecessors of the department of Culture Studies (TSH). His main research then as a sociolinguist was in the field of maintenance and loss of immigrant languages.

In 1990 he became the founding director of the Steunpunt Nederlands als tweede taal  (now Center for Language and Education) at the University of Leuven. There he was the driving force in developing and implementing a task oriented approach in language teaching. 

From 1998 to 2004 he was appointed Secretary General of the Nederlandse Taalunie. He managed to move the user of Dutch instead of just the language into the organization's central focus. In 2004 he went back to Leuven where he became engaged again in teaching and research in the field of sociolinguistics and business communication and in supervising PhD students. 

Koen was a committed and creative scholar who ventured off the beaten tracks and strongly inspired the many colleagues and students he collaborated with. He moreover was a dear and loyal friend to those near to him.

Our thoughts are with his wife Els Beerten, his children and grandchildren.

Sjaak Kroon