News and events Tilburg University

In Memoriam Fons van de Vijver (TSHD)

Published: 04th June 2019 Last updated: 29th October 2019

On Saturday, June the 1st, our beloved colleague Fons van de Vijver passed away at the age of 66 in Maidenwell, Queensland, Australia. Fons and his wife Lona looked forward to settling in Queensland even before the retirement of Fons. They had built their cosy home on their small land. After Fons retired in June 2018, they moved to Australia to live there permanently. Fons and Lona loved living in Maidenwell and got connected with all the people in the surroundings.

Even though Fons retired, he was involved in multiple ongoing projects. We continuously interacted online and he was always available for our students and colleagues. We continued publishing and supervising PhD students together. He was going to fly to Schiphol on the 17th of June for a PhD defense at Tilburg.

Fons van de Vijver has been known as a very fit and healthy person. He regularly exercised and was very careful with his diet. He loved biking in the national parks around Maidenwell in Queensland. In the early morning of Saturday, June the 1st, Fons went out for biking. He was found lying down next to his bicycle by people on the roadside. He apparently had a heavy brain haemorrhage while biking. His wife Lona Goudswaard was called onto the scene and accompanied Fons to a Brisbane hospital by a trauma helicopter. After few hours, he was declared dead.

Unexpected and early farewell of Fons van de Vijver shocked everyone who knew him. We lost a wonderful colleague, a great friend and an excellent scholar. Fons had an impressive track-record. He has supervised more than 40 PhD studies and 10 post-doc studies. He has presented keynotes and invited lectures at various conferences and workshops in various countries. He is one of the most frequently cited cross-cultural psychologists in Europe.

He has received grants from various Dutch institutions (such as NWO and WOTRO), European Union (Marie Curie), South African Netherlands Research Programme on Alternatives in Development, and South African National Research Foundation. He was a member of numerous professional organizations such as International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology, International Association of Applied Psychology, European Association of Psychological Assessment, International Academy for Intercultural Research, and the International Test Commission. He was the former editor of the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, and served on the board of various journals. He had been vice-dean for research and vice-dean for education of TSB and vice-director of Babylon.

Professor Fons van de Vijver was a very special person. He was a committed scholar with great integrity. Academia lost a very productive and hard-working scholar. Fons has inspired many young scholars and he will continue to live in our minds and hearts. Our grief is overwhelming, but we are grateful to Fons for what he has done for academia and for humanity.

Our thoughts are with his wife Lona Goudswaard. We wish her all strength.

Prof. dr. Kutlay Yagmur (Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences)