Remembering Herman Savenije

Remembering Herman Savenije

the Netherlands - 05 June, 2024

|1 January 1953 – 2 June 2024 | It is with deep, deep sadness that we hear of the devasting news that our dear friend and colleague Herman passed away last Sunday. Our sincere condolences to his wife Margreet, children Tim, Menno and Laura, his family and friends, as they come to terms with their great loss – everyone’s great loss…

Herman stood out – and not just for his physical stature, though he certainly had that - but for his larger than life character, his unstoppable energy and enthusiasm, his wisdom and warmth, his laughter and love for life, his joie de vivre… He was a dear friend to so many – and none who met him, and got to know him, could ever forget Herman.

In work, Herman left a great legacy in the world of tropical forestry, forest finance and rural development – his professional passions throughout his life. After graduating from Wageningen University, he spent many years in Latin America and Asia, after which he joined the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture as an international forestry policy advisor and adviser of field projects in the same continents. In 2010 he joined Tropenbos International, where he worked as programme coordinator until his retirement in 2022. He lived his credo: “Kennis en kennissen”, expressing his belief in people and in knowledge as the way to protect and conserve what was dear to him: forests. He will be remembered for his remarkable ability to connect people, no matter their professional background, their nationality or their age. He was “ahead of the curve” in many respects, spotting new developments early and mobilising people to either benefit from them, describing them in his many publications, or mitigating them if they threatened forests. Always taking the bright side of life, looking for solutions and connections.

For many years Herman was a leading light in the European Tropical Forestry Research Network (ETFRN). In the Netherlands, he was one of the founders of the Tropical Forest Association (VTB), a lively community of Dutch forest experts. He was the energy behind the ‘Bossenoverleg’, an informal but regular meetup where government, civil society and companies updated each other about forests and forest policy. And he ran the annual On the Right Track seminar series amongst very many other activities, and producing publications too numerous to mention.

Herman, you will be sorely missed. But you will never be forgotten. Your smile and laughter will remain in our memories forever.

Rest in peace.


Below is a selection of papers and publications that Herman wrote or collaborated on, showing the span of his interest and demonstrating his big contributions to Tropenbos International’s work.