Obituary Paul Lommen

04 July 2019
Staff and students at the MPI are deeply saddened to learn of the death of Mr. Paul Lommen, our long-time head of administration. Paul had just retired at the end of 2017, after 17 years at the Institute.

Paul was a valuable member of our team. His time at the Institute was full of challenges, but he never wavered in his commitment to finding solutions. As the head of administration at the only Max Planck Institute in the Netherlands, he coped admirably, and with great ingenuity, with the conflicts that inevitably arose as we learned how to deal with the (often contradictory) Dutch and German laws to which we are bound.  

Over his 17 years, the Institute changed substantially; new departments opened, old departments closed, and we initiated various small and large building projects. Most notable were the complex project to build the new annex to house the Language and Genetics Department and child language labs, and my own recent, unconventional request for a “woodland fairy path” leading into the child language labs. These were particularly difficult problems, but Paul coped with them all with his usual conscientiousness and aplomb.

Pim Levelt, the Institute’s founder, and a Director since its inception, paid tribute to Paul’s “unwavering dedication, his personal commitment, his warm-heartedness and understanding”. He writes “I remember Paul as a loving, sensitive, always helpful and attentive man”. Antje Meyer, Director of the Psychology of Language department, writes “He was an expert in spotting problems and in anticipating potential problems and their possible long-term consequences, and then worked hard to solve them in creative ways”.

Paul’s life was celebrated on Saturday 6th July during a service at the Pfarrkirche St Cyriakus, in his home town of Weeze. We were privileged to join his family and friends at this event, to say farewell to a valuable colleague. We send his family all our very best wishes, and the strength to share their loss, and their memories, together at this time of mourning.

Caroline Rowland

Managing Director

On behalf of the Directorate

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