On 30 November 2014 our dear colleague Torild van Eck unexpectedly passed away. Torild has worked for almost 20 years as Secretary General of ORFEUS (Observatories and Research facilities for European Seismology) and was the FDSN (International Federation of Digital Seismographic Networks) Secretary between 2007 and 2013. In both roles his contribution to the seismological community was significant, above all by his quality to organize and communicate with people.
After studying in The Netherlands and Sweden and having worked in Sweden, and Israel and at the Utrecht University (Netherlands), Torild continued his scientific career at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI), shortly after the magnitude 5.8 earthquake (April 1992) in the Netherlands. His work at the KNMI was focused on seismic hazard studies for the Netherlands, one of his expert fields, first in collaboration with colleagues in Belgium and Germany for the Limburg region in The Netherlands. Later, to provide valuable advice to the government and private sector, and more recently his work focused on the seismic hazard study for induced events in the Groningen region.
Around 1996, Torild became Secretary General of ORFEUS, the European organization for broad-band seismology, which together with the ORFEUS Data Center was and is hosted by the KNMI. Gently and naturally, he positioned himself as a spider in the European web of seismology, by hard working and above all by human interaction to become the expert in European seismology, spanning science, technology and management. By leading numerous projects like MEREDIAN, NERIES and NERA his skills brought the European infrastructure for seismology on a very high level.
Torild was a very friendly, modest and gentle person, a warm and always welcome friend, with dedicated time for an in-depth discussion on seismological issues and far beyond, or just for a chat. He always had a positive attitude, a wonderful sense of humor and he respected everyone in the same way, with a smile and without prejudice. Bridging age differences, cultural diversities and geographical distances between people, as if they do not exist, was one of his strongest qualities, always with an open mind. He was universally liked.
He worked hard, with enthusiasm, and dedicated his career with generosity to the broadest seismological community on a national, a European and a global scale, always in the same way: unselfish, constructive and cooperative, a style that we all appreciated so much in him. He was respected by his peers around the world. Torild was convinced that working together in harmony was always beneficial on the long term, and would strengthen both individuals and the group. Therefore he always searched for cooperation with other groups and people within the KNMI, ORFEUS and beyond, and supported people, new ideas and developments to strengthen each of us.
His loss to seismology is enormous, the loss of the person Torild even greater. His ability to get on well with everyone he met is an inspiration for all.
Torild was a good man and we will miss our friend daily.
ORFEUS / KNMI