End of an era – in memoriam Prof. Dr. Hans Köpp

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It is with great sadness, that EUROPARC learned about the passing of Prof. Dr. Hans Köpp on 23rd of June 2023 at age 85.

With the passing of a generation, we should pause and reflect on their vision and contribution in our lives and society. It is therefore with sadness that EUROPARC reports the recent passing of Herr Köpp. He was one of the founding fathers of EUROPARC and the last to be directly connected to the very beginning of the Federation, working in close collaboration with Dr Alfred Toepfer. Working as a forest scientist, Prof. Dr Hans Köpp was, for a time, executive director of the Federation. However, his main functioning was editor of EUROPARC bulletin from 1973-1985.

EUROPARC share an evening with Prof. Dr. Hans Kopp, in Gut Siggen, regaling stories of the early days of EUROPARC.

As such, he was at the centre of news, information, ideas and connections across the European park’s community and was especially a bridge between East and West Europe. Herr Köpp, shared his inspirational story of how the first Protected Areas in Europe came together, despite the political turmoil and life behind the iron curtain for many early EUROPARC members.

Prof Dr Köpp was also very connected with the Alfred Toepfer Academy for Nature Conservation in Lower Saxony. He began cooperation with strategic partners at home and abroad at an early stage, much of which continues to this day, including EUROPARC’s close and ongoing partnership.

Some EUROPARC members had the privilege to share an evening, with Herr Köpp sharing his fascinating experiences about how the Federation was born and grew, in our 40th anniversary in 2013. It was a privilege to enjoy his witty and engaging stories. EUROPARC captured Herr Köpp’s reflections further, in this lovely film published in celebration of our 50th anniversary.

Herr Köpp was a charming gentleman, full of joy, with twinkling eyes that retained their excitement for the future of EUROPARC. We are lucky to have captured the quiet wisdom of his experience. It is both the end of an era but, too, the relentless forward march of time for the Federation. We look back to his generation with gratitude.

Our deepest condolence goes to the Köpp family.