Remembering Meto Johan Vroom

Emeritus Professor Landscape Architecture, Wageningen University, the Netherlands

by Marlies Brinkhuijsen and Jeroen de Vries

On the 28th of August 2019 Meto Johan Vroom passed away surrounded by his loved ones, almost 90 years old. From 1966 until 1994 he was chair of the department of Landscape Architecture of Wageningen University. He contributed greatly to the discipline by developing and strengthening a more academic and interdisciplinary approach.

For many years Meto Vroom fostered international collaboration and raised the standards of higher education in the field of landscape architecture. From 1978 to 1982 he was chair of the Committee on Research of the International Federation of Landscape Architecture (IFLA) and from 1990 to 1998 he was chair of the Education Committee of the European Foundation for Landscape Architecture (EFLA). One important task he achieved during this time was the definition of the standards for recognition of landscape architecture programmes and for organising the process of recognition. He led the Visiting Panel that advised schools on the level and content of landscape architecture programmes.

From 2002 – 2006, together with Dušan Ogrin, Olaf Skage and Manuel Ribas Piera, he constituted the Scientific Advisory Board of the LE:NOTRE project belonging to ECLAS. His advice was always acute, systematic and critical, while at the same time supportive of the project. In this role he advised on the development of the ECLAS Guidance on Landscape Architecture Education (2010) that still serves as an important benchmark for landscape architecture schools.

Members of the Scientific Advisory Board of LE:NOTRE: Meto Vroom, Olaf Skage and Manuel Ribas Piera meet at Van Hall Larenstein in Velp in March 2004.

He was also one of the founders of the Landscape Architecture Europe Foundation that selects and publishes exemplary projects of European practice. As chair of this foundation he contributed to the publications Fieldwork (2006) and On Site (2008). Among other standard works for landscape architecture, he authored Outdoor Space (1992) – an overview of Dutch Landscape Architecture projects in the second half of the 20th century – and the Lexicon of Garden and Landscape Architecture (2006), of which a third revised edition will soon be published.

In April 2012 Meto Vroom, applauded by his wife Immelina to the right, receives the Lifetime Achievement Award from ECLAS president Diedrich Bruns.

Personally, Meto Vroom always felt that his contribution to the discipline was modest. In 2014, he published the book Leren kijken (Learning to look, Wageningen’s education and research in garden and landscape architecture), a personal reflection on his career and the development of the discipline. His books show his passion for landscape architecture education, research and professional practice. And that is what ECLAS and LE:NOTRE thank him for.

ECLAS Conference 2019, NMBU, Norway