European Seismological Commission

In Memory of Torild van Eck

A message from the ESC Executive Committee President Wolfgang Lenhardt:

Torild Van EckTorild van Eck sadly passed away on the 30th of November 2014. He remains known to us as 'the' ORFEUS-representative ( since 1997, when he became its Secretary General. Many of us have known Torild from EU-projects such as (2000-2005), NERIES 2006-2010 ( and NERA (2010-2014, Many years after he served as Assistant Professor at the University of Utrecht (1990-1996), Torild recognized the importance of seismic date exchange and became General Secretary of ORFEUS in 1997, a position he held since then. In addition, he took on the responsibilties of the Secretary for the FDSN (2008-2013,, thus enhancing the seismological connections across the Atlantic and strengthening the world-wide observation of earthquakes and seismic tremors, including those induced by human activity. Torild van Eck will not only be missed by seismologists, but by all people who have had the privilege of knowing him for his knack of bringing people together.

A message from Reinoud Sleeman (KNMI / ORFEUS)

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 having worked in Israel, Sweden 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 Limburg. 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 project 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.








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ESC/SSA Travel Grant to attend the 2024 SSA Annual Meeting in Anchorage, Alaska

Apply for the ESC/SSA travel grant by the deadline of 30 November 2023! Seismologists from any member state of the ESC are eligble to apply. We encourage in particular students and early-career researchers to consider applying. More information can be found here.

From the ESC Working Groups:

Visit the website of the WG Preservation, valorisation and analysis of seismological legacy data

Visit the website of the WG Harmonizing Internet Macroseismology in Europe 

Contribute to the Portal of the ESC WG on Communication here

Get to know the website of the FAULT2SHA Working Group and find out forthcoming activities! The WG promotes a new initiative, open to all researchers interested in contributing to discussions on topics that could improve the assessment of seismic hazard.


Find out about the Young Seismologist Training Course here.


What were the past General Assemblies of the ESC like? Find out! Interesting documentation has been made easily accessible.

This list summarizes the files.


Sadly we announce the loss of esteemed and beloved colleagues and friends:

Older obituaries can be found here.