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14 May 2013
TERENA Secretary General receives royal honour
Karel Vietsch receiving the Dutch royal insignia. More photos are available at http://on.fb.me/16992jK.

TERENA is pleased to announce that its Secretary General, Karel Vietsch, has been honoured with a royal decoration for his outstanding contribution to research and education networking and the Internet in general.

Appointed an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau, Karel was presented with the Dutch royal insignia by the Vice-Mayor and Alderman of Leiden, Mr. Robert Strijk, during a private ceremony on Monday 13 May.

Karel has continued to show his commitment to research and education networking during the past year, despite an illness that has caused him to be on leave since March 2012. During this time he still provided support and information to TERENA Secretariat staff and participated in some community meetings. Speaking on behalf of the staff, Acting Secretary General Valentino Cavalli said, “we owe a lot of what we are now to Karel and are thrilled that his important contribution to research and education networking has been recognised with this royal honour. We congratulate Karel whole-heartedly on this achievement.”

A celebratory blog page has been set up with more information about Karel’s work and the royal honour bestowed, where it is also possible for anyone wishing to contact Karel to leave a message.

An amiable and tenacious pioneer

Karel’s royal distinction was supported by friends and colleagues from various phases of his career.

From the Dutch Ministry of Education and Sciences, where for a time he headed the Department of Information and Infrastructure, helped to create the Dutch NREN SURFnet and represented the Netherlands in the COSINE (Co-operation for Open Systems Interconnection Networking in Europe) project’s Policy Group, Karel moved to TERENA as Secretary General in 1996. In this role he contributed to the blossoming of RIPE NCC (Réseaux IP Européens Network Coordination Centre) as an independent organisation, participated in ENPG (European Networking Policy Group) and CCIRN (Co-ordinating Committee for Inter-continental Research), played multiple roles in successive generations of the GÉANT project and was an observer in the DANTE Board of Directors, as well as helping to set up Internet security activities in Europe and fostering collaboration in research and education networking in Europe in other ways.

  • “The European research networking infrastructure, the expansion to East European countries, the intercontinental connectivity of European research and thus the node position of the Dutch SURFnet in my opinion are due to a considerable extent to the amiable, intelligent and tenacious commitment of Dr. Karel Vietsch.” - Gerard Weel, a former colleague from the Dutch Ministry of Education and Sciences.
  • “Karel made an indispensible contribution to the healthy development of networking in Europe and ensured that Amsterdam fulfilled a key role in the current Internet.” – Kees Neggers, former CEO of SURFnet.
  • “I am of the opinion that Karel’s contribution to the self-management of the Internet was crucial in its formative period. Without Karel the Internet in Europe would perhaps have been less successful.” – Daniel Karrenberg, Chief Scientist at RIPE NCC.
  • “Making all European countries collaborate in research and education networking is a great achievement, and the fact that this has been accomplished is very much due to the dedication and extraordinarily hard work put in by Karel Vietsch.” – Dorte Olesen, former president of TERENA.
  • "Karel has played a significant and influential role in the GÉANT projects and has been a very active member of the NREN Policy Committee and the Executive Committee. He has led TERENA's participation over many years and has been a highly valued member of the Project Management Team. Karel is an exceptional individual, recognised across the community for his professionalism and dedication to research and education networking. I am extremely proud to be able to congratulate Karel in his achieving this very well deserved and prestigious award." - Matthew Scott, Joint General Manager of DANTE.
  • “Karel played a distinctive and inspiring role in helping to set up Internet security in Europe, in cooperation with the rest of the world. Typically, he never felt himself too good for any task, and in this way he set a good example.” - Don Stikvoort, who worked closely with Karel over many years on TRANSITS security training, Trusted Introducer and TF-CSIRT.

Further information

An album of photos from the ceremony is available on the TERENA Facebook page.

More information about the Order of Orange-Nassau.

Karel is the third Dutch Internet pioneer to have received royal recognition in the past few years: Kees Neggers (SURFnet) received an award in 2012 and Rob Blokzijl (RIPE NCC) in 2010.