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Dick Lompa

Harm Siemens was born in a small town, Oude Pekela in the northern province of Groningen on 1 July 1932.  He was the youngest of six children and his father had a cigar factory.  After a few years the family moved to a larger town, also in Groningen, Winschoten.  Here Harm spent his younger years and the Second World War had an enormous impact on him during this formative period.

There was a large Jewish community in Winschoten and the disappearance of school friends and many shops in the town awakened a concern and a compassion for the “other”.  There was little or no explanation given for these facts and he was left on his own to give them a meaning and a place in who he was becoming.

After reaching young manhood, he decided to study nursing as a profession and a way of helping the other.  He graduated as a nurse and practiced his profession in various hospitals here in the Netherlands.  In 1958 he joined the Deakonen, a religious institution that was dedicated to helping and caring for the sick and the less fortunate.  This was also a very important period in his development as a health care giver.

He continued to work as a nurse in other countries; France, England and the United States. After this, he worked for two years for the Dutch Volunteers in a psychiatric hospital in Nairobi, Kenya.  He was responsible as the only European there to improve the health conditions and general living situations of the many patients there.  This was a great challenge and it was necessary to develop his skills of autonomy and for a communication that transcends cultural differences.  This time in Africa was also the time that his love for horses and riding was intensified.

Upon returning to the Netherlands, he entered the training program in the Higher School for Nursing Science in Leusden.  After graduating from the course, he was  given a position in the school as a member of the teaching staff.  He worked here for many years and dedicated himself to the further professionalization of nursing.  Here he could further develope his management and communication skills. 


Harm wanted to continue his development and applied to the Nederlands Gestalt Instituut for a three year intensive Gestalt psychotherapy training.  This was a very new training program here in The Netherlands at that time.  This was an important learning time for Harm and a year later I also joined the program.  We have both continued to grow in knowledge and skill in the practice and teaching of Gestalt psychotherapy.  In this period, Harm continued his study and was awarded a Master Degree from the University of Mexico.

Harm was the founder of the Nederlands Stichting Gestalt and has continued to work there as an inspiration, a visionary, a teacher and a supervisor until he became ill.  He had also become involved in many Gestalt training programs around the world;  Greece, Russia, Macedonia, Italy, Spain, India, Israel  and Latvia.  For this work, especially his work in India sponsored by HIVOS for the prevention and care of AIDS victims there, he was honored in the year 2000 with a medal and title from her Majesty Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands.

Since his illness and death, many testimonials as to the impact he has made on the private and professional lives of the students from The Netherlands and all these other countries have been sent.  They are very welcome and heartwarming as well as a confirmation of a work well done.

We will now have to part as he enters a journey where I can not accompany him.  My journey will continue here and I will continue to work both in The Netherlands and in other countries to further fulfill his work in his honor.  Harm, you will travel with me in my heart and my memories of the wonderful years that we have been together.  But now I must say goodbye to you, my inspiration, my great love and my best friend.

Dick Lompa

18 February 2010

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