The renowned Dutch cross-culture psychologist, Alphonsius Josephus Rachel (Fons) van de Vijver suffered a brain haemorrhage on 1 June while he was cycling near his home in the village of Maidenwell, Brisbane, Australia. He was airlifted to the Princess Alexandra hospital in Brisbane, but never regained consciousness and subsequently passed away.
Fons held a chair in cross-cultural psychology at Tilburg University, the Netherlands and an extraordinary chair at both North-West University (WorkWell research unit) in South Africa and the University of Queensland in Australia; he was also senior researcher at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Russia.
Fons is one of the most frequently cited cross-cultural psychologists in Europe. He authored or co-authored over 400 publications covering methodological aspects of cross-cultural comparisons (bias and equivalence), psychological acculturation, multiculturalism, cognitive similarities and differences in the cognitive domain, indigenous personality, response styles, translations and adaptations.
He had numerous editorial roles, among them the editorship of the Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology. He was also the past editor-in-chief of JCCP, and former president of the European Association of Psychological Assessment and the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology. In 2012 he was part of the organizing committee which hosted the 21st International Congress of the International Association for Cross-Cultural Psychology (IACCP) that took place in Stellenbosch. This was a satellite conference of the 30th International Congress of Psychology (ICP) which took place in Cape Town.
Fons supervised five post-doctoral students and 40 PhD students, five of whom were from South Africa, where Fons invested 17 years in the development of cross-cultural psychology. He was keynote speaker at local South African conferences and international conferences hosted in South Africa (SIOPSA, IACCP, ICP and WAPP). He was also involved in a major project to develop an indigenous personality inventory for South Africa and other projects relating to identity, acculturation and wellbeing as well as diversity in the workplace.
His research collaborators in South Africa and others who knew Fons as an intellectual giant in his field remarked on his gentleness. He was humble, he treated people with dignity and respect and he was always ready to help those who asked for his assistance. Fons was a son of South Africa and his legacy will live on in Africa. He will be dearly missed.
A memorial page has been created for Fons where everyone can share memories, pictures, videos or other material associated with their experiences with him – link: www.remembr.com/en/fons.vandevijver