Henk’s passion lays in protecting (wetland) biodiversity without losing sight of the sustainable use of it.
He started working for the State Forest Service of the Netherlands as a manager of protected areas in the southern part of the country during which period he was among those responsible for the successful restoration of the biggest fen lake of the Netherlands and the restoration of excavated peatlands.
After that he coordinated the process that led to the designation of De Biesbosch (a delta area in the confluence of the Meuse and Rhine Rivers) as a National Park before becoming the coordinator of the Central and Eastern European Programme of Wetlands International (1998–2002) where he was responsible for the elaboration of the Central European Peatland Strategy and for the design and implementation of various wetland restoration projects. After leaving Wetlands International he worked as senior expert and project manager on water and ecosystem governance at the Centre for Development Innovation (CDI) of Wageningen UR (2002-2015).
During this period he was project manager of projects in Slovakia, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Serbia and lastly in Ukraine to support the implementation of the EU Habitats and Birds Directives. He also designed and provided various training on the EU Birds and Habitats Directives as well as on protected areas management, on wetland management and on IWRM in among others Armenia, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ghana, Montenegro and Turkey. Through his involvement in projects in the Carpathian region and in the MENA countries (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine) Henk acquired expertise in assessing vulnerability of ecosystems to climate change, in designing ecosystem-based adaptation measures and in strengthening resilience of socio-ecological systems.
Since he left CDI Henk established his own firm and has been involved in project evaluation and project development and in providing training on wetlands, food security and climate change. He is amongst others, advisor of the WG on Climate Change Adaptation of the Carpathians and an active member of Eurosite.