hans groen *17 09 1959 - †11 08 2022

tidbits about hans

I was born in Amsterdam, and am married to Scott Owen. I studied Philosophy at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) and at the ICS in Toronto, graduating in 1986. Got my PhD in 1990; my thesis was Justice without Consensus, on John Ralws’s A Theory of Justice; promotor was prof.dr. Henk E.S. Woldring (VU).

favourite philosophers

I am not a follower of a particular school of thinking. I like Karl Popper because of the clarity of his reasoning. Alasdair MacIntyre’s After Virtue gave me essential insight in the narrative of philosophy and moral reasoning. Researching anything, I would always check if Hannah Arendt or Sheila Benhabib have written about that issue.


Currently, I am member of the Cantorij van de Nieuwe Kerk Groningen. Before, I sang in the Sweelinck Cantorij of the Oude Kerk, Amsterdam. Much fun I had in my beloved Koor Nieuwe Muziek (Choir New Music). The Koor Nieuwe Muziek was a semi-professional choir which specialized in contemporary music, i.e., roughly anything composed after 1900 (Charles Ives, Elliot Carter, Mauricio Kagel, Louis Andriessen, Peter Schat, etc.). Each year, (Dutch) composers got commissions to write pieces for us. In 1994 the choir was awarded the Prize for Dutch Choir music.
The choir performed with the Royal Concertgebouworkest, The Residentie Orkest, The Dutch Chamber Orchestra, the Willem Breuker Collectief, etc. Due to all kinds of reasons, it turned into a purely professional choir and in 2004 it ended its activities.

favourite music

Hard to name anything specific; in general, vocal music. Special interests: anything which is not yet, or not anymore tonal:

(Too) Late Romantics: Schönberg’s Verklärte Nacht (Scott gets seasick from this music!);

Bruckner (listen to Nicolaus Harnoncourt and his Bruckner 3 with the Royal Concertgebouworkest).

And for singing: anything with a clear order which makes the music readable — with Morton Feldman one needs a tuning fork (but it is fun to pitch the chords), after three pieces by Peter Schat, to give an example, I felt what he was doing (an amazing ‘aha-Erlebnis’), and ‘doing’ J.S. Bach is like singing in a straight jacket (the structure is flawless and therefore not really interesting anymore).

Rule of thumb for me: I enjoy anything which is written with taste and anything which is performed with love for the music.


Abel Herzberg: Tweestromenland (about his stay in KZ-lager Bergen-Belsen);
Heinrich Böll: Biljart um halbzehn (a powerful metaphor of 20th century Germany and Europe);
Margaret Atwood: Cat’s Eye (so you understand girls);
Machiavelli: Il Principe and Thomas Hobbes: Leviathan (so you understand people).

going on ahead

On 11 August 2022, while on a short cycling-trip to Germany, Hans passed away peacefully in his sleep. He was passionate about cycling, music, photography and language, even more passionate about Social Democracy and the European Project, but his foundation was an unwavering Christian faith, which he didn’t just profess, but by which he lived.

His funeral was held in Amsterdam, his Jerusalem.