Hans van Dijk: “As a scientist you are still a little child”

‘I still feel like a boy’ says biologist Hans van Dyck, “I’m still amazed and that’s important as a scientist.” The biologist has been studying butterflies and other animal species for 25 years. He has been involved in nature from an early age. “I was always a ‘little professor’, my room was like a museum of natural history.” Van Dyck still has that charm.

“I was 16 when I took a guided nature course, I was actually pretty young, but I wanted to do it anyway so I could share that knowledge afterwards.” Soon he will do the same on TV. In a new program with Tom De Kock, the professor will give a science presentation with a few other scientists. “For me it would be about deception.”

brotherly love

Hans van Dijk is the brother of the actor Tom Van Dyck Which you may know from “Het Eiland” and “In de Gloria”. He also has a second brother, run out, who took over the work of the parents. “Three different people, but they all have the same passion and drive for our profession.” Despite the differences, they get along well. “This brotherly love has always been there.”

wonder and admiration

The Dutch behavioral biologist is admired by the biologist Nico Tinbergen Who was the founder of behavioral biology. He and two other scientists won the Nobel Prize in 1973.” This was also due to the creativity with which he worked.

Hans van Dyck used “La trahison des images” in his lessons. Rene Magritte (“Ceci n’est pas une pipe.”) to show that what you see is not always real. “We look through our human glasses from the cage of Homo sapiens to understand other animals. Biologists use knowledge, insight, and technology to understand an animal or a plant.”

The importance of biology

Hans Van Dyck lives in Herentals where it was decided earlier this week that seventy healthy oak trees could remain in Begijnendreef. At first it was decided to dig them all. “I brought this to light. The plan was to remove the old trees and plant new ones to get the same view.”

“You can’t just plant a forest. You can plant trees, but then you won’t have a forest.” Trees have an environmental value that simply cannot be replaced by planting new trees. “It would be a shame to cut down healthy trees with an aesthetic choice.”

The bosom friend of Christoph Lambrecht

Hans van Dyck has been friends with a radio host since kindergarten Christoph Lambrecht who died in 2019 of heart failure. “We’ve known each other since kindergarten, we played together in a sandbox.” They still hang out together during puberty. “Introduce me to new music.” The news of Christophe’s death struck like a bomb. “His death made me look at things differently.”

They were making radio together in the attic. “He gave, my brother Tom had a section where he imitated different characters and I had a column on nature.” Christoph got to know Hans and his brothers all kinds of new music and Hans in turn inspired him with his knowledge of nature.

These are the topics discussed:

TV program

You can watch the science show “Kennismakers” on One this fall.
Would you like to attend the registration? It is possible, click here.

the family

You can listen to the Van Dyck brothers on “De Familie” on Radio 1 on our website.

the book

You can read about the wonderful world of butterflies in his book “The Wood-Nymph Oracle: Of Butterflies and Humans”.

Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (1859) is considered a masterpiece, according to Hans.

He gives some other tips about books:

“The Descent of Man” (The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex) (1871) – Charles Darwin

“Umwelt und Innenwelt der Tiere” (1909) – Jakob Johann von Uexkull.

“Naturalist” (1994) – Edward O. Wilson

The Nature of Nico (2003) – Hans Kroc.

“Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive” (2005) – Jared Diamond.

“Darwin’s Dangerous Idea” (1995) – Daniel C. Dennett.


“One More Time with Feeling” (2016), recorded by Andrew Dominik on Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds recording ‘Skeleton Tree’.

Hans also recommends the new documentary “This Is What I Know Is True” about Nick Cave and Warren Ellis, again by Andrew Dominic.


Hans likes to use René Magritte’s “Ceci n’est pas une pipe” in his lessons.


“We Are Not Alone” by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis. We are not alone here as human beings on this planet.


  • Butterfly – Willie Nelson
  • She’s So Beautiful – Mike Scott / The Waterboys
  • If you want to dance, if you don’t want to – TC Matic
  • d’oiseaux catalog: L’alouette lulu (= Woodlark) – Olivier Messian (performed by Roger Moraro)
  • Soundtrack to “This I Know Is Real”.
  • Peek at Bo – Siouxsie and Banshees
  • Big Mom – Spleen Remedies
  • Sledgehammer – Peter Gabriel (Hardcover by Harry Styles)
  • No Moon in Paris – Marianne Faithfull
  • The White Elephant – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis

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An overview can be found in the Touché archive!

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