Navigation – Plan du site

AccueilTransversalitésDossiers1998La science régionale : Journées d...New models explaining regional ev...

La science régionale : Journées d'études en l'honneur de Jean Paelinck

New models explaining regional evolution in Europe. Contributions to an international conference in honour of Professor J.H.P. Paelinck Tinbergen Institute, Rotterdam, June 16-17, 1995

Nouveaux modèles explicatifs de l'évolution régionale en Europe. Contributions à une conférence internationale en l'honneur de J.H.P. Paelinck.
Pierre-Henri Derycke et Michel Mignolet

Entrées d’index

Haut de page

Texte intégral

1At the end of the academic year 1994-95, Professor J.Paelinck left the chair of spatial theory he occupied at the Erasmus University in Rotterdam for several decades. On this occasion, his disciples – in particular, Hans KUIPER and Riccardo GIRARDI - and numerous colleagues and friends organised on June 16-17 an International Conference held at the Tinbergen Institute. About forty spatial analysts and regional science specialists, belonging to 10 different countries, were present at this event. They came from Germany, Belgium, Canada, United States, France, Great Britain, India, Japan, Poland and Switzerland. Several personalities, and among them Walter Isard, the founding father of regional science, and Martin Beckmann as well as an imposing delegation of ASRDLF (French Speaking Regional Science Association) presented some 15 communications.

2A publication of the conference proceedings was foreseen at that time, but the project came up against some difficulties. Financial and editorial problems and substantial delays encountered by the person in charge of the editing process, Riccardo Girardi, finally led the officers of the ASRDLF to seek for Internet diffusion, via Cybergéo (the electronic European Journal of Geography), thanks to courtesy of Denise Pumain. We take this opportunity to thank her faithfully for her warm welcome.

3The themes investigated by the authors - modelling and regional policies, problematic of location, polarisation, centrality, innovations diffusion, and so on....- will show the diversity of scientific interests of Jean Paelinck. The contributions gathered in this special issue will be detailed at the end of the introduction. We propose to describe first the main features of the work and personality of Jean Paelinck.

4Jean Paelinck was born in Belgium in 1930. After sparkling studies, he hesitated between an academic and artistic career. He received indeed the first award in piano at the Liège conservatory of music. His interest for economics was stronger and he prepared a thesis on transportation demand elasticity applied to the Belgium case at the University of Liège. After working in economic planning and policy, he became professor of economics at the Faculties of Namur before joining the Rotterdam Erasmus University. He created there the Department of Theoretical Spatial Economics and soon, became the head of the well-known Netherlands Economic Institute. After classical studies (his thesis and several contributions to the study of production function and macroeconomics problems), he focused mainly on spatial theory, spatio-temporal econometrics and theoretical and applied problems of regional policies. Jean Paelinck showed a peculiar interest for developing countries, where he is frequently asked as a consultant. We owe him such diversified contributions as the FLEUR model (Factors of Location in Europe) or the multicriteria method QUALIFLEX. He attracted many disciples, who ensured the fame of the Rotterdam School : Ancot, Girardi, Gravensteijn, Kuiper, Mastenbroek, Molle, Nijkamp, Ten Raa, Van den Berg ...

5Jean Paelinck's work is very significant : some 50 books and more than 250 papers, mainly in English, French and Dutch. From those publications we can distinguish some well-known writings which symbolise his contributions and those of the Dutch School to the spatial theory and econometrics : Operational Theory and Methods in Regional Economics (1975), Spatial Econometrics (1979), Formal Spatial Economic Analysis (1983), Eléments d’analyse économique spatiale (1985). His recent research is highly specialised (for example, on the Tinbergen - Bos - Manhattan system) and takes place in numerous collective books or reviews. Through this scientific work, which today continues to take place in the United States, Germany and Japan, he will soon earn the recognition of his peers. In France, he was one of the first Chairman of the ASRDLF (Association founded in 1961 jointly with F. Perroux and W. Isard) and became the Honour Chairman in the seventies. In 1981, he acceded to the presidency of the RSA and defended in his " Presidential Address " a personal and rigorous conception of interdisciplinary practices in regional science (issue which he will broaden in his farewell speech " Denken en Structuren " at the Erasmus University on the 16th of June 1995).

6He was appointed Doctor Honoris Causa in 7 universities and the RSA awarded him the " Founder’s Medal " in 1997.

7Jean Paelinck’ scientific influence has been significant, not only in Rotterdam but as well :

  • in Belgium (his native country) where he found many followers such as T. de Biolley, F.- X. de Donnea, C. Jaumotte, M. Mignolet, H. Zoller to mention only a few persons who are particularly indebted to him for the elaboration of their thesis ;

  • in France through the Dijon’ Spatial School founded by C. Ponsard with which he established close connections ;

  • in the rest of the world by his relations with German, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek and African countries colleagues.

8If Jean Paelinck’ scientific work is impressive and considered to be essential reading for any spatialist, the personality of the man himself is very charming and multifaceted. His keenness is as slippery as a swaying eel which he is named after in Dutch (indeed, at some occasion, he loves to sign his works under his Latin name " Ioannes Anguilla ").

9We must not forget to mention that he is a gifted pianist and is very talented for improvisations. Moreover, he is a polyglot, switching easily from Tchek to Dutch or from Esperanto to Wolof without omitting the Latin which he loves to sprinkle with allusions. Talking about Jean Paelinck, one cannot omit to mention his taste for wine, Belgian jokes, French songs, his passion to collect the most diverse musical instruments and the most prestigious titles of Doctor Honoris Causa, would be a lack to his tribute.

10Going back to the scientific field, Jean Paelinck has not his equal to comment with a touch of humour the most difficult technical questions and to imitate in verses (including Latin verses) the most serious issues of the spatial theory. He also excel in presenting in some precise and dazzling sentences the summary of symposium debate, even the most complex or boring ones. Jean Paelinck‘s constant availability of mind, his pleasant manner, his rigour and his productivity justify without any doubt the gratitude of the International Scientific Community and the great esteem of his peers. The present special issue of Cybergéo will be a mark of our gratitude.

Haut de page

Pour citer cet article

Référence électronique

Pierre-Henri Derycke et Michel Mignolet, « New models explaining regional evolution in Europe. Contributions to an international conference in honour of Professor J.H.P. Paelinck Tinbergen Institute, Rotterdam, June 16-17, 1995 », Cybergeo: European Journal of Geography [En ligne], Dossiers, document 41, mis en ligne le 02 février 1998, consulté le 02 octobre 2023. URL : ; DOI :

Haut de page


Pierre-Henri Derycke

University of Paris X – Nanterre, France, Past-President of ASRDLF

Articles du même auteur

Michel Mignolet

University of Namur, Belgium

Articles du même auteur

Haut de page

Droits d’auteur


Le texte seul est utilisable sous licence CC-BY-4.0. Les autres éléments (illustrations, fichiers annexes importés) sont « Tous droits réservés », sauf mention contraire.

Haut de page
Rechercher dans OpenEdition Search

Vous allez être redirigé vers OpenEdition Search