In Memoriam Tannetje Hendrika Schoonheim

Den Haag 1965 – Leiden 2020

To our great dismay and sorrow, our dear colleague Tanneke Schoonheim passed away unexpectedly on August 25. Tanneke spent her entire working life at the Institute for Dutch Lexicology (INL), later the current Dutch Language Institute (INT).

Tanneke was born in 1965 and studied Dutch in Leiden from 1983 to 1987. Teachers from that time remember her as one of their most brilliant students, but also as one of the nicest and warmest. In 2004 she obtained her doctoral degree with a thesis entitled "Vrouwelijke persoonsnamen in Holland en Zeeland tot het jaar 1300" (Female person names in Holland and Zeeland up to the year 1300), supervised by Prof. Dr. P.G.J. van Sterkenburg.

Tanneke started her career at the institute, first as an intern in 1987 and in 1988 as editor of the Dictionary of Early Middle Dutch and continued later as editor and editor-in-chief of the Dictionary of Old Dutch. She was one of the few linguists with considerable expertise in Old Dutch. She eventually became head of the department, responsible for the lexicographic description of historical and contemporary Dutch, and as such also editor-in-chief of the ANW (Dictionary of Contemporary Dutch). She was also one of the chief editors of the Etymological Dictionary of Dutch. At the renewed INT, she was one of the senior linguists, and heavily involved in the development of the institute's strategy and planning. Her unique ability to combine substantive work, planning, organization and financial reporting was key in keeping the INT running.

Characteristic of her professional career were her drive and will to assume responsibility; she loved her institute with all her heart and soul and was dedicated to making valuable linguistic products. But also on a personal level, she was a rock. She was the one to whom colleagues could turn to with concerns and problems, big or small.

After the relaunch of the INL as INT in 2016, Tanneke keenly embraced the opportunity to help shape this new, much broader-oriented language institute, and helped to expand the INT with numerous new initiatives, both in contemporary and historical Dutch. She welcomed the dialect project of the University of Ghent, "Dictionary of the Southern Dutch Dialects" and worked together with a whole team on the creation of an integrated database with a unique map application, which will be presented at the end of September 2020. Besides, she also contributed to the further development of the terminology expertise center. Together with a group of colleagues, she designed a medical pilot, encompassing specialized terminology, general language and dialect variants.

When the INT had to move to Rapenburg in 2018 because of major renovation works of Leiden University, she was the one who enthusiastically helped to furnish the building. Roll up your sleeves and get to work, that's how Tanneke was.

International projects were also right up her alley: she skillfully managed the highly successful COST action "European Network of e-Lexicography" (ENeL) which grew into a wonderful network of more than 230 partners. Tanneke also took part in the COST action "European Network for Combining Language Learning with Crowdsourcing Techniques" (enetCollect), in the context of which she designed a new tool "Taalradar" together with INT's IT group.

Tanneke was a key figure on the executive board of Euralex and co-organized a number of conferences. The Dutch Dialect Foundation could also count on her as a board member. Furthermore, she was chair of the Spelling Commission of the Taalunie (Union for the Dutch Language). She left an impressive list of publications.

Tanneke was also very active in Leiden in various associations and was always eager to learn and discover new things.

The year 2020 announced itself splendidly: the INT declared it the 'Matthias de Vries Year' because on 9 November 2020 it will be exactly two hundred years ago that the Dutch language and literature expert was born. She played an important role in planning beautiful events (such as the Matthias de Vries walk through Leiden) and carefully revised the upcoming book on the history of the institutes INL and INT.

Tanneke will be remembered for her enormous talent for the study of language and above all as a positive, warm and joyful person, extremely kind and supportive. Nobody could have foreseen that the year 2020 would take such a dramatic turn. We will miss her very much.

Friends and colleagues who would like to express their condolences can leave a personal message here.

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