Niels-Erik MathiassenNiels-Erik Mathiassen (1954-2017)

President of AAATE from 2012 to 2013

 Niels-Erik Mathiassen was born on October 28, 1954 in Esbjerg (Denmark). 

In 1977 he married Else-Marie, and moved to Hinnerup (north of the city of Aarhus). Their family was blessed by three children. 

He attended humanistic studies and earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Aarhus, in 1984.  He started his professional career at the Danish School of Education and in 1987 he became ICT consultant at DATCH (Danish Technology Center for Disabled). He worked there until 1992, when DATCH was merged with HMI (the Danish Center for Assistive Technology). At HMI he went on working as ICT consultant (1992-1996) and then became Head of Department (1996-2003), Acting Director (2004) and finally Chef Executive Officer (2005-2012). Shortly after the HMI's closure - due to a reorganization program of the Danish Ministry of Social Affairs - he was employed as Head of Division by Statped (the Norwegian State Special Education Services). He unexpectedly passed away on Wednesday October 18th 2017 in his apartment in Oslo, where he stayed during the business week. 

Niels-Erik was a leading person - a champion in the assistive technology and special education field. He deserves exceptional gratitude for all what he did in the field at both national and international level. We especially remember him as Board Member and President (2012-2013) of AAATE - the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe - and co-founder and vice-president (2006-2012) of EASTIN - the European Assistive Technology Information Network. 

All those who had the privilege of working with him experienced his wisdom, his candor, his positive and constructive attitude and his ability as team leader. Messages posted on social networks by a lot of colleagues and friends after learning of Niels-Erik’s untimely passing away, add many other words to depict his personality: committed, open, welcoming, wise, optimistic, knowledgeable, present, inspiring, enthusiastic, generous, attentive listener, thoughtful of others, making people feel comfortable and happy, able to be your friend along with being your boss, great sense of humour. 

We feel that all these words describe who Niels-Erik was; you could even put “very” in front of each word, because he was really an exceptional good listener, he really gave space to other people and he has really made a difference for many people who had the opportunity to be in touch with him both indirectly (through scientific academic work) and directly (daily side-by-side work).  

We'll miss you, dear Niels-Erik!

Thomas Lyhne and Renzo Andrich 

In remembrance of Niels Erik

I had the opportunity to meet and work with Niels-Erik.

His knowledge and joyfull attitude will be missed.

By Jan Engelen

A great loss

I thank Niels-Erik for you great contribution to advancement of AT space and international collaboration with RESJA.

We keep going with your wish.


By Takenobu Inoue

In memory of Niels-Erik

Honest condolence to Niels-Erik's family and friends, and the Assistive Technology community that lost a great person and a great professional.

Niels-Erik you will be remembered with love and respect...

Katerina Mavrou, Cyprus

By Katerina Mavrou

Thank you Niels-Erik

I would like to present my condolence to Niels-Erik's family and his close people. I got to know Niels-Erik from AAATE work. He was president when I started in AAATE board. He warmly welcomed a new member. I will remember Niels-Erik as warm, kind and also fun person.

Anne Kanto-Ronkanen, Finland

By Anne Kanto-Ronkanen

Loss of a great person

I met Niels-Erik personnaly only a few years ago, when I joined in the AAATE board and immediately liked him very much. He was very warm and friendly, enjoing good things in life, and an outstanding professionnal. I can only join my colleagues to aknowledge that his contrinution in our field is huge and his too way early passing marks a tremendous loss. 

I will miss him as well as a friend and as a colleague. I present my condolence to his family, friends and colleagues. 


By Dominique Archambault

A champion and friend has gone

Niels Eric,

we have been working together in AAATE, EDeAN and in projects. We have tried to advance our filed for the benefit of people with disabilities and for all of us. It was a great honour and tremendous pleasure to meet and collaborate with you. We have had interesting and good times together. You have now gone much too early and you are leaving a huge gap. Our thoughts are with your beloved Family members.

 We will keep your positive and constructive way of doing things in mind. We will try to continue our mission remembering your spirit. Thanks for all your support, your friendship and your contributions. We miss you, but we will never forget!

On behalf of your German colleagues from FTB

Christian Bühler

By Christian Bühler

Thank you Niels-Erik

I would like to present my condolence to Niels-Eriks's family and closen friends. I knew Niels-Erik from AAATE, He was president when I first came to AAATE board. He was very supportative and warm person. Just a few weeks ago I was emailing with him and he was so helpful.  I am happy that I knew him and I will miss him. Times I met him , was great and he was fun person to be around.

Anne Kanto-Ronkanen, Finland

By Anne Kanto-Ronkanen

A great loss

I take part to the mourning of the whole Assistive Technology community for this great loss.

Serenella Besio, Italy

By Serenella Besio

A great loss

I was introduced to Niels-Erik I think about in 2005 during the kickoff of the EASTIN project. Even if I’ve met him just twice during the EASTIN project history I’ve always considered him a skilled professional and a lovely person. I’m so sorry for the sad news.

All my condolences to his family and colleagues.

By Andrea Agnoletto

Thank you, Niels-Erik

On behalf of the Ausilioteca team of AIAS Bologna onlus and of Emilia Romagna's Regional Centre for Assistive Technology, I would like to present our condolence to Niels-Erik's family, close friends and colleagues. We are aware of his contribution to the field and as such to the advancement of AT in Europe. We have had the priveledge to welcome him twice in Bologna for different occoasions and we fully agree with the words written to remember him by Thomas and Renzo. 

On a more personal note, I have the empty feeling of having lost a close friend with whom I have shared many moments of authentic interpersonal communication. He was a great person.   

By Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf

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