In memory of René van der Steen

It is with great sadness that the ECOL Foundation has to announce the sudden death of Supervisory Board member René van der Steen. He was 64 years old.

René had been suffering from ill health for some time but until recently – driven by his great energy and enthusiasm – he was able to continue his work for the Dutch labour union HZC and the ECOL Foundation. However, an operation in early April had a debilitating effect and shortly afterwards it became clear that he would not recover.

René started his career as a trainee crane operator following in his father’s footsteps and joined HZC as an executive in 1998. He was elected chairman by the HZC General Assembly in 2008.

René supported ESTA’s initiative to create a European Crane Operators Licence (ECOL) from the very beginning in 2015 and became a member of the ECOL Expert Committee representing the crane operators’ interests. He had a good insight into operator training issues and brought a vast amount of experience to the table.

When asked by ESTA to join the ECOL Supervisory Board in January 2019 as a board member representing crane operators, he did not hesitate to accept – in spite of his already well-filled agenda.

Everyone involved with ECOL came to know René as an amicable man with a lot of drive and reliability when it came to supporting the interests of the operators. He was also a man with a vast network of contacts among crane companies, a strong supporter of increasing operator professionalism and was a trusted partner for the ECOL Foundation.

His funeral took place earlier this week and everyone at ECOL and ESTA offers our heartfelt condolences to his wife Joke and his children and grandchildren and we wish them strength in this difficult time.

René van der Steen was a unique link between the crane operators, HZC and ECOL. His was a life too short.

René van der Steen
April 27, 1957 – May 3, 2021