(Hans in his photoroom, studying one of his photos of Arthur C. Clarke)
I made many friends during my journeys to Sri Lanka. The most treasured of these was with science fiction writer and futurist, Sir Arthur C. Clarke. Arthur had two expat friends he enjoyed having Sunday brunch with -- former US ambassador, James Spain, and Hans Monheimus, both of whom I got to know quite well. Ambassador Spain had lived a fascinating life as a diplomat and was also an author. Hans was born in Holland, but had spent most of his life traveling and living abroad for his employer, Unilever, especially spending a lot of time in Indonesia. He retired to Sri Lanka and, I'm sad to say, passed away a few years ago.
(Hans' photo room was a delight to explore)
I would always visit Hans during each of my trips to Sri Lanka, often several times either at his home, or for dinner and conversation at the Galle Face Hotel where I stayed. He was an interesting man, a great raconteur, an avid international traveler, and a superb amateur photographer (his work being from the pre-digital era). Hans organized enlargements of his many travels into gorgeous over-sized albums, each lovingly crafted, which were a delight to look at. I learned a lot about photography techniques from Hans, especially of the most difficult subject, the human face.
Hans loved art and was an avid collector. The walls of his home were covered floor to ceiling with paintings he'd accumulated throughout his life. These were also a joy to study and I've no idea where they are today. I hope the collection has remained intact.
I'm briefly returning to Sri Lanka next year and I will very much miss my visits with Hans.