Hansgeorg (Hans) Schlichtmann+

Professor Emeritus

Obituary for Hansgeorg Schlichtmann

(originally published in Pairie Perspectives: Geographhical Essays, 2021, 22:36)

Hansgeorg Schlichtmann (known to colleagues as Hans) was born in East Prussia and grew up in Hannover, West Germany. After studying geography at the universities in Göttingen and Tübingen, Hans received his degree of Dr. phil. in geography in 1967 from Eberhard-Karls-Universität, Tübingen. From 1966 to 1970, he worked as a research officer at the Federal Research Institution for Geography and Planning in Bonn. In 1970, he accepted a teaching position from what was then the University of Saskatchewan, Regina Campus.
After arriving in Regina, Hans taught geography and cartography and was quickly promoted to the rank of full professor. After his retirement from the University of Regina in 2005, he became Professor Emeritus. Hans continued to be an
active researcher working on his projects and publications and attending conferences during his retirement.
Hans’s areas of professional interest were cultural geography, historical geography, geography of settlements and, more recently, cartography (with emphasis on cartosemiotics). His research in cartosemiotics stands in the semiotic tradition of continental Europe. In the International Cartographic Association, he served as chairman of the Working Group on Map Semiotics (1995–1999) and as vice-chairman of the Commission on Theoretical Cartography (1999–2007). In the former capacity he edited Map semiotics around the world (1999). He co-edited the discussion-paper series Kartosemiotik/Картосемиотика (1994–1995) and was co-editor of the successor series Diskussionsbeiträge zur Kartosemiotik und zur Theorie der Kartographie (2012). In 2011, he published Cartosemiotics: A Short Dictionary, the first dictionary of the field written in English.
Throughout his career, Hans was a teacher and a scholar with very high standards; always thorough and uncompromising. He was highly respected by his students as well as by his colleagues. Colleagues and students who got to know him better experienced his inner warmth, compassion and mentorship.
Hans was a rather private man, not too fond of social gatherings and seemed often difficult for his students to approach. But when students showed genuine interest in his assistance, he would move the earth for them and explain anything
to the greatest detail. His recall of facts and literature on an array of subjects—even beyond geography—was legendary. The students who dared break through his sheath of inscrutability to waylay him on his way home after his long hours in the library or office were richly rewarded. When they bought him a round at the campus bar, they got a glimpse of his kindness, wry humour and gentle nature.
Dr. Hans Schlichtmann passed away unexpectedly on May 31, 2020. Hans is survived by his wife Ingeborg, his daughter Esther (Christian) and two grandchildren, Nicholas and Brookelyn.

Ulrike M. Hardenbicker
University of Regina