In memoriam Rein Ahas


Geograafide pere on tabanud suur kaotus. 18. veebruaril lahkus ootamatult Tartu Ülikooli inimgeograafia professor Rein Ahas. Seda kaotust on raske sõnadesse panna. Meie mõtted on raskel hetkel Reinu pere ja lähedastega.

Geography and the academia is facing a heavy loss. Rein Ahas, Professor in Human Geography at the University of Tartu, passed away on Sunday, February 18, at the age of just 51. This is a loss difficult to put into words. We are in deep mourning.

I was on holidays when I saw the almost surreal message titled “Prof Rein Ahas funeral details”. For a second I hoped it was some kind of joke by Rein. Not.
Ten years ago, we started reflecting about using mobile phone data for our tourism statistics, but a ‘proactive’ mail received from an Estonian professor was the spark, the boost to really launch this kind of research work at Eurostat. Not so long ago, we were joking that we should establish 17 May (the day of that mail back in 2010) to become World Big Data day. Just to say what an inspiration Rein was for us and for our work. It was truly a privilege to work with Rein on mobile positioning data. Always forward-looking, always result-oriented, always with a (slightly mysterious) smile. You will be missed, Rein!
My deepest condolences to Rein’s family and colleagues.

Christophe Demunter, EUROSTAT.

Я знал профессора Рейна Ахаса с осенью (ноября месяця) прошлого года, когда встретился с ним на кафедре общественной географии в Тартуском университете. Добрый и очень приятный человек! Разговаривали около полчаса (оба на разломанном русском). С большим энтузиазмом он мне показал некоторые свои научные работы. Работы на очень высоком уровне! Обещали друг другу о сотрудничестве. Узнал вчера о его смерти по интернету. Очень жаль… большая потеря для эстонской географии… Я уверен, что творчество профессора Ахаса останется для будущих поколений географов, подтверждая высокого уровня тартуской географической школы, а его имя запомнится в одном ряду с такими колосами тартуской географии как Сальме Ныммик и Удо Праги. Вечная ему память!

Вилиян Крыстев,
доцент, кандидат географических наук Экономического университета Варны (Болгария)

Reinul on olnud minu elus suur roll, võibolla suurem kui ta ise seda teadis. Rein oli õppejõud, kolleeg, juhendaja läbi kolme teaduskraadi, mentor, perekonnatuttav ja sõber. Reinul oli keskne roll minu otsuses jätkata õpinguid nii magistri- kui doktoriõppes. Rein oli see, kes kutsus Eesti Rohelisse Liikumisse, millest sai minu esimene töökoht. Tänu Reinule puutusin kokku organisatsiooniga, kus olen praeguseks töötanud üle 15 aasta. Meenutan mitmeid kordi erinevates eluetappides, kus pöördusin Reinu poole, saamaks nõu või julgustust. Viimastel aastatel veetsime aega eelkõige sõpradena, arutasime elu üle ja vaatasime kuidas meie lapsed koos mängivad.

Reinul oli alati usku. Ka nendel aastatel kui mu doktoriõpingud jäid venima, ei heitnud ta meelt. Tasaselt kuid kindlalt julgustav, positiivne, elurõõmus ja toetatav. Just sellisena jääb Rein meelde. Reinuga kohtudes ei muutunud elu kunagi väiksemaks vaid sai alati suuremad mõõtmed!

Reinu lugu elab edasi läbi inimeste, kelle elu ta puudutas. Minu lugu on vaid üks nende paljude, paljude hulgas, milles jääb kajama Reinu särav puudutus!

Aitäh Sulle Rein kõige eest!

Hando Hain

Me ei uskunud
Aga sa ikkagi oled seal
Sa lamad seal

Su kirstu kõrval seisab su pere,
Vanad ja noored
Mõned liigagi noored
Lisaks kulmukaarele
Ja ninajoonele
On ka see neil viimastel ühine sinuga
Te olete selleks liiga noored

Ka meie seisame
Klimp kurgus ja silmad vesised
Mõtteteravus vajunud
halli uttu.

Me keegi ei usu,
Et sa nüüd kohe ei nihuta end
Ei keera end ringi
Sest kõhuli on ju mugavam
Või ei ärka, ei tõuse
Ja ei hakka sebima

Aga sa ei hakka
Me ju teame seda
Kuigi ei taha

Nii me seisame
Ja otsime tuge
Vaatame läbi udu
Kuid südames on tänu
Et tulid
Õpetasid oma olekuga
Ja andsid edasi ning tagasi
Ja ülevoolavalt
Ikka hingega kohal

Sina läksid aga meie jääme
Silmades kurbus hajub aeglaselt
Ja ebaühtlase kiirusega
Kuid siiski
Kui laulame su sõnu
Ja vaatame üksteisele silma
Ja südamesse
Ja homsesse
Mis tuleb ja tervitab
Ja kutsub edasi

Jäävad su naerulohud
Su pere naerulohkudeks
Su peopesad
Teistele pidulistele
Su mälestus
Meile kõigile

Oli au

Mari Nuga

On 26th February in the memorial ceremony of Rein:

Dear Rein, family and friends of Rein, university colleagues,

A week has passed since the sad news, but still their meaning is difficult to comprehend. There is such a conflict between Rein’s energetic character and knowledge that he has passed away.

I got to know Rein probably more recently than many of you. When we had just met, some 5 years ago, Rein invited me to give a lecture in Tartu and to discuss about collaboration. He had organised the possibility for travelling from different sources in a creative way. At some point of the preparation I was delayed with my emails. He pushed, kindly but determined, saying that this is really important, let’s do this now.

This is how I knew him later too in all occasions. He was effective and determined. He had a remarkable skill of seeing opportunities and a persistent can-do attitude for advancing important things. And he seemed to know what is important. He was a visionary leader. He was able to put Tartu and Estonia, and even geography as a discipline to the global map on the research of mobility, big data and smart cities, and to advance and shape the entire field of science through his many activities.

I think Rein’s spirit has particularly well been demonstrated in Mobile Tartu conferences. The conferences produced usually one or two special issues even if small in size. Over the years, Rein brought huge number of so called big names of mobility research to Tartu, probably again pushing kindly, saying that this is important. His person was so full of energy, ideas and positiveness, and proudness of being Estonian, that is was difficult to resist.

In Mobile Tartu scientists have come together not only to talk about the cutting edge research questions, but also to interact as humans, teaming up for Anto’s pub quizzes, enjoying the homey Estonian music performances or late night drinks by the Emajõgi. The special feeling was built with small things, gestures that many appreciated. When I gave a keynote speech in the conference, Rein didn’t gift me the normal university scarf or a t-shirt, which would have been nice as well, but a thoughtfully selected Estonian poem book translated to my own language, Finnish, urging me to learn more about the country and culture.

Reins character was humane in all respects. He was approachable, human sized professor, who was not too serious about himself, even if he was serious about the research. That made him personal friends with many, as we have heard.
For me, as I assume for many others, Rein was in a way a role model. We shared a background in physical geography, curiosity for nature, passion for winter sports and scientific interest on human mobility. He was a collaborator from whom I felt I could ask for advice, opinion or help, whenever I needed. Usually he answered swiftly and things got forward.

While Reins death was far, far too early, he managed to achieve many things. One of his great academic achievements was growing a new generation of skillful professionals and researchers. Every member of his team who I have met, seem to somehow carry Rein’s spirit. Now, you have suddenly been put to a completely new situation. You, but perhaps all of us in the field, have a new duty and new type of responsibility: to carry Rein’s legacy and enthusiasm to the future, by being determined to take the research forward and at the same time maintaining ourselves as approachable and supportive for each other, as he was.

All of us knew Rein from a bit different angle, some more deeply, and some more superficially. This ceremony, and many discussions, social media posts and the memorial book have illuminated Rein from those different angles. It has become evident: The world didn’t only lose a bright scientist and pioneer in mobility research – as I mostly knew Rein – but much more, an intellect, a friend, a son, a father and a husband, a wonderful human being.

Farewell Rein, long live your spirit and inspiration in all of us.

Tuuli Toivonen
University of Helsinki
Department of Geosciences and Geography
The Digital Geography Lab

Dear family, friends and collegues,

The news that Rein passed away came as a shock. We will miss Rein as a scholar working at the forefront of geographical research and mobile data analysis in particular, but certainly also as a warm and kind person. I asked Rein to join the new NECTAR ICT cluster as cluster co-chair in 2014, and he accepted without a doubt. I thought Rein would be a perfect co-chair to help develop the cluster from the first start, and that certainly was the case. We have worked at the organisation of last the Mobile Tartu conference together and we were finalising a special issue with papers from that conference. We were finalising the special issue and just about to start writing the editorial together. Rein, you will be dearly missed.

Karst Geurs
Professor of Transport Planning, University of Twente, the Netherlands
Chair of NECTAR – Network on European Communications and Transport Activities Research

Eulogy for Rein Ahas, Tartu, 26 February 2018

Kallis Rein,

We were not supposed to meet today and certainly not like this. Next week, on Monday March 5th, we had planned our get-together. In your shared office with Kristi, where we talk about teaching, projects, joint publications, and above all, about family, good food, skiing, holidays and the dreadful Estonian weather…

But faith decided differently. Exactly one week ago, at 8:30 in the morning, I received the terrible news from Tiit Tammaru of what had happened the day before. Incomprehensible, lost-for-words, speechless, surreal, and extremely saddened… I lost a friend… The string of messages on Facebook, the condolences from family, friends, colleagues, students, are all unanimous: what a beautiful, cheerful, energetic person has left us, and way too early… My thoughts are with all of them, but especially with Birgit, and Roosi, Gunnar and Joosep. All are completely heartbroken and bereaved, and only our soft words of compassion and sympathies may bring small comfort and consolation.

Rein was a brilliant professor, and a great communicator. A committed and creative scholar pushing forward the frontier of science. An important scientist and researcher not just for Tartu or Estonia but for all the world (as Matt Zook, puts it). Rein’s academic legacy is indeed great. He published numerous first-class papers, on a wide range of topics, making him an ‘all round geographer’, from climate change, human activity spaces, social ethnicity, and in particular on mobile positioning and tracking in geography and planning (his trademark, his contribution to science). He published with lots of different people (from home and abroad), participated in many conferences, expert panels, and was a multiple visiting professor… many of these people and contacts are here today paying their last respects.

I first met Rein some ten years ago at the Mobile Tartu conference. A conference, unique in its concept and format, and in a typical (I would say) “Rein Ahas approach”: not too big, small groups, cozy, focus on interaction and discussion, with a lot of attention for the young people, hands-on, and close to nature, being outdoors (that traditionally ended with a smoke sauna, and some beer). There was an immediate understanding between the both of us. Not only sharing the same academic interests, but also, respecting one another, helping one another, caring for one another.

But more important, Rein was, above all, a very generous and warm person, a family man, a man with friends all over the world, a man who loved (but also dared) nature… Rein passed away too early, and very unexpected, partly in pursuit of his dreams. I (but no doubt all of you) share lots of very fine memories. When my own mother passed away, some 4 years ago, someone wrote to me: “Although we ultimately lose everything we own, what really matters is never lost”. And for this we need to be thankful. Rein, you will always be in our hearts and minds…

Oh, and by the way, Rein, next week, I will be teaching here again. In the room next to your office. But things will never be the same again… I do hope that someday, somewhere, we will again prune apple trees together, and have a coffee. Rest in peace.

Frank Witlox
Ghent University, Belgium

Kallis Rein!
Sa möödud ja iial ei möödu
Sa kaod, aga ometi jääd.
Kõik mõõtmed on mõttetuks löödud,
Kuid võitnud on taevased väed.
Puhka rahus!
Minu sügav kaastunne lähedastele.
Sinu teekonnakaaslane Ene Keis

Niidame, armas sõber, niidame. Vikatiga niidame. Kesksuvistel varahommikutel, kui on õige aeg kõige intellektuaalsemaks tööks, mida oskame. Mina niidan veel, vähemalt luban, et selle aasta juulikuus ma teen seda. See on töö, mida me oskame ja mille kulg annab parima võimaluse sügavalt järele mõtelda või siis põhjapanevalt uusi mõtteid luua. Küll aga keeldun ma suusatamisest sel talvel, lihtsalt keeldun. Aga käsitsi ja kirvega puuhalgusid lõhestan küll, kui pakast antakse (see on maailmas niisama intellektuallne tegevus kui suvine niitmine) ning vikat läheb likku pärast jaanipäeva nagu alati. Toonela niitudel näeme, sõber!

Geograafia esmakursuslastena kutsus Rein meid 1995.a sügisel Tartu Üliõpilaste Looduskaitseringi, soovides selle tegevust taaselustada, mis muidugi ka õnnestus, nagu tema ettevõetud asjad ikka. Rein rabas meid oma teadmiste ja ideedega, need olid kantud rõõmsast olekust, otsivast vaimust ja briljantsest intrigeerimisoskusest. Kes meist ei mäletaks tema eluterve suhtumise või eksimismatka teooriat. Rein oli kahtlemata kõige targem noor inimene, kellega noil varastel kujunemisaastatel kokku puutusime. Juba toona jäi mulje, et ta teab, kuidas muuta nähtamatut nähtavaks ja mil viisil võiks veel teadmata asjaoludesse selgust tuua. Tema pühendumine Eesti Rohelise Liikumise metsakaitse aktivistina ja fenoloogialoengud inspireerisid mind looduskaitsega tegelema ning hiljem tegema ka oma unistuste tööd kaitsealal. Olen selle eest talle siiralt tänulik, nagu ilmselt nii paljudki teised, keda ta innustanud on. Tema lähenemine oli 90-ndatel uudne, avalikkuse kaasamist ja teavitamist rõhutav, mäletan end tema juhendamisel Vällamäe kaitseks elu esimest pressiteadet koostamas, mida tookord õnneks vaja ei läinudki. Looduselt inimteemadele suundudes toimis ta kantuna tõekspidamisest, et looduse kaitsmiseks on vaja tegeleda eelkõige (linna)inimesega.

On õnn, et temaga kohtusime. Nüüd on ta igaviku põlislaantes, külades ja mägedel, mis toetavad taevast. Sügav kaastunne Reinu lähedastele. Sõbrad, olge neile vankumatuks toeks.

Kaja Riiberg

Meie hea koostöö algas täpselt 10 aastat tagasi ning selle tulemus on tänaseks Ajalugu. Me panime suurandmed ja geograafiateadmised riigi statistika heaks tööle juba siis, kui keegi sellest mujal maailmas veel ei rääkinud. Need olid Suured ideed, mis elavad edasi! Oleme kurvad. Aitäh, Rein!

Sügav kaastunne lähedastele, sõpradele ja Ülikooli akadeemilisele perele.

Eesti Panga statistikaosakonna nimel,
Jaanus Kroon

Siirad kaastundeavaldused Reinu perele abikaasa ja isa kaotuse puhul!

Perekond Kulu

Astusid uksest välja, läksid ja korraga olidki kadunud
Alles sa olid toimekas… ja nagu välk, nii ebaõiglane surm
Vaatame üksteisele otsa , ei ole üldse veel adunud
Kõik jäi ju täiesti pooleli… ja on väga-väga kurb

Puhka rahus sõber.
Raul Eamets

Those we love remain with us
For love itself lives on,
And cherished memories never fade
Because a loved one’s gone.
Those we love can never be
More than a thought apart,
Far as long as there is memory,
They’ll live on in the heart.

A thought of comfort and condolences to the grieving family, colleagues and friends <3 Ida Björkbacka City of Helsinki

Hea Reinu pere, lähedased, akadeemiline pere.

Avaldan südamest kaastunnet Reinu ootamatu lahkumise puhul. Elus on vahes nii , et kui ta viib siin kokku mõne inimesega, siis jääd nähtamatu sõprusniidiga seotuks kogu elu. Saime Reinuga tuttavaks sõjaväe päevil,kuhu meid ülikooli esimese kursuse järgselt saadeti. Noorte inimestena sai läbi elatud nii mõndagi, mis meid karastas ja samas ühendas ning seletamatu sisemise kokkukuulumise ja usalduseliini tekitas. Kuigi eluteed viisid peale ülikooli lõpetamist meid eri radu, siis oli Reinuga kohtudes alati soe tunne , kui vana hea sõbraga taaskohtudes, keda oled alles eile näinud.

Reinu panus Eesti ja maailma tippteadusesse on hindamatu, kuid samas suutis ta teaduses omandatut, ka praktikas rakendada , Tema ja tema akadeemilise meeskonna poolt läbi viidud alusuuringud Rakvere linna üldplaneeringus ja hilisemad targa linna baasuuringud on aluse panud Rakere linna kiirele arengule. Rein – Rakvere tänab Sind.

Lubatagu edasi anda kaastunne Reinu akadeemilisele kaaskonnale, nii minu kui kogu meie meeskondade poolt.

Teades Reinu, tema plaane , elurõõmu , aktiivsust , entusiasmi , kaasahaaramise võimet ja optimismi, siis on ikka ääretult, ääretult ebaõiglane ja inimlikult sügavalt kurb tema nii varane ja ootamatu lahkumine.

Andres Jaadla

Puutusin Reinuga kokku aastatel 2001-2011 geograafia tudengina ja hiljem põgusalt mõned korrad Tartus ja Kanepi-Kooraste kandis. Alates 19.02.2018 (, mil esmakordselt kuulsin Reinu surmast) kuni praeguseni on vallanud mind kaks suurt teemat – kurbus ja mõte Reinu eeskujulikest väärtustest ning nende edasikandmisest. Rein oli üks mu lemmikõppejõude – võib-olla tänu sellele soojusele-inimlikkusele-lahkusele, stressivaba õhkkonna tekitamisele, mõnusale innustamisele, keskkonnahoiu rõhutamisele, õdusa-nutika linnaruumi ideede levitamisele, Vanemuise 46 rahva ja üldse geograafia suure pere meeldival viisil ühteliitmisele. Reinu loomusest on palju õppida – ma loodan, et suudan edaspidi enda inim- ja keskkonnasõbraliku visiooni rakendamisel Reinu positiivsetest eeskuju-näidetest piisavalt realiseerida. Ma julgeks lausa öelda, et kui teatud inimhulk (näiteks Tartu teatud asumi, Tartu linna, Lõuna-Eesti, Eesti, Euroopa Liidu või kogu planeedi Maa) tahab olevikus-tulevikus üles ehitada inim- ja keskonnasõbralikumat süsteemi või ökosüsteemi, siis Reinu ideedest ja olemusest on palju õppida. Soovin, et me suudaks igapäevaselt piisavalt väärtustada keskkonda ning häid sõnu-tegusid ja enda ümber olevaid inimesi – kasvõi metsa, soid, sõnalisi kingitusi või elusolevaid geograafia suure pere Reinu kaas-kalliskividena hiilgavaid liikmeid, kes hetkel Tartu Ülikooliga vist tihedamalt on seotud (näiteks Tõnu Oja, Ott Kurs, Tiit Tammaru, Kadri Leetmaa, Tiit Hang, Krista Lõhmus, Jane Frey, Kalle Tihemets, dekanaadi inimesed…). Head olevikku-tulevikku Reinule (juhul, kui Ta peaks kusagil mõnel moel elus olema või edaspidi saama), Tema pärandile ja Tema perele-sõpradele-kolleegidele-tudengitele-tuttavatele-mõttekaaslastele!

Sügav kaastunne Reinu perele, lähimatele ning kõigile, keda Reinu lahkumine puudutas.

Indrek Hoop Põlvamaalt

What a tremendous loss for those in this world that didn’t have a chance to know him! For those who didn’t, We would like to share a little of what we know, in the hope that even though Prof. Rein Ahas is unable to physically be here with us today, a part of him may live on in each of us and in turn, we can keep his spirit alive.

Rein Ahas was, in our opinion, the most well-rounded, among the greatest of Estonian innovators – brave enough to think differently. He was a knowledgeable professor of human geography. As research partners, we have contacted and cooperated with Prof. Rein and his research team for several years. We all think he was a hard working, experienced and innovative researcher, his academic research results are a great contribution to all of us, even the whole society. He was humble and sincere, gentle and thoughtful, down to earth and compassionate. He enjoyed and experienced life in its true meaning – living each day as if it were his last and realizing the importance of what it means to be truly “alive”. He was always eager to learn new things, to put them into practice, with good intentions and a pure heart.

When he learned something new, you could see the twinkle in his eye, he was a child at heart who wasn’t impressed with selfish, material things the world easily distracts us with. Instead, he set his sights on gifts that cannot be seen, nor can they be taken away: knowledge and wisdom, kindness and understanding, patience and love, those are the things that will remain forever. Rein’s demeanor was always cheerful, he always had pleasant things to say and share. A very wise man once said, ‘The mouth speaks what the heart is full of”.

So we say to you all, do not be sad that Rein is no longer with us, but rejoice and appreciate each moment you spent with him. Learn as much as you can from the example he left us, as we are only here for a very short time, let us use it wisely. Only imitate what is good, only hate what is wrong, keep Rein in your hearts. We all miss him a lot, and we will never forget his spirit.

Dr.Prof.Wanggen Wan
Director of Institute of Smart City
Dean of International Office
Shanghai Uniersity

I will remember Rein as a committed and creative scholar pushing forward the frontier of science. An important scientist and researcher not just for Tartu or Estonia but for all the world.

I also know that there are many around the world (myself included) who are thinking of him now. Happy memories and profound sadness coming from literally every corner of the globe to center around all of you gathered in Tartu.

I will also – and most importantly – remember Rein as a friend I last saw when he and his family visited us in Kentucky, just a few short months ago. As a friend he was generous and warm, fun and witty, sharing his enthusiasm for life with all of us. We now face the sharp and painful reality of his absence; a hard journey for us all.

Rein, you are missed.

Matthew Zook, University of Kentucky

This news was undeniably a great shock to me – unbelievable. Rain was an excellent scientist and leader full of energy and ideas. This is a great loss for family, friends and the research community at Tartu University. I will always have wonderful memories of him as a kind person, friend and great mentor. My deep and sincere condolences go to his family, friends and colleagues.

Irma Kveladze

Ma kuulen Sind koridoris kõndimas, Sinu häält millegi üle arutlemas, tunnen, et kohe vaatad ukse vahelt sisse ja uurid, kuidas läheb, näen Su kuju meie ühistel aruteludel, tajun Su mõtteid kaasa mõtlemas … On inimesi, kellest jääb väga kauaks suur tühi koht. Kui mõtlen sellele, kuidas saab inimene olla hea vedur oma kolleegidele ja tudengitele, siis ma ei teeks midagi teisiti. Oskasid meie töörütmi tuua kosutavaid koosolemisi. Ruumi jagus nii aruteludeks geograafiast ja geograafidest, vestlusteks elust ja ilmast kui ka lihtsalt koos ilusa Eestimaa nautimiseks. Sinu seinast seina tegemised, mitmekülgsed huvid ja hobid annavad julguse tegelda pühendumisega just nende asjadega siin elus, mida üle kõige armastame. Sina võtsid alati aja. Sina võtsid ette. Sina panid asjad käima. Kui teha asju hea tunde ja armastusega, siis jõuab ikka väga palju … isegi siis, kui aega jääb napiks. Räägime Su lastele kindlasti, kui suur geograaf ja hea sõber Sa olid. Head teed Sulle!

Kadri Leetmaa

We are deeply saddened by the sudden loss of professor Rein Ahas, one of the brightest stars of Nordic geography. He was a visionary leader, an inspiring collaborator and a globally recognized pioneer in mobility research. We will miss Rein greatly in our academic works but also because of his cheerful, energetic character and the ‘human touch’ that he was able to bring to even the most serious academic discussions.

Our deepest condolences to the colleagues at the University of Tartu, and friends and family of professor Rein Ahas.

Tuuli Toivonen, Olle Järv, Kerli Müürisepp, Maria Salonen & Henrikki Tenkanen on behalf of the Digital Geography Lab and Department of Geosciences and Geography, University of Helsinki

Hea Rein,
Seda kui suur osa sa meie akadeemilisest perest olid, hakkame me tõeliselt tunnetama alles nüüd. Kes meist suudaks nii ignoreerida raame ja mõelda väljapool piire nagu Sina suutsid, me veel ei tea. Aga meile jäävad sinuga peetud vestlused, sinu sõnumid, mõtted ja ideed. Äitäh Sulle kõige selle eest, Rein!

I am deeply shocked. Just a couple of weeks ago we were talking about this marathon and other things in Zurich. You were a great researcher and a nice friend, I will especially remember our times together outdoors, skiing, hiking, etc. Rest in piece, Rein!

Martin Raubal

Kallis Rein, on vähe neid inimesi, kelle kohta võiks öelda, et oled tipptasemel teadlane ja armastatud õppejõud, teekaaslane ja õpetaja, sõber ja ülemus ühes isikus. See kõige viimane kõlab tegelikult võõralt, sest polegi Sind kunagi nii kutsunud. Oled jõudnud minu ja paljude teiste südametesse läbi väga erinevate elu tahkude ja rollide. Tänan sind selle positiivse energia, toetuse ja nakatava teotahte eest, millega sa meid kostitasid.
Minu sügav kaastunne lähedastele.
Ingmar Pastak

Latvian geographers express our deepest condolences to family, friends and colleagues at the University of Tartu.

Prof. Zaiga Krišjāne,
Dean of the Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences,
University of Latvia

With great sadness and regret I have just learnt Prof. Rein Ahas’ sudden passing away. It’s really heartbreaking and hard to believe it. I still remember his kindly help when I was in Tartu. And he continued providing guidance and suggestions on my research after I came back to China. We were discussing about the cooperation just last month. Thanks so so much to his help and support all the time. All the deepest condolences to the family and friends. Wenning Zhao, Tsinghua University, Beijing

The news shocked me. Just a month ago we have discussed ideas for collaboration.
Rein was an excellent scientist, a great organizers, and a good friend.
I want to pass deep condolences to his family and all colleagues and friends at Tartu.
Rest In Peace, dear Rein!

Gennady Andrienko

It was with great sorrow that we received the message of the passing of Professor Rein Ahas. During the last year Rein had been connected to several research projects at the Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) in Oslo, where he was a member of the expert panel in Smartchange, one of our larger projects on Big Data in transportation. Rein was a highly respected and trusted scholar among colleagues and friends at TØI, and he will be sincerely missed. Yet, his groundbreaking work in the area of transport and geography will continue to inspire and inform our work ahead.

Our deepest condolences go to Rein´s family, friends and colleagues.

Eivind Farstad, Fredrik Gregersen, Rikke Ingebrigtsen, Tom Erik Julsrud, Julie Runde Krogh, Farideh Ramjerdi, Christian Weber – Instotite of Transport Economics, Oslo, Norway

It was with great sorrow that we received the message of the passing of Professor Rein Ahas. During the last year Rein had been connected to several research projects at the Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI) in Oslo, where he was a member of the expert panel in Smartchange, one of our larger projects on Big Data in transportation. Rein was a highly respected and trusted scholar among colleagues and friends at TØI, and he will be sincerely missed. Yet, his groundbreaking work in the area of transport and geography will continue to inspire and inform our work ahead.

Our deepest condolences go to Rein´s family, friends and colleagues.

Eivind Farstad, Fredrik Gregersen, Rikke Ingebrigtsen, Tom Erik Julsrud, Julie Runde Krogh, Farideh Ramjerdi, Christian Weber – Norwegian Institute of Transport Economics (TØI), Oslo, Norway

With great sorrow we have received the unexpected news of the passing of prof Rein Ahas. On behalf of Metropolia and the Live Baltic Campus partnership we wish to extend our heartfelt sympathies to Rein’s family, friends, students, and colleagues. We have cherished the opportunity of knowing and working with Rein, and will for one always remember his presentation at LBC’s final conference in last December as an example of his intellectual enthusiasm, and his skill to rivetingly introduce new perspectives. We will greatly miss Rein’s kindness, vision and expertise, as well as the many interesting discussions with him.

Our deepest condolences to you all,
Päivi Keränen and Anna-Maria Vilkuna, Metropolia University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, Finland

The news was a great shock to me. Unbelievable. Only three years ago I was driving his car from start to finish at the very same ski marathon.

Rein was an inspiring colleague and over the years I enjoyed our professional and personal discussions during my short sabbatical visits and the well organized Mobile Tartu conferences.

Menno-Jan Kraak

Dear Friends and Colleagues,
On behalf of the Department of Human Geography at Tbilisi State University and myself in person I would like to express deep sorrow concerning the death of Professor Rein Ahas.
Rein was an excellent geographer – innovative and progressive, perfect organizer of science and very nice person. It was a big pleasure to cooperate with him, as well as to have friendly meetings and conversations. I always found such contacts very useful and pleasant for me.
I’m very sorry for not being able to physically share this tragic moment with Rein’s colleagues and his family members. Therefore, I would like to pass deep condolences to his wife, family and all colleagues and friends at Tartu University.
Rest In Peace, dear Rein!

Joseph (Soso) Salukvadze, Professor
Department of Human Geography
Faculty of Social and Political Sciences
Tbilisi State University, Georgia

Wonderful people at the Department of Geography,

Please, accept my sincere condolences for this big loss that we all share. Profesor Ahas has been an excellent mentor and adviser to me and I’m sure to all other students who had the honour of attending his lectures.

This news is devastating. His life was and will remain as an example and inspiration to me! There are no words I can offer that will make this loss any easier, but hopefully just knowing that we all will remember professor deep in our hearts and minds is somehow helping the family and his beloved ones.

Even after few years since my semester in Tartu, I miss the wonderful team and environment you all have created. I hope you will keep moving forward! we all have to! in the name of our beloved professor.

With warmest emotions from Tbilisi!

Hea Rein, mäletan veel hästi, kui astusin 10 aastat tagasi esmakursuslasena Su loengusse. Su karisma, sära, positiivsus ja armastus geograafia vastu innustas mind juba noore tudengina ja on pannud mind ka edaspidi oma tööd südamega tegema. See viis, kuidas Sa suutsid kõigest nii haaravalt rääkida, on eriline ja selliseid inimesi ei ole palju. Sa olid suurepärane inimene, õppejõud ja kolleeg. Eeskuju väga paljudele. On nii uskumatult ebaõiglane, et sellised suured inimesed peavad nii vara lahkuma. Vanemuise maja ei ole ilma Sinuta enam üldse see sama..

Sügav kaastunne lähedastele.

Kadi Mägi

Vaatamata sellele, et saime tema käe all vaid põgusalt õppida, tuli professor Rein Ahase lahkumine ootamatult ka meie kursusele. Kiirelt mõistsime, et tegu on inimesega, kellelt oleks palju õppida ning mis peamine: inimesega, kes suutis oma teadmisi väga kaasahaaravalt edasi anda. Tema loengud olid alati põnevad ja andsid motivatsiooni end esmakursuslaste ainetest läbi närida, et geograafia suunal jätkata. Seega jääme ka meie teda ikka hea sõnaga meenutama, sest Reinu lahkumine pole kaotus vaid meile, vaid ka tulevastele geograafidele, kes teda isiklikult kunagi tundma ei saa.

Geograafia 1. kursus

Unreal, that’s what it is. Last time that we met (at conf on LBS) he presented again very nice work, resulting in the best work in progress award. Never new that this would be his last award. His work was always in progress, always interesting, always inspiring.
Thanks to Rein I learnt to know Estonia, Estonian smoking sauna and mobile positioning.
We will miss you, geography will miss you, mobile positioning will miss you, Mobile Tartu will miss you. We will miss you saying with your typical nice sincere smile “I am from Tartu”.
But, we will keep you and your work in our hart.

My condolences to your family, friends and the University of Tartu.

Nico Van de Weghe (Ghent, Belgium)

Armas, Rein!

Me ei tundnud küll kaua, kuid siiski on raske panna sõnadesse seda tunnet, mis hinge kinni lõi, kui kuulsin, et Sind enam ei ole. Sina ja geograafia osakond on justkui sünonüümid. Mitte ainult ei olnud Sa õppejõud ja kolleeg, vaid väga paljudele ka sõber ja mentor. Sa olid kui valgus, kes rõõmsal ja optimistlikul meelel juhtis veel avastamata radadel. Sa innustasid ja julgustasid nii palju noori geograafihakatisi. Sa tegid palju ja jõudsid veel rohkem. Jään Sind mäletama rõõmsalt tantsides nagu viimasel osakonna aastapäeval oma sünnipäeva eelõhtul.

Minu südamlik kaastunne Reinu perele ja lähedastele.

Johanna Holvandus

Kallis naabrimees, just nüüd????????!!!!!!!!
Aga mõnda asja pole antud ette planeerida ka kõige parematele … jääd alati tiivustama, alati eeskujuks! Olid üks kõige nakatavama rõõmuga inimesi keda on olnud au tunda. Tundus nii, et sul on iga asja jaoks oma väike rõõm varuks. Ehkki seda on praegu väga raske ette kujutada, aga need rõõmu seemned on meis kõigis alles ega ole kuhugile kadunud.
Aegu tagasi räägid Eesti Loodusele nõnda:
“Unistan, et ühel päeval kolin Alpidesse ja hakkan lumelauduriks. Kusagilt mälestusteraamatust leidsin üllatusega, et Eduard Vildel oli sama unistus – kolida Alpide avarusse – juba sada aastat tagasi, temal jäi see vist täitumata. Mitte, et ma ennast Vildega samastaksin, aga mulle tundus tõsise kirjamehe piiritu ja siiras kirg mägede avaruste vastu selles ammuses tekstis nii üllatava äratundmisena. Viimane soe sügis ja talv kurvastab eriti, vaatan internetist Ameerika lumiseid mägesid ja unistan talvest.”
Rein, palju palju päikest ja lund sulle sinna teisele poole! Palju palju hingejõudu perele!
Leelo ja Juhan

Oh, hea kursusekaaslane Rein, kuidas siis nii! Me oleme ju veel nii noored, elu parimates aastates!
Meie 5 ühist, kohati meeletut õpinguaastat liitis meie kursuse üheks pereks. Seetõttu võin Sind nimetada vennaks.
Kallis vend, kunagi kohtume teispoolsuses. Aga ära meid veel kiiresti oota, peame elama ja andma ka Sinu elamata jäänud aastate eest!
Enel Pungas

My condolenç s to Rein’s family, friends, colleagues and students.
João Romão, Portugal

Aeg peatus sinu jaoks liiga vara, kallis Rein. Pooleli jäid suured teod. Viimaseks pildiks jäi sulle kaunis lumine Lõuna-Eesti maastik, puhas värskelt mahasadanud lumi, mida olid alati armastanud.

Oled olnud Suur inimene, harukordne eestvedaja, teerajaja, uute ideede genereerija. Usk ja innukus, millega lükkasid oma ettevõtmisi käima ja panid asjad juhtuma, oli tõelist austust vääriv, inspireerides nii mind kui teisi su ümber. Sa lihtsalt suutsid panna uskuma, et kõik on võimalik. Sest sa uskusid, kuna tegid oma tööd täie kire ja südamega. Sind jätkus kõikjale. Suurte ideede genereerimise kõrval jätkus sul alati aega heatahtlikkuseks – sa märkasid ja hoolisid, seisid teiste eest.

Leek, mille oma usu ja innukusega süütasid, jääb minu südames kestma. Sinult oli palju õppida. Olen selle üle tohutult tänulik.

Sügav kaastunne perekonnale ja lähedastele.

Anneli Kährik

With great sadness and shock I learnt about the great loss of Rein. He was a great scholar, a proud Estonian, a great friend and a family man.

I had the honor to visit Tartu several times and to have Rein visiting me in Jerusalem. We recently published a joint review paper and wrote a book chapter (yet to be published). Rein was an academic pioneer and visionary and he left us too soon. However, his students and publications are his legacy that will remain always with us.

My condolences to his family, friends and the University of Tartu that lost one of its leaders and bright scholars.

Noam Shoval, Jerusalem.

Dear family, colleagues and friends of Rein,

I was very sorry to hear the tragic news about Rein’s passing. My deepest condolences to you all,


Andrew Nash

I remember an excellent scientist.
I remember an innovative researcher.
I remember a successful expert, which truly wanted to push forward to aim for new insights.
I remember an Estonian, being proud of his country.
I remember a father, loving his family.
I remember a man. A noble man. A friendly, always smiling man.

I face a loss, leaving us without words.

Georg Gartner, Vienna, Austria

I´ve met Rein only 4 years ago, but it was always great to meet and talk with him, both professionally and personally. I express my deepest and sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues in this sad moment.
João Abreu

A huge loss and a very bad surprise to learn of Rein’s death so young! Still in December, we are planning his visit to Paris so that he can free himself from administrative tasks and work on a methodological article on mobile phone data…
Life is sometimes cruel.
My deepest condolences to family and colleagues.

Zbigniew Smoreda

Mit Rein habe ich einen sehr guten Kollegen und Freund verloren. Ich bin sehr traurig. Mein Mitgefühl und mein herzliches Beileid für die Familie & Freunde.

Jukka Krisp, Augsburg / Munich, Germany

I am so very sorry for your loss – all of our loss! Rein was a great scientist and a wonderful person. I will truly miss him. We are all diminished by losing him way too soon.

My deepest condolences to the University of Tartu, his friends and most of all his family.

Harvey Miller

I have wonderful memories of Rein from visits to Tartu. A man who squeezed more into a short life than most could ever aspire to. Condolences to family and colleagues.

On väga kurb ja samas ülekohtune, et lahkunud on nii särav ja teotahteline teadlane nagu oli Rein Ahas. Rein oli teerajajaks uudses, mobiilse statistika vallas kogu maailma ulatuses. Pooleli jäid paljud projektid ja ka üks meie ühine ettevõtmine. Puhka rahus, hea kolleeg ja sõber!
Sügav kaastunne omastele.
Kalev Pärna

It was always a pleasure meeting Rein. My sincere condolences to his family and friends.

Manos Chaniotakis

It is with great sadness and surprise I heard about Rein passed away. We met for first time In Japan and then over the years kept in contact, paid visits etc. Geography is loosing a great academic and human being. I wish his family all the support.

Harry Timmermans

It was a great shock to read about the death of Rein. A great scholar passed away. I remember his enormous drive to develop a successful international network of scholars using Big Data in the mobility domain. I felt honored to be invited to participate several times in the Mobile Tartu meetings. I wish his wife and children all the strength in this very difficult period.

Martin Dijst
LISER, Luxemburg

Vapustus ulatub olemise alustaladeni, kui lahkub inimene, keda oled teadnud suure osa oma elust. Minu esimene mälupilt Sinust on õpiaja 7. klassi aprillist, istumas Teaduste Akadeemia majas ÕTÜ Looduskaitse sektsiooni koosolekul Jaan Eilarti kõrval. Edaspidi viis tee meid kokku Üliõpilaste Looduskaitse ringis ning viimased kümme aastat olime kolleegid. Inimese vaim elab, kuni teda mäletatakse ning Sinul on mäletajaid tänu aktiivsele töö-, õppe- ja suhtlusringile väga-väga palju ja pikaks ajaks. Minu sügav kaastunne lähedastele.

Anneli Palo

I feel deeply sorry for the loss of Rein who I met at the Mobile Tartu Conference. It is a great and sudden loss for all geographers and of course the family.
Imre Keseru, Free University of Brussels

Dear family, colleagues and friends of Rein,

It is with deep regret that I heard the tragic news that Rein passed away. I express my sincere condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

Mario Cools

It is with great sadness we heard of the tragic news. Rein was a truly outstanding gentleman, a great scholar and a visionary. His energy, commitment and personal qualities will be missed by all.

Condolences to his family, friends and colleagues from those of us from The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and in the International Academy for the Study of Tourism

Bob McKercher.

A true friend and a great geographer is no longer amongst us. We received the message about Rein with sadness and sorrow. To me, Rein was a very good friend, always taking good care of me when I visited Tartu. Rein has helped me a lot during the years and for that I am grateful. Rein also visited our department as visiting Professor and immediately became one of us. We miss his kindness, optimism and interesting discussions. Our deepest condolences go to Rein´s family, colleagues and friends.

Olof Stjernström, Department of Geography and Economic History, Umeå University, Sweden.

It is with great sadness that I heard Rein passed away. Difficult to believe that such a vital man, intelligent and beloved is no longer among us. My deepest condolences to his family friends and colleagues.

Luc Wismans

Dear colleagues of Mobility Lab, University of Tartu
We have just learnt with deep regret that our beloved and honored friend, Prof. Rein Ahas departed this world. It
is a great loss to Human geography. As acquainted research groups and old friends, the Mobility Lab in UT and
the Center for Research & Planning of Smart Cities in PKU, have the history of mutual contacts, for a long time,
thanks to the promotion and cooperation of Prof. Ahas deeply.
To look back on the bilateral exchanges, we still remember:
Since 2008, the Mobile Tartu International Conference started by Prof. Ahas. During which, our students and
colleagues have made presentations or posters, which forged deep academic trust and friendship through mutual
understanding. Nowadays, Mobile Tartu has become an influential international conference for city and tourism
research based on GPS data; therefore, UT has become a famous international research center for related
In 2013, 2014, and 2017, Prof. Ahas visited our center three times, and gave a provocative speech of the latest
academic progress every time. He always attracted listeners and in-depth discussion, and kept a keen insight on
our group’s work as well. His enthusiasm of research, friendliness and sincerity left a deep impression on us.
In 2014, a Chinese treatise was published by our group, named THE Frontier of Space-Time Behavior Research,
the editor-in-chief was Prof. Yanwei Chai. And Prof. Ahas was one of the international editors and the author of
one article in it; he contributes new thinking from Big Data research in Europe. In 2017, with the help and
invitations of Prof. Ahas, one of our PH.D candidates finished her short-time study in UT, and looking forward
for further cooperation on co-authored of papers. In addition, he has established an academic exchange and
cooperation relationship with a number of universities and scholars in China in recent years.
We are still in great sadness in his passing away. By this letter, we hope to send our deepest condolences on
representative of researchers in Chinese Urban Geography and Behavioral Geography. We greatly appreciate and
admire his enthusiasm and efforts in promoting the academic exchanges of scholars between Estonia and China.
We hope to keep in contact and maintain the cooperation of two side, as Prof. Ahas always did.
All the deepest condolences to the family and friends.
Yanwei Chai
Center for Research & Planning of Smart Cities, Peking University

Aitäh, Rein, kõige eest, mis sa meile õpetasid ja kus inspireerisid. Sära sinu silmades kõiges, millega sa tegelesid, innustas paljusid. Lisaks sellele, et olid suurepärane juhendaja ja töökaaslane, panid mitmeid meist mägesid ja lumelaudamist armastama. Jään igatsema sinu algatatud lumelauareise (Rein oli ka „Akadeemilise lumelauaklubi“ asutaja) ja esimesele liftile jooksmist, et teistest enne värskes puuderlumes sõita. Olid ka lihtsalt väga hea sõber, kellelt võis alati nõu ja abi küsida, ükskõik, mis teemal.
Jääd meie südamesse igavesti. Anname endast kõik, et viia ellu sinu pooleli jäänud projektid ja ideed.

Siiri Silm

I am so very sorry to hear of the passing of Professor Rein Ahas. I knew Rein in many capacities. He served on the Editorial Board of a journal I edit, Big Data & Society, for the past four years. I also knew him as a member of the Eurostat Big Data Task Force, on which we both served for three years. And finally, he helped facilitate research and fieldwork at the Mobility Lab for one of my researchers on an ERC project I lead, ARITHMUS (Peopling Europe: How data make a people).

In all of my professional engagements with Rein I was always struck by his commitment, creativity, energy and contributions to research and scholarship. Along with his warm and outgoing character he was always a pleasure to talk to and engage in debates. He will be very much missed.

My sincere condolences to Department of Geography

Evelyn Ruppert

It is with a measure of disbelief and considerable distress that I received the message that Rein no longer is amongst us. A great geographer who developed a standing also internationally that not many geographers from our northern shores can match, a big loss to the department at Tartu no doubt and to the networks he helped build. My deepest sympathies to his family and close friends.

Örjan Sjöberg

Hea Rein, olid üks innovaatilisemaid ja rõõmsameelsemaid teadlasi, kelle ümber tekkis ja edenes alati elu.

Kaastunne kõigile geograafidele, sõpradele ja Eesti teadusele
Mare Ainsaar

Rein, jää hüvasti. Ilmselt esimene asi, mis edaspidi Sinu nime kuuldes mulle silme ette tuleb, on Su alati naeratav, sõbralik ja üdini optimismi täis tulevikku vaatav nägu. Ainus lohutus meile siiajääjaile on see, et Sa jõudsid oma lühikese eluga teha ära mitu korda rohkem kui mitu keskmist inimest pika elu jooksul…

Raivo Mänd

Jään igatsema Reinuga kohtumisi Vanemuise 46 hoone koridorides. Pea alati lõppesid need põnevate diskussioonidega. Kuidas erinevaid teadusandmeid hallata ja analüüsida või kuidas tuua loodusmuuseumi ekspositsiooni rohkem geograafiat.

Urmas Kõljalg

Rein, kes siis nüüd noorte geograafide eksinud silmades sädeme süütab? Geograafia tudengid ja Looduskaitsering kaotasid Sinu näol olulise inimese – toetaja, teenäitaja, eeskuju, kuid mis kõige tähtsam – sõbra. Mul oli au Sind tunda ja Sinu käe all õppida, ning eeskujuks jääd Sa mulle ja meile kõigile alatiseks.

Vita nostra brevis est…

Andris Pentjärv

Rein, aitäh Sulle kõigi nende enam kui 10 aasta eest, mis me koos töötasime! Kasvasime väga lähedasteks sõpradeks. Sinu uudishimu ja võime ümbritsevaid inimesi nakatada jäävad meid alatiseks saatma. Langetan leinas pea, pea mis on tühi, Sinuga lahkus suur tükk minust. Sinuga lahkus inimgeograafia säravaim täht, Sa olid vedur, uuendaja ja visionäär, mis viis meie väikese õppetooli ja osakonna maailma ja tõid maailma meile. Sa olid globaalne ka lokaalne üheaegselt, Sinu üles ehitatud Mobile Tartu konverentside sari on olnud selle elav tunnistus. Tänu Sinule teame oluliselt enam inimeste mobiilsuse eri tahkudest. Pealtnäha lihtsast mobiilpositsioneerimise andmestikust oled Sa enam kui 10 aasta jooksul suutnud leida lõputult erinevaid uurimisteemasid ning innustanud tudengeid ja kolleege üle maailma põnevatele uurimistöödele. Sina ja Eesti digitaalne edulugu on lahutamatud. Tänu Sinule on meie linnad targemad. Tänu Sinule teame me, kuidas toimib hargmaine Eesti. Meil jäi nii palju pooleli, just hakkas eriti põnevaks minema. Olid väga lähedal ERC advanced researcher granti saamisele, selle mainimisest piisab, et kõik saaksid aru, kuhu Sa välja jõudsin ja mis põnevad asjad veel ees olid ootamas. Olgu mainitud vaid tegevuskohtade põhise segregatsiooni nõiaringi teooria välja arendamine ja sellega seotud nutitelefoni põhised uuringud. Esimese artikli mustandi saime just valmis …
Rein, aitäh, et Sa meil olemas olid, Sa jääd meid alatiseks innustama ja püüdlema tähtede poole. Meie jääme hoidma Birgitit ja lapsi, kes nii ebaõiglaselt kaotasid võrratu abikaasa ja isa.

Tiit Tammaru