It was in the moment his violin string broke during a school concert that others realized Niels could instantly transpose music. He was only nine at the time. It wasn't long after that the survival demands of The Great Depression ended his intimate relationship with instrumental music. World War II was the next life-changing force, which propelled him into science. Later, a health crisis diverted him away from a dangerous involvement with weapons development.
After separating from his wife in 1984, Niels began a spiritual journey. The “why keep going?” eventually transformed into “it is give-back time,” when he learned of cohousing. He realized he had stumbled into something incredibly important. His awareness of cohousing came out of a conscious-aging conference put on by Jubilados, whose vision eventually materialized into ElderGrace, now called Sand River.
While Niels volunteers at hospice and Share the Care, he looks forward to the liveliness of a full house here at Sand River. He pictures everyone around the fireplace, having a group sharing on some rich topic like, “What is delicious about your life right now?”
Niels is partnered with Ellie, a woman he has known since 2001. She is his best friend and they have found the best arrangement of "separate but together" via homes connected by a common wall and a knock-on-the-door just a few steps away.
Niels has a green thumb and is a very capable handyman. His spiritual path leads him to a sangha just a short drive away. His daughter lives in San Francisco while his son and granddaughter, Lily, live right here in Santa Fe. He is sure she will be reminding him someday soon of a core belief: to “pay close attention to questions bright kids might ask.”