Born on June 4, 1967 in Heist-op-den-Berg, Belgium. Study of biology at the Univ. in Limburg and Antwerp (1985-1989), doctorate Univ. in Antwerp (1994), postdoctoral qualification in Heteren, The Netherlands (1994), Queens Univ., Canada, (1995), at the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Comparative Ethology in Vienna (1996-1999), Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology (2003 - 2021). Director and Scientific Member at the Max Planck Institute for Biological Intelligence, (in foundation) Seewiesen, (since 2022).