FEI Honorary Vice President and Honorary President of the German Equestrian Federation Count Dieter von Landsberg-Velen has passed away at the age of 86. Count Maximilian Dietrich von Landsberg-Velen was born on 17 December 1926 at Wocklum castle in North Rhine-Westphalia in western Germany. He took over his parents’ agricultural and forestry business when he was still at university. At the age of 23, he was elected Chairman of the Balve riding club which was the start of his illustrious career in equestrian sport.
In 1968, he united the various sports and breeding organisations which had emerged after World War II into a single German Equestrian Federation, which he chaired for almost three decades until 1997. From 1973, he served as Chairman of the German Olympic Committee for Equestrian Sports (DOKR). The same year he was elected as President of the German Olympic Committee. He was FEI Vice President and Bureau member from 1979 to 1997 and remained in the role of FEI Honorary Vice President until his death.
Count Landsberg was also renowned for his dedication to charity work. In 1950, he joined the Order of Malta, the world’s oldest order of chivalry with the goal of assisting those in great need without distinction of race or religion. From 1957 to 1980 he was director of the Order’s German Association. From 1980 to 1992 he was the Association’s first elected president. During his tenure, membership increased from 1,800 to over 600,000 members and the Order developed from a first-aid service to a charity of international scope.
Count Landsberg received numerous awards in recognition of his work. He was decorated with the Grand Cross with Star of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany and, in 1998, he was awarded the Olympic Order.
“Count Landsberg was one of the greatest men I have ever met in and outside of equestrian sport,” FEI President HRH Princess Haya said. “I admired and respected him immensely for his achievements in sport and the Olympic movement and for his numerous and far-reaching charitable activities. His strong character and warm and affectionate manner will be greatly missed.”
The FEI expresses its sincere condolences to Count Landsberg’s family, to the German Equestrian Federation and to the German equestrian community.
Photo caption: Count Dieter von Landsberg-Velen (17 December 1926 – 15 April 2012) © Jacques Toffi