Andreas Kruse

Andreas Kruse was born in 1955 in Aachen. In his childhood, he was a member of the world-known choir, the »Regensburger Domspatzen«. At the Universities of Aachen and Bonn as well as at the Hochschule für Musik in Cologne, he studied psychology, music and philosophy. Kruse was the first employee at the Institute for Gerontology in Heidelberg established by Ursula Lehr in 1986. He did his post-doctorate thesis there with the title »Competence in old age seen in its relation to objectively and subjectively perceived life situations«. Following that he taught, among other places, at the Free University of Berlin and at the University of Greifswald, where he was professor for lifespan psychology and founding director of the Institute for Psychology. He has been director of the Institute of Gerontology at the University of Heidelberg since 1997, where he was also Dean of the Faculty of Behavioural and Cultural Studies from 2007 to 2011. Furthermore, he is also a visiting professor at the Universities of Jerusalem, Copenhagen and Lund. Kruse has acted as chairman of the German federal government’s Gerontology Commission on several occasions and was involved in drafting the »International Plan of Action on Ageing« in an expert commission called into being by the General Secretary of the UN.

Kruse has documented his theoretical and practice-based research work in a great number of articles in books and magazines, monographs and anthologies, in which he has acted either as author or editor. In »Zukunft Altern. Individuelle und gesellschaftliche Weichenstellungen« (2009; tr. Ageing in the Future. The Way Forward for Individuals and Society) he looks under different biological, psychological and sociological aspects at different definitions of age and of growing old and makes the reader reflect upon the conventional understanding of this subject. As such, the most recent research results, among other places, from the so-called theory of the mind have shown that ageing is a process that in many respects is becoming increasingly differentiated. It is precisely for this reason that it is of great relevance in society today that we create preconditions and contexts in which creativity in old age is encouraged and supported. In his recently published book »Die Grenzgänge des Johann Sebastian Bach« (2013; tr. How Johann Sebastian Bach Transgressed Boundaries), Kruse, himself a graduate musician, looks at Bach’s late phase of creativity and life through the prism of developmental psychology. What is more, Kruse is also co-editor of the magazine »Zeitschrift für Gerontolgie und Geriatrie« (Magazine for Gerontology and Geriatrics).

For his commitment to his work, Kruse was awarded the Federal Cross of Merit in 2008, and has received other awards such as the Presidential Award of the International Association of Gerontology, the René Schubert Prize from the Germany Gerontology Society and the Max Bürger Prize. In 2010 he was given an honorary doctorate by the University of Osnabrück. He lives in Heidelberg.