In the field of angiosperm reproductive physiology and biochemistry Professor Hans Ferdinand Linskens occupies a position of the highest renown: respected and admired in laboratories the world over for his contributions to the science over thirty-five years, and among his personal friends, looked upon with affection for his warm and kindly personality. It is altogether fitting that this special issue of Acta Botanica Neerlandica should be dedicated to him by his colleagues and former students as a token of appreciation, and I am myself honoured to have been asked to contribute a few introductory paragraphs. I first met hem at the IXth Botanical Congress in Montreal in 1959, when he gave a paper on biochemical aspects of incompatibility systems. He was reporting on that occasion on several intriguingly new approaches to old but vitally important problems in angiosperm reproduction. His talk was certainly memorable in opening up new vistas for those concerned with research in the field, for he was already at that time an enthusiastic adventurer in what we now call plant cell biology – that fruitful combination of genetics, cytology, biochemistry and physiology that has contributed so much to our understanding of plant developmental processes in the last quarter-century.