The above paper describes the life and work of Dr. C.O. van Regteren Altena on the occasion of his 65th birthday and retirement from the staff of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie, Leiden. The present issue of Basteria is dedicated to him and consists of contributions by his colleagues, friends and one-time pupils. Carel Octavius van Regteren Altena was born in 1907 in Amsterdam, where he obtained his Ph.D. (biology) at the University of Amsterdam in 1937; this degree was conferred upon him cum laude, a rare honour indeed. In 1941 he joined the staff of the Leiden museum as curator in charge of the Lepidoptera; in 1952 he moved to the Mollusca section upon the retirement of Dr. Ch. Bayer. This is a key position in the Netherlands, because there are only two large museums that have full-time university trained malacologists on their staff. Next to his multifarious duties at the museum Altena was president of the Dutch malacological society (1948-1967) and editor of Basteria (1945-1968) as was fitting for a zoologist who was among the foundation members of the society in 1934. In 1967 Altena was made an honorary member of the society, a rare privilege he only shares with the senior author of the present paper. At the museum he came in contact with very many visitors varying from eager schoolboys to foreign malacologists of world fame; both were treated equally well and the museum benefitted greatly. Next to his routine work Altena developed his scientific tastes into three directions apart from his initial career as a lepidopterist in the period 1941-1952. Much of his interest has always been devoted to palaeontology; as from 1946 Altena has been curator of the geological, mineralogical and palaeontological “cabinet” of Teyler’s Museum, Haarlem, where he works one day a week. His contributions to the palaeontology of mainly marine molluscs of Indonesia, western Europe, and also Surinam and the West Indies earned him a name in the profession. Perhaps in order to counterbalance this purely conchological work he also became a specialist in slugs on which he published extensively. Finally, his most recent projects on the molluscs of Surinam have occupied much of his time and have already resulted in a number of authoritative papers. Three times Altena made collecting trips outside Europe, viz., in 1947 to the Canary Islands, in 1959 to Lybia and Malta, and in 1963 to Surinam, followed by visits to various museums in the United States. Unfortunately his deteriorating health forced him to limit his working hours at the museum; in 1968 Altena was relieved of his official duties so that he was master of his own time without losing the facilities at the museum. As from January 1, 1973, he will retire from the staff of the museum. Under the Queen’s birthday honours in 1970 Altena was nominated an Officer in the Order of Orange-Nassau in recognition of his scientific work.