Early Years

Native to the Netherlands, at the age of five Sim’s family fled war torn Europe in 1939 to the outskirts of New York City. There, in nearby deserted marshes, vacant lots, and pocket parks, began Sim’s innate fascination and respect for the natural world. He found an inner calm in the midst of unfamiliar orderly life forms.

Looking back at this time, Sim writes in his latest book, Design for Life, “What I found in that haggard slice of nature was myself.” The unspoken tragedy that he and his family left behind along with his experiences in nature imprinted him with a lifelong concern for social justice, equity and ecology. “When you escape one holocaust, you don’t want to be part of creating another.”