Adelbert Nelissen

Adelbert Nelissen

1948 - 2014


It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of our beloved husband and father, Adelbert Nelissen. He was 65 years old.

Adelbert died peacefully at the hospital, surrounded by the family he loved, at 9 PM, on Saturday, September 6, 2014.

The cause of death was heart arrhythmia, produced by a mild lung infection that traveled to the heart. He fell into a coma due to the resulting lack of oxygen, and did not regain consciousness.

Fatigue was a contributing factor. Adelbert was extremely busy over the past two years, reorganizing and expanding the product line of the Deshima macrobiotic food company. In addition, he kept a full teaching schedule at the Kushi Institute and in centers throughout Europe, and consulted with those seeking macrobiotic advice. Adelbert's final project was organizing the just-completed 2014 Macrobiotic Summer Conference.

The weekend before his death, Adelbert bicycled together with his sons, in the cold and rain. This together with fatigue is thought to have stimulated the infection. When his family advised him to rest, he simply said he would, when there was time.

Adelbert was born December 1st, 1948 in Haarlem. He was the father of 5 children.

Adelbert is survived by his wife and partner Wieke, daughters Horriah (and Marco van Veen), Jasmijn (and Jos Rijkhoff), Valentina (and Ruud Peters), and sons Gideon (and Asako Nelissen-Ogawa) and Koji (and Rosanne Fontaine). He took great pleasure in his ten grandchildren, four born in the last year.

Together with his wife Wieke, Adelbert founded and directed the East West Center in the 1970s, the Kushi Institute of Europe, a center for macrobiotic education and teacher development, in the 1980s, The Art of Cooking School, the highly regarded Women's and Family Health program, the Deshima Freshop, offering the highest quality macrobiotic staples, specialty items and a complete line of macrobiotic books, and the Deshima Lunch and Take Out meal service.

It can truly be said that Adelbert's life reflected the spirit of the two teachers he admired most: George Ohsawa, who wrote: "Philosophy without practice is useless, and practice without philosophy is dangerous."
And Michio Kushi, who wrote "The most important thing you can teach anyone is to think for themselves when making a decision about diet and lifestyle".

Click here for a more complete look at Adelbert's life.

Funeral service was held on Friday the 12th of September 2014.

In Gratitude and Loving Memory,
The Nelissen Family

Through personal messages, many of our friends are asking for the possibility to make a donation.
Hereby the information for the donations for the funeral expenses:
IBAN: NL77ABNA0498608468
in the name of Stichting Kushi Instituut
mentioning funeral

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Adelbert lived a remarkably full and varied life. Even as a young man, his direction was clear – creating a peaceful society that promoted individual aspirations.

His intelligence and curiosity, integrity and practicality, inspired him to delve deeply into the so-called mysteries of life, to practically apply them in his own life, and to teach others how to do the same.

A seminar given by Michio Kushi in England in 1976 solidified the course of his life. Adelbert quickly realized that the macrobiotic philosophy offered the breath of vision and practical application that unified and gave focus to his varied interests. From this time on, his focus was on macrobiotic education.

Adelbert sponsored over forty seminars by Michio Kushi in The Netherlands, France and Africa; he attended and assisted in many others of his in the U.S. and Japan.

Together with Wieke, he established first the East West Center in 1976, and then, in 1985, the Kushi Institute.

Manna Food Company

In the 1960s Adelbert and Wieke started one of the first natural foods stores in Amsterdam. A traditional sourdough bakery, offering naturally leavened breads and pastries, soon followed.

In 1970 he establishment the Manna Natural Food Company, staffed by a group of enthusiastic and dedicated young people. The company grew from 1970 to 1986 into a chain of over 15 natural food stores all over The Netherlands and started to distribute to other natural food stores. Numerous natural products Adelbert developed are now widely available everywhere, such as natural tofu, seitan, tempeh, natto, various sugar free bread spreads, and a wide assortment of traditional Japanese products.


In meaningful ways, Adelbert was a pioneer in the holistic movement that has now gained wide acceptance as the sustainable approach to national and planetary sustainability.
Typically, he continuously strove to develop and refine his understanding and improve his various activities to meet the needs of our rapidly changing world. He was the first to bring Shiatsu and Feng Shui to Europe. Shizuko Yamamoto was his much respected first teacher in Shiatsu.

World Traveler

A true adventurer, Adelbert traveled extensively, both to study and to teach. During the panic of the emerging AIDS epidemic in the mid 1980s, he visited Africa to confer with government and community leaders about the macrobiotic approach to the disease.

In the 1970s he visited Japan and China for the first time to finalize his study in traditional Chinese acupuncture, and later traveled extensively and often in the Middle East, where he gave seminars and cooking classes.
More recently, realizing its potential to positively influence the world, Adelbert was a frequent visitor to China. He was invited to present seminars at several universities and professional organizations. A remarkable collection of photos from these visits greeted students of the 2010 Summer Conference.

Japan and China were perhaps the countries closest to Adelbert's heart. He admired the cultures, traditions and the commonsense application of life's natural principles to the demands and routines of daily life.
He had a longtime relationship with the Muso company and other Japanese exporters of traditional macrobiotic foods and took great pleasure in visiting farms and food producers.

With the dramatic political changes in Eastern Europe, Adelbert recognized the people's strength and potential. He repeatedly visited such countries as the Czech Republic and Poland, numerous teachers and business developed from these trips.
Many of these students, eager to deepen their studies, came to the Kushi Institute in Amsterdam, and often became valuable workers at the annual Summer Conference.


Throughout his life, Adelbert was a classic entrepreneur. In the same building housing the Kushi Institute in historic Amsterdam, he initiated the production of high-quality foods now commonly available. He opened a lunchtime restaurant and take-out shop, a food store offering a wide variety of the macrobiotic products, a well-designed and equipped cooking class room, and a spacious lecture room.

Throughout his life, Adelbert encouraged and helped students begin their own educational centers and businesses.

As part of his professional standards, Adelbert would not compromise with quality. He refused to sell the vitamins and supplements, or the poor quality "natural" foods that often bring the highest profits. The Deshima product line consists of some of the highest quality macrobiotic staples available anywhere.


Above all else, Adelbert was a consummate teacher. He continuously strove to deepen his understanding of the principles of life, and was always working to refine his delivery to best reach his students.

Over the past decade, Adelbert has devoted his energy to developing the macrobiotic teachers he knew would be needed to guide the world in the decades ahead. Through his efforts, numerous individuals and couples first reoriented their lives, and then began to share their experience and know-how with others.

The Ideal Food Pattern For Humanity

To help clarify the macrobiotic approach to diet, Adelbert developed a comprehensive list of recommended foods, laid out in an easily understood form, titled The Ideal Food Pattern For Humanity. This work compares the impact of the modern and macrobiotic ways of eating, and has been translated into a number of languages, including, English, Dutch, French and German.


Adelbert left for the next generation to develop his vision for a comprehensive online macrobiotic encyclopedia. His dream was to offer, in each of the world's major languages, a reference and study resource so that anyone with access to the internet could get a clear understanding of the application of the macrobiotic principles for their own lives.


Since the late 1960s, Adelbert's influence has touched many thousands of individuals and families. His teaching and consulting, Kushi Institute and the annual International Macrobiotic Summer Conference shine as a clear light of commonsense.
His life was spent contributing to the social changes that are fostering a sustainable and fulfilling lifestyle for all of the world's inhabitants.

Adelbert gave people hope, based on practical knowledge, and trained them in the skills to achieve the health and happiness we all seek. Most importantly, Adelbert taught people to think for themselves.

We hope our gratitude and love speeds Adelbert along on the next phase of his journey. In the words of Ralph Waldo Emerson:

The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well."

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