Pim van Lommel

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Pim van Lommel
Pim van Lommel
Pim van Lommel

(1943-03-15) 15 March 1943 (age 81)
Alma materUtrecht University
Known forNear-death experiences
Scientific career
InstitutionsRijnstate Hospital

Pim van Lommel (born 15 March 1943) is a Dutch author and researcher in the field of near-death studies.

Education and career[edit]

He studied medicine at Utrecht University, specializing in cardiology. He worked as a cardiologist at the Rijnstate Hospital, Arnhem, for 26 years (1977-2003).[1][2] In 1988 he launched a prospective study of near-death experiences that spanned 10 Dutch hospitals. 344 survivors of cardiac arrest were included in the study. In 2001, his large-scaled prospective study of near-death experiences after cardiac arrest was published in the medical journal The Lancet.[3] In 2007, the first (Dutch) edition of his bestseller Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience, was published.[4][1]


Neurobiologist Dick Swaab praised van Lommel's research for mapping patients’ experiences and opening up the subject of near-death experiences (NDEs) to the medical world. But he also claimed that Lommel's book ignores scientific knowledge, including some conclusions from his own research. He further argued that van Lommel does not refute neurobiological explanations,[further explanation needed] gives no scientific basis for his statements and borrows concepts from quantum physics without ground (quantum mysticism). According to Swaab, Van Lommel deviates from the scientific approach and Consciousness Beyond Life can only be categorized as pseudoscientific.[5]

Jason Braithwaite, a senior lecturer in Cognitive Neuroscience in the Behavioural Brain Sciences Centre, University of Birmingham, issued an in-depth analysis and critique of van Lommel's prospective study published in the medical journal The Lancet, concluding that while Lommel's et al. study makes a useful contribution, it contains several factual and logical errors. Among these errors are van Lommel's misunderstandings and misinterpretations of the dying-brain hypothesis, misunderstandings over the role of anoxia, misplaced confidence in EEG measurements (a flat electroencephalogram (EEG) reading is not evidence of total brain inactivity), etc. Jason concluded with, "it is difficult to see what one could learn from the paranormal survivalist position which sets out assuming the truth of that which it seeks to establish, makes additional and unnecessary assumptions, misrepresents the current state of knowledge from mainstream science, and appears less than comprehensive in its analysis of the available facts."[6]

In his book[4] van Lommel also supported alleged psychic abilities of some NDErs. In a review, skeptic Donna Harris wrote the research was unreliable as it was taken from self-reported surveys and interviews and "since any type of paranormal or intuitive power remains unproven, it is troubling that the author doesn’t question these abilities, and just includes them as accepted facts."[7]

In a 2019 interview van Lommel declared the medical definition of consciousness shall be discussed another time: "All these patients with this enhanced consciousness, with this near-death experience, with cognition, with emotions, with clear thoughts, with memories, happens during the period of a non-functioning brain. So the concept we had learned should be discussed again. And my opinion now is that consciousness is not localized in the brain and the brain has a facilitating function and not a producing function to experience consciousness."[8]


  • Van Lommel, P., van Wees, R., Meyers, V. and Elfferich, I. (2001) Near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest: a prospective study in the Netherlands. Lancet 358: 2039-2045.
  • Van Lommel, P. (2004). About the continuity of our consciousness. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology 550: 115-132.
  • Van Lommel, P. (2006). Near-Death Experience, Consciousness and the Brain. A new concept about the continuity of our consciousness based on recent scientific research on near-death experience in survivors of cardiac arrest. World Futures, The Journal of General Evolution 62: 134-152.
  • Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience (2010, 2011)
  • Van Lommel, P. (2011). Near-death experiences: the experience of the self as real and not as an illusion. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 1234: 19-28.
  • Van Lommel, P. (2013). Nonlocal Consciousness. A concept based on scientific research on near-death experiences during cardiac arrest. Journal of Consciousness Studies 20: 7-48.


  1. ^ a b van Lommel, Pim. Getting Comfortable With Near-Death Experiences. Dutch Prospective Research on Near-Death Experiences During Cardiac Arrest. Missouri Medicine, March/April 2014, 111:2, 131
  2. ^ Findings from Rijnstate Hospital Advance Knowledge in Heart Attack. Cardiovascular Week via NewsRx.com, Dec. 5, 2011.
  3. ^ Lommel, Pim van, Ruud van Wees, Vincent Meyers, and Ingrid Elfferich. “Near-Death Experience in Survivors of Cardiac Arrest: A Prospective Study in the Netherlands.” The Lancet 358, no. 9298 (December 15, 2001): 2039–2045.
  4. ^ a b Lommel, Pim van. Consciousness Beyond Life: The Science of the Near-Death Experience. New York: HarperOne, 2011.
  5. ^ Swaab, Dick. (2014)."We Are Our Brains: From the Womb to Alzheimer's". "However, he should not fool people by giving his book the subtitle The Science of the Near-Death Experience. Nor should he, a doctor, frighten off potential organ donors with his completely unscientific theories."
  6. ^ Braithwaite, J. J. (2008). "Near Death Experiences: The Dying Brain" Archived 2014-03-12 at the Wayback Machine. Skeptic. Volume 21, Number 2. Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  7. ^ "Broadcasting from the Great Beyond a book review by Donna Harris". Retrieved 2014-07-12.
  8. ^ Dying and afterlife: what a cardiologist has researched (An Interview with Pim van Lommel). Velp: Thanatos TV. May 30, 2019. (at minute 10:00)

External links[edit]