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Bertus Gerssen

Photo:Lula Valletta

Bertus Gerssen

Documentary photographer

Spijkermakersstraat 116
2512 ET  The Hague
The Netherlands

+31 (0)6 4178 9582

I photograph worlds not known to everybody, but at the same time recognizable nonetheless. My interest lies with groups, communities and subcultures: from isolated villagers to squatters.

I portray people emphasizing their surroundings. I work with a mediumformat camera, on negative-film and always use an off-camera flash. This way I obtain clarity, detail and sharpness.

My latest publication ‘In Situ’ was released 31 March 2017 during the Rewire Festival in The Hague. ‘In Situ’ is an ode to the Underground Music Scene, its organisers and its visitors. It got selected as one of the Best Dutch Book Designs of 2017 by the student Jury.

On the 21st of december 2012 the national newspaper NRC-Next was entirely devoted to ‘The end of times’. My photo series ‘The end of the Mayan calendar’ had a prominent role in it.

Late 2008/early 2009 I made a series about squatting in the countryside, a fairly unknown phenomenon that occurs across the Netherlands. The series on rural squatters was published in ‘Vrij Nederland’. For ‘DocuDenHaag’ commissioned by ‘Het Nutshuis’ I portrayed residents of The Hague resulting in ‘The social landscape of The Hague’.
‘Volkskrant-magazine’ published a series of six portraits of squatters entitled ‘Forbidden to dwell’ (Oct 2010). Both NRC-Next, and NRC Handelsblad published pictures of my small documentary about Surinam men and their songbirds.

In 2008 I graduated from the Royal Academy of Fine Arts in The Hague with the book “Who is there will stay there’. It tells the story about youth in my native village Urk. I started this project from my curiosity into why the local youth chose to remain in their village, instead of going to study in other cities and discover the ‘outside world’.
A selection from the book was published in a supplement of the newspaper NRC entitled ‘Enclaves’.

These are but a few examples of my social documentary work.
In my work I concentrate on the life of ‘regular’ people. I point my lens at youth, living communities and social injustice, to name a few.

Prizes and awards


Gestetner 140 Open Call prize: Runner up for In Situ


31 August 2018
In Situ was selected as one of The Best Dutch Book Designs 2017 by the Student Jury.


22 Dec
Winner photobook pitch Huis Marseille. Prize: € 1000,- for the realisation of my photobook about Den Haag Underground. Juried by Koos BreukelThomas Manneke and  Nanda van den Berg

Publications (selection)


Alfabet book, (dutch edition) by G.J. de Rook, photography Bertus Gerssen, Stencilwerck editions #01


1 mei 2021
In Situ featured on Landscape Stories, Psychotic Reactions. Italian web magazine dedicated to photography.


31 March
In Situ book on the Underground Music scene of the Hague. It is an ode to it’s organisers and it’s visitors. Its selfpublished and selfprinted using a Risograph stencilmachine


21 Dec
Nrc.last, special edition of the NRC Next‘The end of times is also a new start’

3 Apr
NRC Next: ‘Handy ain’t it, those fingerprints?


16 Dec
NRC Handelsblad; ‘Birds are more important than women’

24 Nov
NRC Next‘Birds first, then the wife’


16 – 17 Oct
Volkskrant MagazineForbidden to dwell, a photo series with interviews about living, squatting and the squatting ban. Download the article (only in dutch): Forbidden to dwell

The Word Magazine: The Breakthrough Issue Music SpecialThe last few outlaws ride the waves; Article on Radiopirates in Londen and Holland. check it out here


27 Dec
Article in winter edition of Vrij Nederland magazine: Countryside squatters in cooperation with writer Judy Zweytzer

24 Dec
Article in supplement of NRC newspaper entitled ‘Across borders, enclaves’. with photo’s of the project Urk, ‘Who is there will stay there’. Download here (in Dutch only)

‘Wie er is die blift er al’ (Who is there will stay there), self published book; ISBN 97890813223

Exhibitions (selection)


Breaking the Mold: Groupexhibition in Hok Gallery


15 March-10 May
An-esthesie a group exhibition at de Grafische werkplaats and Peer in Gallery The Hague


28 sep till 27 okt
In Situ is part of the exhibition of the Foundation for Best Dutch Book Design at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam . It’s a yearly presentation of the Best Dutch book design of the books of the year before.


14 june 2018
Athens Photo Festival 2018 Photobook Exhibition Benaki Museum Athene, Griekenland In Situ was shown during the Athens Photo Festival, in the photobook exhibition 2018.


9 March- 8 June
Peer in Gallery, Solo-exhibition In Situ


9-16 Feb
‘VOID’ group exhibition at The Grey Space in the Middle for the GRAUZONE 2018 Festival. Photo’s of In Situ were shown


31 March-2 April 2017
‘In Situ’ Solo exhibition and booklaunch of ‘In Situ’ during Rewire festival 2017, The Grey Space, Baruch Paviljoen, Den Haag


13 – 14 Dec
‘Den Haag Underground’ exhibition at festival State-X New Forms, Paard van Troje, The Hague

7 May – 28 June
Off the Grid‘, group-exhibition at the Nutshuis, The Hague with Corine Vermeulen and Justine Kurland


3 Sep – 26 Oct
‘Me and my hero’, a group exhibition at the Nutshuis, The Hague


5 Jan – 19 Feb
‘The social landscape of The Hague’ DocuDenHaag; together with five other documentary photographers I tried to show distinct or maybe not so clear changes of the community of the city of The Hague


20 Apr – 22 Jun + 1 Sep – 3 Nov
‘Who is there will stay there’; Hogeschool of Utrecht, Faculty Community and Law, Utrecht; Hogeschool of Utrecht, Institute of Social Work, Amersfoort


28 Jun – 6 Jul
Final exam exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts



2003 - 2008

Royal Academy of Arts The Hague
BA Editorial Photography

1994 - 1999

University of Groningen
MSc Molecular Biology