Ambitions in life

Geert and Maaike got married in 1955, and lived in Amsterdam for a while. Having a family was Geert’s great ambition in life.

Maaike is 90% of my success, being there and having a home base that was in order and being available when I had another crazy idea like moving to Switzerland and we both liked the same things. And of course, together getting very nice children and grandchildren. We are a joint venture.”

Listen to Geert tell about his fantasies as a young man.


When Geert got a job in Twente, they moved to Hengelo, Overijssel, where they rented part of the old house “Drienerwolde”. Gert Jan was born in 1956, Rokus in 1959. The family moved to a house in a new development in Enschede, also in Twente. Elizabeth was born in 1962, and died unexpectedly of child diabetes in 1964. Bart was born later in 1964. They moved to Blaricum when Geert began at IBM. Gideon was born in 1967. There were now two “big ones” and two “little ones”.

Geert on the move

Geert’s life at IBM, when working on the worldwide IBM opinion surveys, was hectic. He was rarely at home, and often not in Europe. He would bring home music records and other gifts from far away.

You can find more about this period in the room “Professional life”.

The Family Odyssey of 1973

In 1973 Geert quit his job at IMEDE in Lausanne, took the kids from school, packed all their belongings in long storage, and bought a Ford Transit that he converted into a camper van. The family travelled through Europe and Turkey for three months, camping out. They settled in Brussels after that, where Geert would work on his ideas about cross-national differences.

Gert Jan wanted to go his own way, to prepare for studying in the Netherlands. Amazingly, if reluctantly, Geert let him go.

Listen to Geert speak about the family odyssey.