The life of Geert Mak
Journalist and historian Geert Mak was born in 1946. His father served as a Protestant clergyman in the Dutch province of Friesland; the family also lived for a time on the Indonesian island of Sumatra. Mak started in Amsterdam as editor of a the weekly De Groene Amsterdammer, worked for years at the foreign desk of the VPRO broadcasting company and as city-reporter of the NRC Handelsblad daily. As from 1992 he has dedicated himself increasingly to the writing of books. With 'Jorwert, The Biography of a Village', 'Amsterdam, A Brief Life of the City' and 'The Century of my Father' he became one of the most successful authors of the Netherlands. 'In Europe', his voyage through the continent and through the twentieth-century Europe, became also in the rest of Europe a classic. On behalf of the city of Amsterdam he held the 'Wibaut Chair' as extraordinary professor of urban issues at the University of Amsterdam. He was in 2008 awarded with the Leipziger Buchpreis für Europäischen Verständigung. His books are translated in more than twenty languages.
Geert Ludzer Mak was born in Vlaardingen on December 4, 1946, as the youngest son of the Dutch Reformed clergyman Catrinus Mak and his wife, Geertje van der Molen. Geert Mak grew up in the towns of Leeuwarden and Hurdegaryp, and attended the Reformed Gymnasium in Leeuwarden. He wrote a detailed account of his own family history in the bestselling De Eeuw van Mijn Vader (My Father’s Century).
From 1965 on he studied law and sociology at the VU University Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam. In addition, he worked from 1970 to 1972 as parliamentary assistant for the Pacifist Socialist Party in the Dutch Second Chamber of Parliament.
From 1972 to 1975 he taught constitutional and immigration law at the University of Utrecht. From 1975 to 1985 he was a contributing editor to the De Groene Amsterdammer weekly, specialized in urban and immigration issues.
From 1985 on he worked as staff reporter and city editor for the NRC Handelsblad daily and as foreign editor for the VPRO radio broadcasting company. On behalf of that broadcasting company he made a great many travel reportages, particularly from the United States, Asia, Eastern Europe and the disintegrating Soviet Union.