In 1973, a trip overland from his native Holland landed Bert in India’s Goa district. There he met and admired artisans who, working with rather primitive tools, created beautiful jewellery. Bert was intrigued and stayed several months, absorbing the culture and learning the basics of jewellery making. Upon his return to The Netherlands, he enrolled in jewellery making courses at the Rietveld Academy for Art and Design in Amsterdam, studying with Karel Niehorster. His previous work as a tool-and-die maker helped in understanding the behaviour of metals.
In 1978, Bert immigrated to Canada and settled in Kingston. There, he continued his studies at St. Lawrence College with jewellery instructor Neil Aird, who for many years was the owner of Metalworks, where Bert continues to exhibit his creations. For over twenty-five years, Bert has built a reputation for superb craftsmanship and has received many commissions, opening his own studio in 1985.
He works with precious metals, steel and wood, incorporating precious and semi-precious stones. In Kingston, his work can be seen and purchased at Metalworks, Contemporary Goldsmithing, Zeal Metal, and Frontenac Jewellers, and at his studio in Westbrook.