Beyond the scientist: Gert Westert

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Where and when were you born?

I’m born in Ommen Overijssel in June 1961; Ommen is a pleasant relaxed city at the river Vecht, with one of the finest outdoor swimming pools in the country. A large part of my childhood I spent in in- and outdoor pools, playing waterpolo.

Where do you live and with whom?

Currently I live in Amersfoort with Hilde and our two kids Simone (20) and Carl (15). Close to Schiphol, beach, woods and the big cities; close to the geographical centre of the country. 

Who was your role model when you were a kid?

For serious business no one in particular, but for things that matter to adolescents a few (pop) artists. If I had to name one: Peter Gabriel (and Genesis). Progressive and symphonic rock wrapped in smoke and lyrics: “I know what I like and I like what I know”. 

Why aren’t you doing the same thing now as your role model (or do you?)

Lack of musical skills and creativity, I suppose. I played trumpet and piano, but got bored listening to myself. I’m a consumer if it comes to arts and music. 

What is the thing in your (work or other) history that you are most proud of?

Proud to lead a team of excellent researchers who aim to make a difference for patients (because healthcare is often an unsafe and scary place). 

What is it that you would like to achieve in work in the next 5 to 10 years?

Improve healthcare delivery for the ones that need it and help my kids to make a good start and find their way in society. 

What is your hobby and how good are you at it?

Running; 60 minutes, 2.6 times a week. How good? My favourite run is 1 hour and I’m not measuring distance, 10k probably, sometimes 12. I love to run on my own and set my own targets. Music by Ali Farka Toure, Peter Gabriel keeps me moving. Alternate this with cycle racing (to safe my knees).  

What is your biggest irritation?

Cycling to work in a nice suit while it suddenly starts raining cats and dogs. Not to forget: “NS: no day without delay”. 

Who would you like to invite for dinner, if you had the chance?

Gustav Mahler: to listen to his 4th symphony by the Concertgebouw Orchestra’s directed by Haitink and see Gustav’s reaction when he hears the amazing sound from my KEFF speakers (menu: bitterballen and Westmalle)

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