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"His penetrating eyes
zoomed into the untold agonies of the families."

V. Kaladharan

MA Fieldwork Associate

Kerala, India.

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New book! Planet Inside

In this forthcoming book, fieldwork anthropologist Dr. Peter van der Werff narrates personal experiences situated along the lines of early humans moving over the planet.

You will learn about his encounters with rock-bottom realism of humorous farmers, army men trying to be friendly, mother and baby elephant, romantic women in Nagaland, Java, and California, and the sophisticated descendant of a maharaja.

On shores of seas and wide rivers, you find him contemplating about the subjectivity of what we regard as true, felt spirits and gods, and the subconscious resistance of cultures in adapting to rapid changes.


Boek in voorbereiding!

De zuidas van Bloemendaal

Als antropoloog verdiept Peter van der Werff zich in persoonlijke levens en hun verwevenheid met de natuur, wijdere samenleving en bebouwde omgeving.


Voor het mooie tijdschrift Ons Bloemendaal reconstrueert hij vroegere levens om bij te dragen aan behoud van antropologisch erfgoed in de streek

Hij schrijft nu een serie artikelen over de dorpen Bennebroek en Vogelenzang die samen de zuidas van de gemeente Bloemendaal vormen, lopend van de Haarlemmermeerpolder tot de zee.


Na voltooiing van de serie, komen de stukken in een bundel uit.

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Modern Poverty

Modern poverty results from low wages and underemployment. It occurs among a growing number of households without land for subsistence farming. They depend on paid labor for others. But even if wages are not bad, the days of work are often too few for a sufficient income, while prices in shops are rising.

For their survival, the modern poor bargain with shopkeepers for food, brave police raids by building huts on government land, buy and sell tiny pieces of land, or illegally collect edibles and firewood from forests.

This book spells out the life of landless and underemployed households in the foothills of Kerala, India. Although Kerala develops rapidly, it still has a minority of such poor, marginalized people.

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Schot in de Leegte

Peter van der Werff tast in het duister over zijn afkomst en gaat daarom op zoek naar de familie van zijn vader.


Hij neemt de lezer mee naar het landschap waar zijn voorouders tuinbazen op buitenplaatsen waren en eigen tuinbedrijven hadden, waar de mannen op jacht gingen in het woeste duin. De auteur komt tot het besef dat de gezinsleden in het rentmeesterhuis, waar het uitzicht uitzonderlijk mooi en geld geen probleem was, in feite doodongelukkig waren.


Met Schot in de leegte brengt hij de innerlijke pijn van gedoemde mensen aan het licht en laat hij zien hoe de familielijnen zich door de generaties heen hebben voortgezet.

Conference Seating

Keynotes and Workshops

Today's world has a multitude of complexities and changes. The decline of old village life, close family ties, permanent employment, national borders, religions, and political parties creates displacement and consternation. The media add to the confusion with lopsided information. Many feel anxiety or alarm, and don’t know what to do.

Others see fascinating opportunities, such as in international trade, and communication. Over the last decades, and disregarding current restrictions, many have more freedom, economic welfare, health care, free time, and education. Methods for personal growth and healing are emerging.

As a veteran university anthropologist, I offer you unique ways of getting a better grip on these dynamics, find relief, or discover purposeful ways of action.

Therapy Office


As a coach, I guide you lightly in approaching or handling any subject or issue that occupies your mind or heart. Or I simply lend a listening ear and an understanding eye to what you want to express or what comes up spontaneously. Or we are just silently together and let energies be as they are. 

We can go out for a walk in the woods, silently or talking. We can sit in a room, or on a café terrace if conditions allow. We can even arrange for long-distance communication.


Commissioned Writing

Both at home and abroad, I have been writing for colleagues in the fields of science, and management. 


I wrote a multi-stakeholder action plan for the Vietnamese government regarding the effects of global warming, creating changes in the seasonal incidence, and magnitude of cyclones, and rainfall that affect coastal areas of Vietnam.


On behalf of the Chinese government I was contributor and chief editor of the 340 pages document Priority Programme for China's Agenda 21, 1993. (Photo: China’s Agenda 21 1993)


Currently, I receive invitations for writing and editing publications on local history and health care in the Netherlands.



The surprising gifts of walking are numerous. It contributes to building our immune system, all the more desirable under the present circumstances. Walking outdoors is relaxing and inspiring. You may spontaneously find yourself having an entertaining talk.

So, are you longing for fresh air and don’t know where to go? Do you want an informal walk in a small group, or if allowed again, with your colleagues? Or would you like to organize an outdoor team-building event?

You may discuss a prearranged subject in a new environment. You may want to walk in silence in order to recover or prepare for upcoming efforts.

Baby whisperer

Baby Whispering

Surprising as it may seem to be, my calming down crying babies or infants occurs naturally, by just paying attention in a focused but light way.

My ‘whispering’, as it is called, can happen spontaneously or on request, in the family, with
neighbors, in a daycare, distant friends, either in the house, the street, a park or shop. Or we use
telephone calls.

I do it for free, because it is something that exists without any effort from my part. Some parents offer a small present or €10 donation per session.

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