A year before he had already published another book, on the Red Cross-aid in the Dutch East Indies from the Atchin-war up until the socalled ‘politional actions’, a eufemism for the war to stop the inevitable Indonesian decolonisation. Question was if, and if so: in how far, this aid had maintained or even strengthened the colonial system. The title of the book: Een menslievende en nationale taak. Oorlog, kolonialisme en Rode Kruis in Nederlandsch-Indië 1870-1950 (A humanitarian and national task. War, colonialism and the Red Cross in Dutch East India 1870-1950) already hints at the outcome. Medical aid was not only given out of humanitarian reasons, but was an instrument for strengthening or repairing colonial relations. It has recently been published in English: The Dutch East Indies Red Cross 1870-1950: on humanitarianism and colonialism
This tropical-medical research was continued in the form of a history of 100 years Dutch Tropical Medical Society, titled: Van Koloniale Geneeskunde tot Internationale Gezondheidszorg (From colonial medicine to international healthcare). The tropical-medical interest also led to a three year scholarship to do research into leprosy in Dutch East India (1800-1950), part of a larger project called ‘Leprosy and Empire’, of which research into leprosy in Surinam is the counterpart. Consequence was that Van Bergen left the VU-medical center, partly dforced because the medical history section of the Metamedica department was cancveled. He joined the KITLV in Leiden (Centre for Indonesian and Caribbean Studies). [KITLV]
Shortly before (2009) Van Bergen also wrote a report on the history of the Dutch MSF-section ‘Artsen zonder Grenzen’: Hulp in Tijden van Geweld (Aid in times of violence). He furthermore for several years cooperated in a European project, ‘Medical Peace Work’. This contained the shaping of a digital handbook and an online course on primary, secondary and tertiary prevention of and medical involvement in societal violence, from small scale violence at home up until large scale warfare. This was done in cooperation with organisations and universities from several European countries such as Norway, Great-Britain, Germany, Turkey and Slovenia. [Medical Peace Work]
It fits the already mentioned red thread in Van Bergen’s research and lecuturing activities: the relationship between war and medicine, also coming to the fore in his coordinating task (2004-2012) of the student course ‘Healthcare, Ethics, War and Peace’. That Van Bergen is co-editor of the peer-reviewed magazine Conflict, Medicine and Survival [MCS] should be seen in this light as well, as his membership of the board of the Dutch section of the IPPNW: the ‘NVMP-Gezondheidszorg en Vredesvraagstukken’. [NVMP]
This is also the case with his latest projects: first in September 2019 a book will be published on the history of Dutch Military Healthcare 1795-1950: Pro Patria et Patienti, for which he had received a two-year appointment at the Dutch Veterans’ Insitute and the NIMH (Netherlands Institute for Military History). Also he now works on a biography of a Dutch military doctor (end of 2019) and is editing a bulky work titled World War and Health: rethinking resilience, hopefully to be published at the beginning of 2020.
For his research into the relationship between medicine, war and peace, on 6 June 2009 he received the Dr. J.A.Verdoorn award.