About me

Photo by Danyela Nilles, 2017
Photo by Danyela Nilles, 2017

I was born in 1956 in Indonesia, as a son of Dutch parents. Due to a wave of nationalism, our family had to repatriate to the Netherlands when I was one year old. We lived in Eibergen, near the German border, then in Scheveningen and The Hague, and finally in Amsterdam, from 1961 on. I went to Catholic kindergarten, elementary school and grammar school, and during my high school years was active in green and anti-war political activities.


I studied Political and Social Sciences at the University of Amsterdam and the Free University Berlin, focusing on the history of political ideas, especially on the rise of fascism. I graduated with honors in 1982 and since then had a  career in the public administration and financial business, next to my ongoing activities as a photographer and art researcher.


In 1986, I moved to Munich and together with friends set up a successful company in the field of mortgage services. After 25 years, I quit the financial field and worked as an image editor and picture rights specialist for a large scientific publisher. Next to my work, I studied the art history of the last decades of the 19th century and since 1990 operated my own artistic photo studio. Between 2000 and 2008, I organized and financed an art-historical research project producing high-resolution 3D scans of plaster sculpures by Auguste Rodin in 25 art museums all over Europe. After 2008,  I developed the concept of photo-theatre art and realized over 20 ambitious photo series in my studio in Munich-Moosach. During this time, I hosted and trained over 40 interns, from Germany, England, Romania, Marocco, Turkey, Nigeria, Russia, Iran, Indonesia, Korea and Japan.


Publishing my photo series The Ultimate Dracula  led me to Dracula Studies, with astonishing results: I discovered the true place Bram Stoker had in mind for Castle Dracula; I solved the mystery around Count Dracula’s lifetime identity, fruitlessly debated among Dracula experts for 50 years, and the novel’s intended time frame; I discovered the actual sites of the Scholomance and Carfax, and established that the Icelandic version of Dracula, Makt myrkranna, was no abridged translation of Stoker's orginal. I learned Icelandic to create a complete translation, which was published as Powers of Darkness in 2017. The book attracted international press attention and was positively discussed in the New York Times, The Guardian, the Times Literary Supplement and the Chicago Tribune, among others (see page Reviews). When an earlier Swedish version of Dracula was unearthed, I found out it might have been created by the Swedish journalist Anders Albert Andersson-Edenberg, and discovered that parts of the Swedish preface were copied from the memoirs of a Stockholm pastor. Last but not least, I unearthed the first known US serialization of Dracula, in the Chicago Inter Ocean of Spring 1899. My research activities earned me the Research Award of the Transylvania Society of Dracula and the Lord Ruthven Award 2018.


Between 2011 and 2018, I have traveled Romania more than a dozen times. Together with Dacre Stoker, Bram Stoker's great-grandnephew, I worked on Dracula by Bram Stoker—The Travel Guide. From December 2013 till November 2016, I was the acting editor of Letter from Castle Dracula, the official news bulletin of The Transylvanian Society of Dracula. In October 2015, I took the initiative to organize the Fourth World Dracula Congress in Dublin, that was successfully held on 20-21 October 2016 at Trinity College, Dublin. To follow up, I initiated a new trans-platform Dracula conference series in Brașov. The first event in these series took place in October 2018; the follow-up event was held as an online congress from 16-18 April 2021. There, my documentary on Philippine vampires earned the Golden Bat Award for the Best Educational Documentary.


As Dracula research is a rather penniless profession, I relocated to the Philippines by the end of 2017, with the idea to build an art and photo school and educate interns, as I had done in my Munich studio over many years. After three years of building, the campus is ready by now, but my interest has shifted to writing novels. My first thriller, Carolien Blansjaar and the Cursing Priest, currently is under review by publishers.