"A criminal's life for me"

RNW archive

This article is part of the RNW archive. RNW is the former Radio Netherlands Worldwide or Wereldomroep, which was founded as the Dutch international public broadcaster in 1947. In 2011, the Dutch government decided to cut funding and shift RNW from the ministry of Education, Culture and Science to the ministry of Foreign Affairs. More information about RNW Media’s current activities can be found at https://www.rnw.org/about-rnw-media.

Gerard Nijburg turned to crime early, going to prison for the first time at the age of 13. With a bully for a father and an unhappy home, he never felt as though he fitted in.

He used drugs, alcohol, gangs and casual sex to try and give his life meaning. Violence was his way of winning status and respect.




Spending time in prison didn’t bother him. Prison was a place to learn new tricks of the trade and make friends.  Gradually, drugs and alcohol took over and feeding his addictions became his life. 

But Gerard finally hit rock bottom and decided he wanted to turn his life around. Slowly he managed to regain control of his life.

He now uses his own experience to try and help youngsters who are at risk of making the same mistakes. To show them that there are better options than criminality and addiction.

Gerard will never be an angel, and still falls of the wagon sometimes. But his life has made him who he is. And now he’s determined to put his negartive experiences to positive use.