Background info

This is the website of Bert van Oers (Phd)

Work Information
Bert van Oers is retired since 01.01.2017.
Formerly he was Staff member of the Department Theory and Research in Education. VU University Amsterdam (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam). Now he is Professor emeritus Cultural Historical Theory of Education .
He gives courses and lectures from a cultural-historical perspective on Educational psychology, didactics, early education, play as a context for learning, (emergent) literacy and mathematics, art education.

The Department Research and Theory in Education is part of the Faculty of Behaviour and Movement sciences of VU University in Amsterdam (see The department provides training in the area of education and curriculum and has a research program “Developmental Education in the school context” (see ).

The chair Cultural historical Theory of Education is connected to the Faculty of Behaviour and Movement sciences of VU University in Amsterdam, and established upon request of the Academy for Developmental Education ( ).

Prof. emeritus Bert van Oers, Department Theory and Research in Education, FPP, VU University Amsterdam, van der Boechorststraat 7 (4th floor), 1081 BT Amsterdam,
Phone: +31-20-5988912


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* Marilyn Fleer interviews Bert van Oers (Melbourne, 2013): see:   ( in English )

* Chiel van der Veen interviews Bert van Oers (2019, in Dutch ): see: For Journal: De Wereld van het Jonge Kind

* Vittorio Busato interviews Bert van Oers (in Dutch, January 12, 2012, in Dutch ) see:                         

Biographical note:

Bert van Oers studied psychology at the university of Utrecht with professor Carel van Parreren and graduated in 1977; he specialised in learning theory (particularly an action-based theory of learning as was developed by van Parreren since the 1950s), developmental psychology, curriculum theory, instructional theory in the areas mathematics, literacy and art.

From the mid-1970 he developed his theoretical orientation on the basis of the work of Vygotskij, Leont’ev and their followers, currently well-known worldwide as Culturalhistorical Activity Theory (CHAT). Bert is cofounder of the educational concept ' Developmental Education '.

Since 1977 he is staff member at the Free University in Amsterdam and worked with prof Jacques Carpay who supervised him in his PhD research. Dissertation (1987): Activity and concept (in Dutch). Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit. Previously Staff member at the Department of Education and Curriculum of the Vrije Universiteit. Since 2004 Bert van Oers is Professor of Cultural-Historical Theory. Since 2017 van Oers is retired.

President of ISCRAT congress: 1998 - 2002
Honorary Doctor University of Jyväskylä: 2004 -
Professorship Cultural-historical Theory of Education: 2004 –
Honorary member of The association of Developmental Education (Vereniging voor Ontwikkelingsgericht Onderwijs)

Bert van Oers is leading a research group taking a Cultural-Historical Activity Theory perspective.
Associate members of the group are: Marjolein Dobber (PhD), and Chiel van der Veen (PhD), Femke van der Wilt (PhD)


Memberships of editorial boards:
European Early Childhood Education Research Journal
International Journal of Early Years Education
Sovremënoe Doškol'noe Obrazovanie (Preschool Education Today)
Psychology in Russia
Zone (in Dutch)

HONORARY MEMBER OF ACADEMIE OF DEVELOPMENTAL EDUCATION [Academie voor Ontwikkelingsgericht Onderwijs]. (since 2016)

Main book publications :

* Concepts in school: the theory of V.V. Davydov (in Dutch, co-authored with J. Haenen). Amsterdam: Pegasus, 1983.

* Views on early childhood education (in Dutch, co-edited with F. Janssen-Vos). Assen: van Gorcum, 1992.

*The pupil as a participant in culture. (in Dutch, co-edited with Wim Wardekker). Delft: Eburon, 1993.

* Count on it! Reflections on the practice of mathematics education (in Dutch, co-autored with J. Nelissen). Baarn: Bekadidact, 2000.

* Symbolizing, Modeling and Tool use in Mathematics Education (co-edited with K. Gravemeijer, R. Lehrer, and L. Verschaffel). Dordrecht: Kluwer, 2002.

* Narratives of childhood.Theoretical and practical explorations for the innovation of early childhood education. Amsterdam: VU University Press, 2003.

* Developmental psychological views on young children (in Dutch, co-edited with W. Westerman). Baarn: Bekadidact, 2004.

* Crossthinking. Essays on Developmental Education (in Dutch). Assen: van Gorcum. (2005)

* The Transformation of learning. Advances in Cultural-Historical Activity Theory. (Co-edited with W. Wardekker, E. Elbers., R. van der Veer). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2008.

* Citizenship and identity formation (in Dutch, Co-edited Bert van Oers, Yvonne Leeman, Monique Volman). Asen: van Gorcum. (2010).

* Developmental Education for young children. Concept, practice and implementation (Edited by Bert van Oers). Dordrecht: Springer, 2012.

* International Handbook of Early Childhood Education. (Co-Edited by M. Fleer & B. van Oers). Berlin: Springer, 2017.

* I is a plural (in Dutch: "Ik is een meervoud"). Assen: van Gorcum, 2021.

For articles written by van Oers, see Publication list elsewhere on this website: /publications.