When Robert and Marieke Burgers first emigrated to Vancouver from The Netherlands in 1967, they were quick to assimilate to Canadian culture. The couple founded their firm, Burgers Architecture, in 1980. “They embraced everything about the West Coast, including skiing, sailing and contemporary architecture,” says Mary Burgers, the firm’s creative director (and their daughter-in-law.) The traditions of home still beckon, though, especially during the holiday season, which is a welcome opportunity to return to their roots.
On December 5, the Burgers celebrate Sinterklaas, or Saint-Nicholas, the Dutch holiday. The celebration is centered around family, food and gathering. The firm truly is a family affair: Cedric, the couple’s eldest son, now helms the studio as lead architect, and there’s no shortage of successful artists in their clan: their daughter, Canadian artist Bobbie Burgers, occasionally provides paintings for the firm’s projects.
We spoke to senior interior designer and matriarch Marieke Burgers about their Sinterklaas traditions, favorite holiday recipes and how small decorating touches tie it all together.
Scroll down to see how the Burgers celebrate the holidays, Dutch-style.