Robert Gorter opened private practice
Robert Gorter opened private practice office as a family practitioner in February of 1974 at a very nice 19th century building at the Weteringschans 72 in the very center of Amsterdam. He had just finished his training in Anthroposophically-Extended Medicine at the University of Basel and at the Lukas Klinik and the Ita Wegman Klinik in Arlesheim in Swizerland.
In the previous months, Robert had looked at numerous buildings to establish a doctor’s office and a day care clinic (“Gezondheidscentrum”, or Health Center) and finally he found an appropriate building at Weteringschans 72, very close to the Heineken brewery and the Rijksmuseum (National Gallery). Without any down payment, Robert was able to get a 100% mortgage from a Dutch bank. Quickly, he renovated the building mostly himself and built the doctor’s office downstairs on the main floor, his living quarters on the first floor, a large meeting room and a bathroom with a huge bath for hydrotherapy on the second floor. On the third floor were his bedroom and for the rest several guest rooms and a second kitchen for the guests. There was a very nice back yard with lot of sun exposure. Here, he built a chicken house but usually, the chicken would sleep high up in the trees.
The pictures down show the renovation of the building where restaurant Baldur would be operating. At Weteringschans 76, a large building with 5 floors was obtained by Robert Gorter and, to save money, Robert and a team of volunteers changed the main floor (“belle etage”) “into a cosy retaurant and the “sous-terrain” into a modern and professional kitchen through thorough renovation. The kitchen was conceived in such a way that it was large enough (approximately 140 M2) to harbor a complete class with students from the Amsterdam Waldorf School (Geert Groote School) and other schools for cooking classes and education on healthy nutrition.
On March 4th, 1974, one month after he opened his practice, Robert Gorter was diagnosed with metastatic Germ Cell Carcinoma stage IIIb (called “Teratocarcinoma” at that time). The prognosis was grim and his colleagues tried to convince him to take chemotherapy and radiation. His surgeon, Dr. Bosma, urologist at the hospital “Onze Lieve Vrouwe Gasthuis” (OLVG) in Amsterdam was furious with him when he told Dr. Bosma he would not follow the conventional therapy protocol of chemotherapy and radiation.
Robert Gorter refused and decided to go his own way, accepting the fact that his cancer diagnosis was his karma, a test, a challenge to stand for what he believed in. After being taught about the concepts of Rudolf Steiner about the cause and subsequent therapy of cancer, Robert saw it as a personal test to follow what he would have recommended to his patients. Thus, he initiated for himself therapies with mistletoe (Viscum album), hyperthermia and curative eurythmy. Having taken up a huge mortgage and other loans to build his office at Weteringschans No. 72 and acquire the adjacent two building as well (Weteringschans No. 74 and No. 76), he was very afraid that if the banks would find out that he was terminally ill with a life expectancy of about six months, they would pull the plug and not grant any new loans or support any new initiative.
Thus, Robert Gorter decided to keep his diagnosis as a secret to himself and told people he had undergone an appendectomy. Everybody believed that and thus, for many years, Robert was able to keep his cancer diagnosis to himself.
Since there were huge bills to be paid and the mortgage was a tremendous burden, Robert had decided to work 7 days a week, 12 hours a day without a break, to be able to pay off as much of the bills he could in the six months or so he would still have to live so that the non-profit, tax-exempt patient association “Wending”, who would take over the buildings one day, would not have too many financial difficulties. (When Robert left for the USA in December of 1982, the patient organization “Wending” had deteriorated into a non-functioning heap of frustrated Anthroposophists and thus, with the support of the Triodos Bank, of which Robert had been a co-founder, another non-profit, tax-exempt patient organization named “Odin” was formed. To Odin, Robert transferred all buildings with the numbers 72, 74 and 76, and all the equipment in these buildings).