Van Bergen studied in twentieth century political history in Nijmegen, the Netherlands and earned his PhD in Rotterdam in 1994 on a history of the Dutch Red Cross. Leo has conducted research in medical history, mainly concerning himself with the relationship between war and medicine and tropical medicine.
Besides his post at KITLV, Leo is member of the editorial board of Medicine, Conflict and Survival, a peer-reviewed PubMed-indexed magazine, and member of the board of the Dutch Association of Medical Polemology. Each year he organizes a lecture series on World War I in his residence Nijmegen. Leo is also a worldwide known scholar on medicine and World War I.
‘The Dutch East Indies Red Cross between the colonial wars and the Second World War’, in: Asclepio. Revista de Historia de la Medicina y de la Ciencia 66 (1), enero-junio 2014.
‘Military medicine’, in: Jay Winter (ed.), The Cambridge History of the First World War, Vol. III: Civil Society. Cambridge: CUP, 2014, 287-310.
‘Medical care as the carrot: The Red Cross in Indonesia during the war of decolonization, 1945–1950, in: Medicine, Conflict and Survival, Vol. 29 (2013), No. 3, 216–243.
‘Man-monkey, monkey-man: neutrality and the discussions about the “inhumanity” of poison gas in the Netherlands and International Committee of the Red Cross’, in: First World War Studies, 3, 1 (March 2012), 1-23 (with Maartje Abbenhuis).
‘Duty leads to right. Right leads to duty. Dutch Red Cross, nursing and war 1870-1918’, in: Wolfgang U. Eckart, Philipp Osten (Hg.), Schlachtschrecken – Konventionen. Das Rote Kreuz und die Erfindung der Menschlichkeit im Kriege, Freiburg: Centaurus Verlag, 2011, pp. 67-87.
‘From Goya to Afghanistan. An essay on the ratio and ethics of medical war pictures’, in: Medicine, Conflict and Survival, April-June 2010, pp. 124-144 (with Heidi de Mare and Frans J. Meijman).
Before my Helpless Sight. Suffering, Dying and Military Medicine at the Western Front, London: Ashgate Publishing, 2009.