Berthe was born in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and developed an interest in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism from an early age. She lived in Dharamshala between 2000 and 2005, learning the Tibetan language to become an interpreter of the Dharma. After graduating from the Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo Translator Program, she worked for the FPMT Dharma center in the Netherlands as an in-house interpreter and translator. At the same time, she started her BA degree in Languages and Cultures of India and Tibet at Leiden University. After finishing an MPhil degree in Tibetan and Himalayan Studies at Oxford University, and a PhD in Buddhist Studies, Berthe has held various research positions and the chair of Tibetan Studies at Leipzig University. She is the author of The Monastery Rules: Buddhist Monastic Organization in Pre-Modern Tibet (University of California Press, 2018), and the Buddhism-inspired children’s book Don’t Kill the Bugs (Bala Publication, 2023). Berthe also holds a Dutch Research Foundation (NWO) VENI grant for a project on the relationship between Buddhism and Law in early modern Tibet. Often to her own detriment, she is drawn toward obscure and little-known Tibetan Buddhist texts, practices, and phenomena.
Living in the Netherlands, she is still a lifelong student and practitioner of Buddhism, and a mother of three. Her proudest moment was to act as H.H. the Dalai Lama’s interpreter in the presence of an audience of more than ten thousand people.