Dick de Zeeuw was born in Tandjong Poera (Dutch East Indies) on January 24, 1924. He studied agronomics in Wageningen where he also obtained his PhD. After his promotion he studied biochemistry and biophysics at different universities across the United States.
From 1958 Dick first started working as director of the Instituut voor de Toepassing van Atoomenergie in de Landbouw and later on as director of the Dienst Landbouwkundig Onderzoek and as chairman of the executive board of the Agricultural University.
Beside his scientific work, Dick de Zeeuw was a member of the Catholic People’s Party (KVP). He started off as a member of the town council in Ede, after which he became member of the provincial council of Gelderland and member of the Senate of the Netherlands. In the Senate Dick de Zeeuw performed as spokesman of Higher Education, science policy and environmental hygiene. Dick de Zeeuw gained special popularity as chairman of the KVP, when he tried to reform the KVP to a wider party open for all Christian and non-Christian members.
Later on Dick de Zeeuw decided to write a book ‘Schrijven op marmer’, about his life and his experiences in the German concentration camps during the Second World War. The latter eventually formed the keynote to his life. To be politically and socially actively involved, meant to Dick the following: to do right to people, to make sure there will be no division between rulers and subjects, to make sure that everybody can participate in the process of decision-making. Moreover, to make people aware of the fact that they have to make a contribution themselves.
Dick de Zeeuw devoted himself to giving people a voice in the world, through his work as chairman of International Dialogues Foundation, and as advisor for the World Bank. Dick de Zeeuw has been active throughout his whole life till the day he passed away. He worked as an advisor for the World Bank about the weir project, in which he devoted himself for sustainable water management, and better living conditions for the poorest residents.
He died after a heart attack at the age of 85, during a mission in Laos, in Bangkok.