Jan de Vries was born in the Netherlands, but moved to the United States as a boy and is an American citizen. He obtained his Ph.D. in 1970 (Yale University). Since 1977 he has been Professor of History and, since 1982, Professor of History and Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Professor de Vries and Ad van der Woude co-authored the standard work The First Modern Economy. Success, Failure and Perseverance of the Dutch Economy from 1500 to 1815. Professor De Vries was made a foreign member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1989. He is also a member of the British Academy, the Society for Dutch Literature, and various international scholarly organizations. From 1991 to 1993 he held the post of president of the Economic History Association, and he is an editor of the Journal of Economic History.