The Van Dam Foundation is established on 12 September 1994 by Mrs. Berthe Elvire (Ninette) van Dam, at that time living in Doorwerth, The Netherlands. Mrs van Dam was born in Amersfoort on the 16th of May 1921 as a daughter in a business owning family. She received her secondary education at ‘het Stedelijk Gymnasium Johan van Oldebarnevelt’ but her life got disrupted when the second World War started. After the war she temporarily assisted in Camp Amersfoort housing war internees. Under the auspices of the IRO (International Refugee Organization) she worked in Germany, amongst others in Ludwigsburg, to support persons who were displaced during the second World War. She received an award for her work from the United States of America.
Later, she specialized in the area of food and nutrition. She started to work for the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Until retirement, she worked for the FAO in many countries and carried out many nutrition studies and surveys amongst indigenous people, for example in Suriname, Turkey and Iran. Her ideas about good nutrition and the importance of education of the population in developing countries to support a balanced diet were rather innovative at that time. Later in life, she decided to establish the Van Dam Foundation in support of improving food and nutrition of the population, especially in developing countries.
The Van Dam Foundation in accordance with the ideas of Ninette van Dam focuses on increasing the knowledge about nutrition, the health and agricultural aspects of nutrition as well as the historical and socio-cultural context of nutrition, especially in developing countries. Before Ninette passed away on the 25th of January 2014, the Foundation has been active under her passionate guidance and, in a modest way, supported several activities related to her ideas. After her death, she left her capital to the Foundation with the request to continue to support projects in areas of her interests.