Laurens Jan Brinkhorst studied law in Leiden and New York, where he also worked as a lawyer. Between 1967 and 1973 he was Extraordinary Professor in European Law in Groningen. He began his political career with progressive liberal party D66 as a State Secretary of Foreign Affairs. Afterwards, he became member of the Dutch House of Commons, member of European Parliament, Minister of Agriculture and Finance Minister. He was also professor in Tilburg and Leiden.