Jan van der Straaten studied international and regional economics at Erasmus University in Rotterdam; he wrote his Ph D on an environmental economic issue. He was a senior lecturer at Tilburg University and a senior researcher at the European Centre for Nature Conservation. Furthermore, he was a guest professor at the universities of Athens, Uppsala, Siena, Groningen, Delft, Brussels, Barcelona, Palma de Mallorca, Antwerp and Oxford. He wrote many books and articles on issues as tourism and the environment, environmental policy, sustainable development and principles of environmental economics. Recently, he (co)edited several books on nature areas in the Netherlands. Recently, he got the medal of honour from Brabants Landschap for his extraordinary commitment for nature conservation.

He took his photos mainly during long distance hiking trips and mountaintrips in Alpine and Mediterranean regions. Images of birds, landscapes, plants and butterflies are the result, of which many can be found in the Saxifraga gallery.