Ferdinand Verhulst was born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, on September 3, 1939, three months after his father died and a few hours after World War II started. In the following five years, the Netherlands were occupied by nazi Germany, during which from Amsterdam around 100 000 people died from various causes. With such an ominous beginning, life could only get better, and it did.
After visiting school and higher education, he graduated in 1966 at the University of Amsterdam in astrophysics and mathematics; his graduate research was in numerical analysis and programming for celestial mechanics. In the same year, he started working at the mathematics department of the Technological University of Delft, where he spent his time on teaching, research, management and politics. This period was also the beginning of his interest in engineering problems. During these years, he lived with his wife and three kids near Delft in a windmill, dating from 1637.
Realising that getting back to basics, that is, doing research, was necessary, he gave up his permanent position and moved in 1971 to the department of mathematics of the University of Utrecht, where he became a PhD student of Wiktor Eckhaus. His PhD thesis was defended in 1973 and was called ``Asymptotic Expansions in the Perturbed Two-body Problem''. The expansion of applied mathematics at the University of Utrecht, again provided him with a permanent position; he became Senior Lecturer of Mathematics in 1974 and Professor of Dynamical Systems in 1990.
In the seventies, exciting developments in applied mathematics were the theoretical analysis and numerics around the KAM theorem in Hamiltonian mechanics and the many new results in the analytic foundations of asymptotic analysis. His research papers and books reflect his interest in both fields.
Starting in 1969, he visited regularly East European conferences, first from curiosity, but increasingly from a feeling that ``something had to be done'' about this unnatural split of Europe into two parts. These visits triggered cooperation with East European colleagues that are continuing until today.
As usual, he held a number of administrative positions; for instance, he chaired for several years the Foundation which ran the University of Utrecht Weekly. This stimulated his interest in the media and in communicating science. In 1985 he founded a publishing company, Epsilon Uitgaven, which publishes science books, in particular mathematics books, in Dutch.
For nine years he was an editor of SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics. He is still an editor of the Journal of Nonlinear Science, Zeitschrift f. Angewandte Mathematik und Mechanik, Nonlinear Dynamics, SIAM series on Classics in Mathematics, Epsilon Uitgaven (managing editor), Zebrareeks.
Mathematics is an international affair and doing mathematics research has entailed many visits and good contacts all over the world. Listing the visits, lasting at least a month, these were (with the host between brackets): Imperial College, London (J.T. Stuart), Academy of Sciences, Moscow (A. Povzner), Institute of Thermomechanics, Academy of Sciences, Prague (A. Tondl), Department of Mathematics, Princeton University (P.J. Holmes), Department of Physics, Sapienza University, Roma (A. Degasperis), Department of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics, Cornell University (R.H. Rand), Department of Mathematics, University of Milano (G. Gaeta).

Finally a word about ancestors. In 1625, ancestor Willem Verhulst, established and directed a settlement on the island Manhattan. His directorship was not very successful and the Verhulst family has little control over the island nowadays.
Another family relation, Pierre Francois Verhulst, is further removed in the family tree. Around 1570, when the war between the Dutch and the Spanish Empire started, this part of the Verhulst family was sidetracked to stay in the Southern Netherlands, now Belgium. Pierre Francois became a specialist in elliptic functions and invented around 1850 the post-Malthusian logistic equation.