Van Buuren was born in Gouda, Holland, in 1886. He settled down in Brussels in 1909 and entered the banking sector. During his financial career, there were great political and economic events of the 20th century. He married the Belgian Alice Piette (1890-1973) and began a period of 30 happy years with the cultural vocation of their Art Deco
house. Van Buuren sponsored several charities and cultural activities which work Alice continued till their Private Foundation in 1970, to which she be queathed her house, works of art and gardens, and which constitutes the present museum.