Henri Nouwen was born in Nijkerk, the Netherlands on January 24, 1932. He was the oldest of four children born to Laurent J.M. Nouwen and Maria Nouwen. Nouwen's father was a tax lawyer and his mother worked as a bookkeeper for her family's business in Amersfoort. His younger brother Paul Nouwen was a prominent Dutch businessman and his uncle Toon Ramselaar was a Roman Catholic priest in the Archdiocese of Utrecht and a co-founder of the Service International de Documentation Judéo-Chrétienne.