Rose-Marie van Otterloo was born on a small farm in Belgium and trained as a psychiatric social worker in Antwerp. At age 22 she left Belgium for the United States, and worked for a 10 months as an au pair in Washington, DC before taking a job at Merrill Lynch where she travelled between Washington DC, Munich, and Amsterdam. She met her husband Eijk at this time, and after marriage dedicated her time to raising her family and serving as a volunteer and board member at her children’s schools.
van Otterloo is a longtime advocate for those in need. She served for 10 years on the Board of Chemonics, International, an international development NGO in Washington DC that works to allieviate poverty in third world countries through agricultural, educational, and health projects. She has a special commitment to those with mental health issues, serving on the board of McLean Hospital and chairing the McLean National Council, a group of ambassadors who advocate for mental health in their communities and worldwide.
The van Otterloos enjoy the museum world, and have a particular love of 17th Century Flemish and Dutch artwork, of which they have a renowned collection. van Otterloo has served on the boards of the Museum of Fine Arts and the Peabody Essex Museum, and more recently the Board of Artists in Naples, Forida.