Professor Ben Schoenmaker studied at Leiden University. He graduated in 1987 with degrees in history and economics.
After he completed his military service in 1988, he was recruited by the Netherlands Institute of Military History (NIMH), which is part of the Ministry of Defence in The Hague. Since then he has published numerous books and articles on the history of the Dutch armed forces and on military history in general. In 2011 he was appointed professor of military history at Leiden University, a position he combines with his work at the NIMH.