Professor Egbert de Vries was a prominent agricultural scientist in the latter years of the Dutch Colonial period. In 1934, Professor de Vries became the second initiator of Transmigration programme in Indonesia after Soekarno. Transmigration from Java Island to outside Java was implemented in order to reduce poverty. Interestingly, he is quite famous during the colonial era in which he provided first hand information about the economic situation in Indonesia. Indeed, as a consultant to the Indonesian government, he revisited Indonesia several times in the 1960s to 1970s.
He was born in 1901 in Grijpskerke (Zeeland, The Netherlands) and he was the head of the Economic Resource Section and economic adviser to The World Bank in Washington DC. Egbert de Vries was the first full-time rector of ISS (1956-1966). He was also as Emeritus Professor in International Development at the University of Pittsburgh. The Institute of Social Studies awarded its honorary doctorate to Egbert de Vries in 1966.
In 1979, Professor De Vries was invited by The Ford Foundation to revisit the places in Java and North Sumatera where he had worked during the pre-war years. In his observation, he found that specific circumstances such as geography and available labour were the reason of complicatedly indigenous agriculture. He also adopted an individual extension approach that could concentrate on outstanding farmers, who could become pioneering example for their colleagues.