Selected on the back of a superb season with Ajax, whom he joined last summer to be team up with coach Martin Jol, the former Alkmaar holding midfielder contested three 2010 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers. First capped against Slovenia in March 2007, he was called up by the Netherlands for UEFA EURO 2008 before playing his part in the side’s imperious march through qualifying for South Africa.
Born in Apeldoom, where he turned out for local clubs WSV and AGOVV, De Zeeuw joined Go Ahead Eagles at the age of 17. He eventually spent five years with the Deventer outfit before being snapped up by Alkmaar in the summer of 2005, after the club’s then coach Louis van Gaal had spotted him in a friendly against his side. The newcomer made 26 appearances in his first campaign to earn himself a contract extension until 2010, and the following season he progressed even further. AZ came tantalisingly close to taking the Eredivisie crown, but the disappointment De Zeeuw felt at falling short was soon mitigated by selection for EURO 2008. Back in the Netherlands ahead of 2008/09, Van Gaal then asked him to take more of a leadership role on the pitch and in the dressing room and, with the midfielder following those instructions to the letter, Alkmaar clinched their first title in 28 years in May 2009.
With that objective attained, De Zeeuw turned down a new deal and held out for a move elsewhere, facing initial frustration when transfers to both Ajax and Hamburg fell through. Alkmaar ultimately sanctioned a switch to their rivals from Amsterdam, however, allowing the player to join up with Jol, an admirer of his talent and the man who had originally tried to coax him to Hamburg.