Marcel Dicke grew up at the outskirts of Rotterdam, The Netherlands. He enjoyed strolling through the meadows and jumping over ditches to observe animals and plants. He was interested in life in general and his interest in biology, and especially ecology, was aroused by his inspiring high school teacher Piet Groeneboom. Marcel enrolled in the biology curriculum at Leiden University because of its reputation in ecology and obtained his MSc degree cum laude. One of his thesis projects addressed the chemical ecology of parasitoid-host interactions, supervised by Joop van Lenteren.