Born in Belgium in 1860 to a prominent family of ambassadors and statesmen, Baron de Zuylen de Nyevelt was a banker by profession and married into the Rothschild family. An enthusiast of motorcars and a modern thinker, he devoted much of his life to the development of the FIA as we known it today.
In 1895, he co-founded the Automobile Club de France (ACF). The French initiative to found an automobile club was so successful that other countries soon followed suit. Mindful of the practicality of the automobile and its potential as a means for international travel, Baron de Zuylen de Nyevelt concentrated on promoting this concept to enthusiasts of the new technology.
In 1904, de Zuylen de Nyevelt was elected President of both the ACF and the newly-established Association Internationale Automobile Clubs Reconnus (AIACR). He was succeeded by Count Robert de Vogüé at the ACF in 1922, while remaining in power at the AIACR for 27 years. During this period Baron de Zuylen de Nyevelt oversaw the regulation of The Gordon Bennett Cup and encouraged the popular city-to-city races of the first decade of the 20th century, working hard with national authorities to facilitate cross-border motor tourism.
Upon his retirement in 1931, he was made President of Honour at the AIACR in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the international automobile. Baron de Zuylen de Nyevelt passed away in Nice in May 1934.