Elisabeth Keesing was born in Amsterdam to a Dutch Jewish family. Her father was Isaac Keesing, a journalist and publisher of the Keesings Historical Archive. She studied Dutch language and literature and history at the University of Amsterdam, and graduated with honors in 1939. She began research for a doctoral degree on the 18th-century economic crisis in Amsterdam. At that time, she met Joop de Jong, a businessman who had worked in Asia, and the couple married in 1937 and moved to Belgium, where their daughter was born. De Jong took a job as head of a small trading company in Malaysia and then in Batavia. Elisabeth was with him in 1941 when the Japanese invaded in World War II. Her husband was executed and she was imprisoned in Japanese POW camps. After the war, she returned to the Netherlands and worked at the National Institute for War Documentation (RIO) and wrote the history of the Dutch East Indies in wartime. From 1947 until 1967, she taught Dutch at the exclusive Vossius Gymnasium in Amsterdam and continued to write. In 1952 she developed the folktale Jade Boddhisatva into a play, which was published by the Ministry of Education, Arts and Sciences. Her first novel appeared in 1959, followed by a dozen more as well as short stories and articles for Dutch periodicals. Recurring themes in her work included her relationship with her father, social criticism, the Japanese occupation, prison camp life, and repatriation. She also wrote a historical biography of Hazrat Inayat Khan, founder of the modern Sufi movement. In 1993, she was awarded the Anna Bijns Prize awarded. Her second husband was Hendrik Willem van Tricht, .