Born in 1974, Nienke van Rijn started studying the violin when she was five years old at the Zuid-Oost Veluwe Regional Music School in Dieren, the Netherlands. From 1985 to 1992, she was enrolled on the preparatory programme for gifted young musicians at the Zwolle Conservatory, where she studied with Else Krieg.
After leaving school in 1992, she went on to study with Jaring Walta at the Royal Conservatoire in The Hague, where she obtained a performance degree with honours in 1998. She has also had lessons with Jaap van Zweden, Herman Krebbers, Isabelle van Keulen and Thomas Brandis.
Van Rijn has taken part in the Princess Christina Competition and the Oskar Back National Violin Competition, and won third prize at the 1991 Davina van Wely Violin Competition.
She was a member of the National Youth Orchestra of the Netherlands and the Gustav Mahler Youth Orchestra.
In October 1997, she performed as a soloist with the Royal Conservatoire orchestra conducted by Lawrence Renes. She made regular solo appearances with various amateur orchestras.
Van Rijn joined the first violin section of the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra in September 2001.
She also performs regularly as a member of various chamber groups and can be heard every year at the Festival Internazionale della Musica in Linari, Italy.
Van Rijn plays an eighteenth-century violin built by Alexander Gagliano.