He was born in Venlo and studied at the schools of Dordrecht and Cologne (Collège des Trois-Couronnes), where he took the degree of Master of Arts, 28 February 1595. He then followed, at Leuven, the lectures on ancient history given by Justus Lipsius.
In 1597 he travelled to Italy and met scholars, especially Cardinal Federigo Borromeo, through whom he was appointed professor of Latin at the Palatine School of Milan from 1600 to 1606. Then the States of Brabant offered him the chair left vacant by Lipsius at Leuven.
He taught at the Collegium Trilingue at the University of Leuven for forty years. He was loaded with favours by reigning princes: the Archduke Albert appointed him his honorary counsellor (1612), and increased his annual pension by 200 ducats (1614), adding the reversion of Château-César. At the same time he filled, after 1603, the post of historiographer to Philip III of Spain, on behalf of the Milanese, with other appointments. His outspoken language provoked political animosities, and he was almost driven into exile by request of King James I of England, who wrongly believed him to be the author of an injurious lampoon.
He fathered 17 children, and died in Leuven.
Puteanus was an encyclopedist; in one period of his literary activity (1603–19), he detached himself from Lipsius by aiming at personal leadership of a school. He then went back to chronological works. As a philologist some of his dissertations were reproduced in the Thesauri of Grævius and Gronovius.
For the history of the numerous writings and editions of Erycius Puteanus see
- Roersch and Vanderhaegen in Bibliotheca Belgica (1904-5), nos. 166, 167, 168, 171
- Roersch in Biographie Nationale de Belgique, XVIII (1904)
- Simar, Etude sur Erycius Puteanus (Louvain, 1909)
- A latinization of Hendrick van den Putte, Errijck de Put or Eric van der Putte.