Holstege studied medicines at the Erasmus University Rotterdam from 1966 to 1971. He was neuroscientist at that University from 1971 to 1987, after which he worked for 4 years for NASA in Mountain View, California. Since 1990 he has worked at the University of Groningen, where he, since 1993, has been a Full Professor of Neuroanatomy and the Chairman of the Department of Anatomy and Embryology at the Faculty of Medicine. While his main focus is the study urge-incontinence in the elderly, some of his recent work focuses on the neurology of sexual behaviour. He was quoted in a New Scientist article as saying, "At the moment of orgasm, women do not have any emotional feelings."