Born in West Sussex, England, van der Heijden is the youngest daughter of a Dutch father and Swiss mother. Her musical studies began at age 4 on recorder, then piano at age 5 and cello at age 6. In 2005, she joined the junior department of the Royal College of Music, where she studied piano under Emily Jeffrey. Her first public performance was at age nine with Forest Row's Jupiter Chamber Orchestra. She has been a pupil with Leonid Gorokhov since 2008.