De Vrij’s strong development at Feyenoord did not pass by unnoticed, as he quickly received his first invitation for a national youth team. On 21 November 2007, the Netherlands U16 won the friendly match against Ukraine U16 (1–0), with De Vrij’s first appearance in the starting line-up. De Vrij was active on the 2009 UEFA European Under-17 Football Championship in Germany. The Dutch team, aided by a strong contingent of seven Feyenoord players in the squad, finished second after losing the final to Germany in extra-time (2–1). De Vrij was paired up with Dico Koppers in central defence and participated in every match the Oranje played without getting substituted, making a notable contribution. With a second place on the European Championship, the Netherlands U17 qualified for the 2009 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Nigeria. On 7 May 2012, De Vrij was named in the provisional list of 36 players for the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament, one of nine uncapped players to be chosen by Netherlands manager Bert van Marwijk as part of the preliminary squad. He did not make the final cut. On 15 August 2012, De Vrij made his debut under new manager Louis van Gaal in the 4–2 loss against Belgium in a friendly match. He was one of four Feyenoord defenders named in Louis van Gaal’s squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. In the Netherlands’ first game of the tournament, against Spain on 13 June, the referee gave a questionable penalty kick after 26 minutes after Diego Costa stood on De Vrij’s foot and fell. Xabi Alonso converted this penalty to put Spain 1–0 up. The Dutch fought back, and De Vrij scored their third goal, the first of his international career, as they eventually won 5–1. De Vrij played in all of the Netherlands’ matches as they eventually finished in third place. He and Arjen Robben were the two Dutch players selected to the Team of the Tournament. In the Netherlands’ first game of UEFA Euro 2016 qualification away to the Czech Republic on 9 September 2014, De Vrij equalised with a header from Daley Blind’s cross but the Dutch lost 2–1. He headed the team into the lead after 13 minutes in an eventual 2–0 win over Spain in a friendly at the Amsterdam ArenA on 31 March 2015, also wearing the captain’s armband after Wesley Sneijder’s substitution.