Bomhoff attended university at Leiden University. After earning his doctorate in economics from the Netherlands School of Economics (now the Erasmus University), Bomhoff worked as a lecturer in monetary policy there. He earned the rank of professor in 1981, and served as director of the Rochester-Erasmus Executive MBA program from 1986 to 1989. He later served as a professor of finance at the Nyenrode Business University.
In addition to his academic career, Bomhoff founded the NYFER institute in 1995, an economic research institute designed as an alternative to the official Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis (Centraal Planbureau). Bomhoff has also been a columnist for the NRC Handelsblad since 1989.
Bomhoff served as Vice Prime Minister and Minster of Health, Welfare and Sport from July 22, 2002 to his resignation on October 16 of that year. Bomhoff served as a member of the Pim Fortuyn List (LPF) despite having been a member of the Labor Party (PvdA) until that election.
During his time in the cabinet, Bomhoff came into significant conflict with the Minister of Economic Affairs, Herman Heinsbroek, a fellow member of the LPF. The resignations of Bomhoff and Heinsbroek precipitated the crisis which ended the first Balkenende cabinet.
Bomhoff returned to academia after leaving the government, accepting positions as professor first at the University of Bahrain and later at the University of Nottingham. He is currently serving as a professor of economics at Nottingham’s campus in Semenyih. Bomhoff has written a book about his time in government, titled Blind Ambitie (Blind Ambition)