Diderik Durven was the son of Paulus Durven (1647-1711) and Yda Dirksdr. van den Mierop (1656-1720). He was married twice: first to Jacoba van Breda (d. before 1725) and secondly to Anna Catharina de Roo (1699-1740) in 1725 in Batavia.
Durven studied law in Leyden and conferred a doctor's degree in 1702. He became a lawyer for the Kamer van Delft in 1704. A year later, Durven was appointed a member of the Council of Justice in Batavia; he set sail with the Grimmestein for Batavia in 1706. He was appointed Council extraordinary of the Dutch East Indies in 1720 and was sent to the silver- and gold mines of the Parang mountains in 1722 to supervise the mining activities there. In 1723 Durven became president of the College van Heemraden and was appointed the president of the Council of Justice the next year. This position lasted only shortly, as Durven served as Council from September 1724 onwards. In June 1729, after the death of Mattheus de Haan (1663-1729), Durven became Governor-General of Batavia. This reign was ended abruptly on 9 October 1731, when he was dismissed from his position by the Heren XVII (board of directors), due to their discontent regarding the course of affairs in the Dutch East Indies. In 1732, Durven was compelled to hand over the governorship to Dirck van Cloon (1684-1735) and returned to his mother country. The grounds of Durven's discharge appear questionable. The Heren XVII were in search of a scapegoat for their diminishing power and the corruption in Batavia. Attempts at rehabilitation dragged on so long that the case was brought to a halt after Durven's death in Delft in 1740.