Van Rossum was born in Zaltbommel. His parents, Johan van Rossum, lord of Rossum and Johanna van Hemert probably married before 1478 and were part of the lower nobility around Bommelerwaard. During his life Maarten acquired the titles of lord of Poederoijen, Cannenburgh, Lathum, Baer and Bredevoort, field marshal of Guelders and Imperial stadholder of Luxembourg.
He is known to have been an experienced commander and is renowned for actions while serving Charles of Guelders in his Guelders Wars against Charles V. He is also known for his participation in the sack of The Hague in 1528. After the Duchy of Guelders was defeated, he simply switched sides, and started working for Charles V, his former enemy.
In the spring of 1555 he became seriously ill, possibly infected with the Black Death or typhus in the city of Charlemont. He died in Antwerp on June 7, 1555, and his body was buried at his birthplace, the village of Rossum.
He featured as an antagonist in the 1960s Dutch TV series Floris.