2014 World Cup Netherlands roster
Midfielder Van der Vaart, 31, suffered a calf injury in training on Wednesday.
Manchester United striker Robin van Persie is one of six British-based players selected.
Swansea duo Michel Vorm and Jonathan de Guzman, Aston Villa defender Ron Vlaar, Newcastle keeper Tim Krul and Norwich midfielder Leroy Fer all make the cut.
Feyenoord pair Tonny Vilhena and Jean-Paul Boetius, Manchester City's Karim Rekik, PSV's Jeroen Zoet, Chelsea's Patrick van Aanholt and Twente's Quincy Promes all missed out, along with Van der Vaart.
Hamburg's Van der Vaart was the most experienced member of coach Van Gaal's provisional squad for this summer's tournament, with 109 caps.
Bayern Munich's Arjen Robben, Galatasaray's Wesley Sneijder and Fenerbahce's Dirk Kuyt are among the other high-profile players selected by Van Gaal.
Netherlands open against Spain before facing Australia and Chile in Group B.
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcastle), Michel Vorm (Swansea)
Defenders: Daley Blind, Joel Veltman (both Ajax), Stefan de Vrij, Daryl Janmaat, Terence Kongolo, Bruno Martins Indi, (all Feyenoord), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa).
Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Jonathan de Guzman (Swansea), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Leroy Fer (Norwich), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven).
Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United).