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Early life and family in Amsterdam; childhood interest in astronomy and telescope-building; undergraduate at Rijksuniversiteit te Leiden (W. deSitter, J. Woltjer), works at Leiden Observatory; growing interest in galactic research (Ejnar Hertzsprung, Jan Oort); contact with others at Leiden (Paul Ehrenfest, Hendrik Kramers). Assistantship at Rijksuniversiteit te Gröningen, 1938; cooperative stellar catalog with Harvard University and Universität Hamburg. Life during the German Occupation, conditions in Leiden and Holland; the Resistance Movement; returns to Leiden, 1945.
Discussion of Oort's family background and childhood interest in astronomy. Stimulated further through study with Kapteyn at University in Groningen (1917-21). Early work with Kapteyn and Lindblad, leading to postdoctoral work at Yale (1922-23). Return to Leiden (1924), and discussion of stellar research. Other projects of interest to Oort, include radio astronomy and establishment of ESO.