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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.
Early years in Holland and attraction to astronomy; education at Groningen (1946-1949) and at Leiden under Oort (1949-1956); life at Hale Observatories and Caltech (1956-1977). Research on comets, radio map of galaxy, distribution of mass and rate of star formation in galaxy, red shifts of galaxies and quasars, nature of quasars. Views on cosmology, use of 200-inch telescope, and social relations of astronomy.