Hendrik Kern was born to Dutch parents in the Central-Javanese town of Purworejo in the Dutch East Indies, but when he was six his family repatriated to the Netherlands. When he entered grammar school, he added the extra-curricular subjects of English and Italian to his studies.
In 1850 he went up to Utrecht University to study Letters, but in 1851 moved to Leiden University to avail himself of the opportunity to read Sanskrit with Professor A. Rutgers. After obtaining his Doctor's Degree in 1855, he moved to Berlin, where he continued his Sanskrit studies as a pupil of Albrecht Weber, and also took up Germanic and Slavonic languages.
On his return to the Netherlands in 1858, Dr Kern accepted a post as a lecturer of Greek at Maastricht. In 1863 he was offered a Professorship in Benares, India where he taught Sanskrit at Brahmana and Queen's Colleges until 1865, when he was offered the Chair of Sanskrit at Leiden University. He remained there until his retirement in 1903, when he moved to the city of Utrecht.
Professor Kern continued work after his retirement, but when in 1916 his wife died, he was heart-broken and out-lived her by less than a year.
Read more about this topic: Johan Hendrik Caspar Kern
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“The symbol of perpetual youth, the grass-blade, like a long green ribbon, streams from the sod into the summer, checked indeed by the frost, but anon pushing on again, lifting its spear of last years hay with the fresh life below. It grows as steadily as the rill oozes out of the ground.... So our human life but dies down to its root, and still puts forth its green blade to eternity.”
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—Bible: New Testament St. Paul, in Romans, 6:23.