• Pieter C. van der Kruit
Part of the Astrophysics and Space Science Library book series (ASSL, volume 416)


World War I had a profound effect on Kapteyn’s life. Not only was he prevented from traveling to Mount Wilson after 1914, he also ran into serious attacks after his decision not to return the award of the ‘Orden Pour le Mérite’ to the German Kaiser, which he received just before the outbreak of the War. His neutralist opinion that after the war Germany should not be banned from international (scientific) organizations, yielded some outspoken enemies among his colleagues. He resigned his membership of the Netherlands Royal Academy, which supported German exclusion from the IRC. His model for the Sidereal System ran into serious disagreement with work on globular clusters by Harlow Shapely. On the other hand he received many tokens of appreciation when he celebrated the 40th anniversary of his professorship in Groningen in 1918. After having been heavily involved in a reorganization of Leiden Observatory in that same year, following the death of the younger van de Sande Bakhuyzen, Kapteyn accepted a temporary, part-time position as deputy director in Leiden after his retirement. The Kapteyns bought a house in Hilversum to spend the rest of their lives. However, he became seriously ill in the fall of 1921 and stayed with his daughter and son-in-law in Amsterdam. The disease proved fatal and he died on June 18, 1922.


Globular Cluster Proper Motion Deputy Director Royal Academy International Astronomical Union 
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Chapter  16. Finale

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pieter C. van der Kruit
    • 1
  1. 1.Kapteyn Astronomical InstituteUniversity of GroningenGroningenThe Netherlands

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