Kees de Jager (1921 - 2021) made the Netherlands a world player in space research

Space researcher Kees de Jager passed away

Kees de Jager passed away on Thursday 27 May, exactly four weeks after his 100th birthday. Space physicist Cornelis de Jager was a world-renowned pioneer in space research. From his base in Utrecht, he gained fame as a Professor of space physics, founder and director of the Netherlands Space Research Laboratory and as director of Sonnenborg Observatory.

Kees de Jager thuis op Texel
Kees de Jager at home on Texel - photo: New Scientist/Danny Schwartz

On 29 April, a bronze plaque with a portrait of Kees de Jager was unveiled on the outside wall of the Utrecht Sonnenborgh Observatory, on the occasion of his 100th birthday.

Henk Kummeling, Rector Magnificus of Utrecht University, said: “Kees de Jager is often called the Nestor of Dutch astronomy. He acquired international fame with his research as well. As a passionate populariser of science, he gave countless lectures, even at a very advanced age. As an amiable man and teacher, he has been a great source of inspiration for generations of (amateur) astronomers. With his pioneering work, Kees de Jager has contributed greatly to the reputation of Dutch science and of Utrecht University in particular. Many of his ideas originated in the Sonnenborgh Observatory in Utrecht. The plaque that was recently unveiled there on the occasion of his 100th birthday symbolises the great indebtedness of Utrecht University to this exceptional scientist.”

After his retirement, De Jager returned to his native island of Texel and worked there as a volunteer at the Netherlands Institute for Sea Research. He died peacefully at home.