Johan Hendrik Caspar Kern (Poerworedjo, April 6, 1833 – Utrecht, July 4, 1917) was a Dutch linguist and Orientalist. In the literature, he is usually referred to as H. Kern or Hendrik Kern.
Hendrik Kern was born to Dutch parents in the Central-Javanese town of Poerworedjo 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. One of their sons, Johan Hendrik Kern, became professor in Sanskrit in Leiden as well.
See also Prof. Kern’s page at the Dutch Studies website.