It was on the 31st of October 1901 that Cornelis Gijsbert Gerrit Jan van Steenis was born at Utrecht, as a first child to H. J. van Steenis and Louisa W. S. van Vuuren. His parents were at the time respectively 39 and 37 years old; both had been educated as schoolteachers. They were late to start a family, but life had not been easy for Hendrik Jan, who had been a follower of the anarchist Domela Nieuwenhuis and would remain all through his life an idealist, pacifist, and at least later an extremely religious man. When the poet and author Frederik van Eeden started his community ‘Walden’, he and his fiancée became members and married early in 1901. Walden proved another deception and with a child on its way it was decided to accept a job as a correspondence clerk at Utrecht. If the family is to be believed, little Kees got what nowadays would be called an antiauthoritarian education. At that time his parents had turned to theosophy and consequendy the children (five sons) were raised as vegetarians.