C.W. Corts MSc was born on 24 May 1920 into a Dutch family living in Sumatra, where his father practiced medicine. In 1939 Kees Corts returned to the Netherlands for his tertiary education with his parents and younger brother, Philip. World War II proved to be a tragedy for the family, as Philip was executed during the occupation of the Netherlands.
After the Second World War, Kees Corts worked as a mining engineer in Asia and America. Later he became a dentist, practicing in The Netherlands. He passed away on 16 August 2005. His legacy capital was secured in The Corts Foundation.
During his life, Kees Corts took a keen interest in history for personal reasons. As his family had suffered so much in WW II, Kees Corts was constantly dissatisfied with the patchy information about those who had not survived the atrocities of the war. Therefore, throughout his whole life he pleaded for better documentation about World War II, in both the Netherlands and Indonesia.
He was also interested in the documentation of Asian-European relations in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. One of the collections he wanted to help preserve is the archives of the Dutch East India Company. He realized that these sources, although colored by the one-sided perspective of Europeans, are invaluable for studying the maritime, political and cultural past of the countries of "Monsoon Asia" around the Chinese Sea and the Indian Ocean.