Hendrik Verwoerd was born in the Netherlands on September the eighth, 1901. The second child of Anje Strik and Wilhelmus Johannes Verwoerd a devoutly religious man and a shopkeeper. 
The Verwoerd family emigrated to South Africa in 1903 due in part to Wilhelmus Verwoerd’s sympathy towards the Afrikaner nation after the recent South African War. 
Hendrik Verwoerd’s older brother was named Leendert and his younger sister was Lucie.
In 1913 the family moved to Bulawayo, Southern Rhodesia where the elder Verwoerd became an assistant evangelist in the Dutch Reformed Church.
As a young student Hendrik Verwoerd excelled at Milton High School thereby earning a Beit Scholarship which he was obliged to decline as the Verwoerd family returned to South Africa, to the town of Brandfort in the Orange Free State. 
Due to the Spanish influenza epidemic Dr. Verwoerd’s Matriculation exams were postponed until February 1919.
Once more proving himself to be an able student at the Lutheran High School for Boys in Wynberg by achieving first position in the Orange Free State and fifth in South Africa. 
At the University of Stellenbosch Dr. Verwoerd earned a masters and a doctorate both cum laude in psychology and philosophy respectively. Continuing his studies in psychology and theology through the Universities of Hamburg, Berlin and Leipzig in Germany from 1925 to 1927. On January the seventh, 1927 Dr. Verwoerd married his fiancee, Betsie Schoombie who joined him in Hamburg that year.
Later on Dr. Verwoerd continued his studies in Britain and the United States of America. 
The following are a number of works published by Dr. Verwoerd:
-"A method for the experimental production of emotions" (1926)
-"'n Bydrae tot die metodiek en probleemstelling vir die psigologiese ondersoek van koerante-advert" 
("A contribution on the psychological methodology of newspaper advertisement") (1928)
-"The distribution of 'attention' and its testing" (1928)
-"Effects of fatigue on the distribution of attention" (1928)
-"A contribution to the experimental investigation of testimony" (1929?)
-"Oor die opstel van objektiewe persoonlikheidsbepalingskemas" 
("Objective criteria to determine personality types") (1930?)
-"Oor die persoonlikheid van die mens en die beskrywing daarvan" 
("On the human personality and the description thereof") (1930?)
In 1928 Dr. Verwoerd returned with his wife to South Africa and he was appointed to the chair of Applied Psychology and six years later becoming Professor of Sociology and Social Work of the University of Stellenbosch. 
During the global economic depression of 1929 Dr. Verwoerd became active in social work among poor White South Africans. 
Devoting much time to welfare work and being often consulted to by welfare organisations, his efforts drew the young Dr. Verwoerd into the political sphere of society.