‘Max Havelaar, or the Coffee Auctions of the Dutch Trading Company’ was published in May 1860. The book had an explosive impact and is now considered the high point of Dutch literature.

In Max Havelaar, colonial practices in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) were exposed for the first time in the form of a novel. The writer, Multatuli – the pseudonym used by Eduard Douwes Dekker, a former official in the East Indies – became celebrated and infamous in one fell swoop. In the years that followed, he grew to become a kind of national conscience. He brought up extremely diverse societal, political and social issues for discussion in his writings.

The Memory of the Netherlands archive shows a selection of documents, letters and photographs, mostly from the period around the creation of Max Havelaar. They form part of the Multatuli collection in the Special Collections, on loan from the Multatuli Society

Published by  Special Collections UvA

3 July 2014