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I have removed this material from the article, as it is unencyclopedic:

It pleased him so much that he is said to have called it the greatest drama ever written. It is a fine poem, written in blank verse and stylistically resembling an English tragedy; but it lacks drama and so has not been widely performed.


Toward the end of his career he was the centre of a crowd of disciples and imitators, whose attentions have dimmed his own reputation. To understand his fame, it is necessary to remember the sensational way in which he broke into the dullness of Dutch literature of his time. He has been compared to a flame out of the Far East. He was ardent, provocative, and edgy, but he made himself heard all over Europe. He brought an exceedingly severe indictment against the egotism and brutality of the administrators of Indonesia, and he framed it in a literary form which was brilliantly original. Not satisfied with this, he attacked, in a fury that was sometimes blind, everything that seemed to him falsely conventional in Dutch religion, government, society and morals. He respected nothing, he left no institution untouched.
Now that it is possible to look back upon Multatuli without passion, we see in him, not what Dutch enthusiasm saw, the second greatest writer of Europe in the nineteenth century (Victor Hugo being presumably the first), but a great man who was a powerful and glowing author, yet hardly an artist, a reckless enthusiast, who was inspired by indignation and a burning sense of justice, who cared little for his means if only he could produce his effect. He is seen to his best and worst in Max Havelaar; his Ideas, hard, fantastic and sardonic, seldom offer any solid satisfaction to the foreign reader. But Multatuli deserves remembrance, if only on account of the unequalled effect his writing had in rousing Dutch literature from the intellectual and moral lethargy of the time.

If anyone would like to rewrite this text in conformance with Wikipedia:Neutral point of view, be my guest. -- Viajero 18:19, 20 May 2005 (UTC)


I see that Dekker’s job in the Dutch East Indies, controleur, has been translated as "a post in the Inland Service." Actually, controleur was a particular position/rank in the Dutch civil administration over the East Indies. "A post in the Inland Service" doesn’t come close. After considering several alternatives, I think the best translation would be "civil servant." (As ranks go, a controleur reported to an assistant-resident, the position/rank that Dekker got later on, at Ambon.) -- Iterator12n Talk 00:46, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Quality of the article[edit]

I have now read the whole article. The article doesn't do right to history or Dekker. There are several howlers, such as "all the secrets of Dutch administration were known to him." Major surgery is necessary to get the article right. The Dutch Wikipedia has a much better story. -- Iterator12n Talk 01:02, 6 October 2007 (UTC)

Why in the Category:National_Heroes_of_Indonesia?[edit]

May be Multatuli was confused with his family member i.e. Ernest Douwes Dekker. Andries (talk) 21:44, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

"Multatuli" in Finnish[edit]

The section about the meaning of "Multatuli" in Finnish was removed by someone whose edit summary states: I am not fluent in Finnish, but I do know that this is not true. Well, I am fluent in Finnish, in fact I speak it natively, and I do know that what was written there is entirely true. The fact that someone who admits to not speaking Finnish claims to know the language better than me is annoying. What is not true is that the Finnish meanings have any intentional connection to this Multatuli person himself, it's just a coincidence.

"Multatuli" is a perfectly valid Finnish word, although it is not actually used, because of its nonsensical meaning. It is a combination of "multa" (soil) and "tuli" (fire), meaning "soil fire". What Finns find funny about it, though, is that if you separate it into two words, it becomes "multa tuli" - "multa" being an inflected word of colloquial "mä" (I), meaning "from me" or "of me", and "tuli" being the third person singular past form of "tulla", to come, hence "he/she/it came". This then literally means "something came out of me", and the generally understood Finnish expression means "I ejaculated".

This is of course still a trivia section and only adds humour value to the article, not any encyclopedic content, but I take offense on having it removed by some foreign person who thinks he knows my native language better than me. JIP | Talk 20:58, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

As another Finn, I can confirm that JIP is telling the truth about the meaning of the name in Finnish. Olli Niemitalo (talk) 13:32, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

./ —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:12, 1 November 2010 (UTC)

As a non Finn, who passed through Amsterdam on holiday, this was indeed the story that was told to me by my tour guide and is the only reason I remember the name "Multatuli", and what led me on to this page, and I came here (no pun intended) precisely to find out whether or not the story was true. Leave it in, please. - (talk) 09:34, 23 March 2016 (UTC)

Request for Comments[edit]

There is an RfC on the question of using "Religion: None" vs. "Religion: None (atheist)" in the infobox on this and other similar pages.

The RfC is at Template talk:Infobox person#RfC: Religion infobox entries for individuals that have no religion.

Please help us determine consensus on this issue. --Guy Macon (talk) 03:22, 23 April 2015 (UTC)

External links modified[edit]

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New image of hospital[edit]

An image has been added with the caption

The hospital of Natal, North Sumatra, formerly the office and residence of Multatuli as controleur

As far as I can tell, this is a building of much more recent date, and hence hardly relevant to the article.-- (talk) 09:50, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

Whenever you would like to know for sure, you might contact the conservator of the Multatuli-Museum in Amsterdam.
Klaartje de Groot,, this lady can sure inform you. You can also try:
Greetings J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 20:44, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
Met her last summer :-)-- (talk) 20:54, 19 April 2018 (UTC)
Good luck with it all, J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 20:56, 19 April 2018 (UTC)

free maconary[edit]

Dekker was a free macon

The manuscript of Mas Havelaar was sent to: Willem Jan Cornelis van Hasselt see: [1]

This man was in between many other free macons, and had contacts with Jacob van Lennep:

the first edition of his Max Havelaar was edited by Jacob van Lennep see: [2]

Minnebrieven was an edition by: F. Guenst in Amsterdam, also a free-macon

lots of more editions were done by free macon booksellers.

greetings J.T.W.A.Cornelisse (talk) 19:01, 30 April 2019 (UTC)

Sorry, but (1) wikipedia articles are not acceptable sources, and (2) you must convince the reader of the article not just me: the assertion that he was a freemason must be sourced by a reliable source in the article. Sapphorain (talk) 19:07, 30 April 2019 (UTC)