The Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam is celebrating author Multatuli’s jubilee year with a national project on a new, experimental edition of his novel ‘Max Havelaar’: a handwritten lockdown edition that was open to everyone. Last summer more than 170 people participated.
The aim of this project is to express that Multituli’s (pen name for novelist Eduard Douwes Dekker) ideas about humanity, equality and intractability are widely shared in a time when this is still very much needed. Job Cohen, former mayor of Amsterdam, and journalist Elsbeth Etty are among the Dutch celebrities who toke part and copied the first chapters from home. The writing project is an initiative of Jacqueline Bel, professor of Modern Dutch Literature at the Vrije Universiteit in cooperation with the Vrije Universiteit Library. The project commenced on Monday, June 15. The first handwritten edition of Max Havelaar will be published spring 2021.
The power of text
Jacqueline Bel, professor of Modern Dutch Literature at the Vrije Universiteit: “We would like to extend a heartfelt welcome to everyone to literally become a co-writer of this ground-breaking book to help express just how much Multatuli’s ideas about justice and humanity have become part of Dutch identity. By copying chapters by hand, everyone can experience just how penetrating a text can be”.