J. W. F. Mulder was born in Arnhem, the Netherlands on June 28, 1919. After an interrupted education and anti-Nazi activities during World War II, he found himself in Indonesia at independence, having picked up some Chinese, Sundanese, and Korean. He completed 2 years at the reopened University of Djakarta. On returning to the Netherlands, he was allowed to matriculate at the University of Leiden after impressing a panel, including Uhlenbeck, with his linguistic skills. His talents as a polyglot were now to be extended to theoretical linguistics to satisfy his need for data description. He was fortunate in the active group of linguists in Leiden, who also participated in contacts with the descendants of the Prague School and Martinet's emerging Paris school. These various elements included a keen interest in the philosophy of science, logic, and mathematical techniques alongside a practical knowledge of an impressive array of world languages. In such circles, analytical proposals were immediately tested across a wide range of languages.