At the age of 61, Jan Muller died on 5 October 1983, after a very short illness which only some weeks earlier had been detected. His rapid decline but also his courage during the last few weeks, have made a deep impression on all who have witnessed them. Jan Muller was born on 15 October 1921 at Rotterdam. His secondary training was with a College of Tropical Agriculture at Deventer, the Netherlands, but the outbreak of World War II prevented his departure for the tropics. Instead he entered in 1941 the service of the botanical department of the Research Division that was responsible for scientific research in the reclaimed Zuiderzee polders. He took part in the botanical and stratigraphical analysis of peat deposits in the Noordoostpolder, under supervision of Professor F. Florschütz. From 1943 to 1946 he worked at one of the agricultural institutes at Wageningen (Instituut voor Rassenonderzoek van Landbouwgewassen), where he participated in the description of cultivars. However, the experience in the Noordoostpolder had obviously converted him to palynology and when after the war he left for the tropics, it was not in agriculture but in palynology. He worked with Shell, applying palynology to oil exploration, first in Venezuela (1946-1958), then in Borneo (1958-1964), finally at the Central Palynological Laboratory at Rijswijk, the Netherlands (1964—1967). During that period the results of his research were mostly laid down in internal, confidential reports and did not reach the international scientific forum. In Borneo, however, he also had the opportunity to do research not directly related to oil exploration and this made him known in botanical circles.