15th century morality play from the Low Countries

Elckerlijc (also known as Elckerlyc) is a morality play from the Low Countries. It was written in Dutch around the year 1470. It was first printed in 1495. The play did very well and may have been the source for the English play Everyman. Peter van Diest is usually considered the author of the play.

Swedish edition of Macropedius' Hecastus. Göteborg 1681. Courtesy of the Royal Library, Stockholm

The play won the first prize in a theater contest in Brabant.[1] It stresses the didactic message. It uses allegory of the hero as an "everyman" (a normal person) and is written in Rederijker style.

Dutch and English historians talked for decades about whether the English play Everyman was based on Elckerljic, or whether Elckerljic was based on Everyman. The most common view is that the Dutch-language version was the original.[1][2]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Davidson, Clifford; Walsh, Martin W.; Broos, Ton J., eds. (2007). "Introduction". Everyman and Its Dutch Original, Elckerlijc. Robbins Library Digital Projects, University of Rochester. Retrieved 2016-02-19.
  2. Geert Warnar, Elckerlijc, Toneel, tekst en beeld van ca. 1500 tot nu Archived 2023-01-03 at the Wayback Machine (in Dutch)