Dating back more than 400 years, Leiden University has the oldest continuous chair of Arabic outside the Arabic-speaking world. Today the MENA region is studied at Leiden from before the coming of Islam up to today from a wide array of disciplines. And Arabic is studied within the diverse linguistic, cultural and religious landscape of the MENA region.
Continuity and change, unity and diversity – the study of Arabic was part of the university almost from its foundation. Generations of Arabists built a rich infrastructure such as the world renowned Oriental manuscript collection, and The Mouse & Manuscript website.
At Leiden Arabic is offered with two dialectical variants, Egyptian and Moroccan, and together with Hebrew, Persian and Turkish. The library houses an important collection of printed books and manuscripts in languages of Jewish and Christian populations. The study of Arabic intersects, but does not equal, the study of the Muslim world. At Leiden you can also learn about Muslim populations in Europe, North-America and South and South-East Asia.
Today the department brings together many different disciplinary specialists: working in history, philology, linguistics, literature, religious studies, political economy, anthropology, international relations and geography in diverse periods and areas. Under ‘people’ you can find out about us.