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Leiden to focus on Asia and the Asian Library in 2017

The programme for the Leiden Asia Year in 2017 is now available. Rector Carel Stolker launched the new website www.leidenasiayear.nl at the opening of the Academic Year of Leiden University on 5 September.

Throughout 2017 Leiden will be the leading centre for Asia in terms of research, teaching, collections and expertise. Leiden University, the municipality of Leiden and cultural partners are all committed to making this year a success. The website contains information about lectures, exhibitions and numerous other activities that are part of the Leiden Asia Year in 2017. 

Leiden: a single Asian knowledge centre

Leiden University is the place where high-quality knowledge about Asia is brought together in teaching and research. The Leiden Asia Year 2017 was prompted by the building of the Asian Library on the roof of the University Library. The new library will be opened in September 2017. The Asian Library is a leading international expertise centre, where the University Libraries Leiden (UBL) assemble all the collections on Asia under one roof, and make all the data accessible for students, researchers and other interested parties.


The new website www.leidenasiayear.nl is the platform where all the activities of the Leiden Asia Year are brought together. In close collaboration with museums and other organisations and partners, the city is organising a symposium, lectures and exhibitions on the theme of Asia. Additions will be made to the programme over the coming months. Follow the Leiden Asia Year on facebook and twitter to stay up to date with the latest developments.

Leading international Asia collection

The Asia collections in The Asian Library are internationally famous. The Indonesia collection, which also includes the collections from the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV), is the largest of its kind worldwide. The Kern collection, that covers South Asia and the Himalayan region, is one of the biggest collections on this region in Europe. The Asian Library also holds the most extensive China collection in Europe. The Japan collection comprises a unique assembly of materials that were brought to the Netherlands by, for example, Von Siebold (1796-1866). The library also has a wide range of material on Korea, including North Korea. The collections contain rare and valuable manuscripts, books, maps, photos, prints and much more.

Activities around the opening of The Asian Library

Many different events are being organised in the week of 11 to 17 September 2017 to mark the opening of The Asian Library. The activities include the Mapping Asia exhibition, that explores the relationship between different characteristics in Asian countries, an international symposium on the history of cartography featuring old Asian maps, a symposium and exhibition on Asian cuisine and culinary activities, smaller pop-up exhibitions and a range of lectures. The film hall of The Asian Library will be used for showing short films of the CinemAsia Film Festival.

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