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Delegation from Leiden University to visit Japan

A delegation from Leiden University will be visiting several Japanese universities and research institutions from 18 to 26 November to discuss research and teaching collaborations.

‘We want to strengthen our existing contacts with these institutions and initiate some new ones,' Carel Stolker, Rector Magnificus, explained. 'These partnerships are so important for our research. We are also hoping to create new opportunities for Leiden students to follow programmes in Japan, and we will be very happy to welcome Japanese students to our university.' 


The programme includes visits to the following institutions:

  • University of Tokyo
  • Nichibunken (International Research Center for Japanese Studies)
  • Ritsumeikan University
  • Kyoto University
  • Nagasaki University

Cleveringa lecture

As well as visits to these institutions, there are also other activities on the agenda for the Leiden delegation. Ivo Smits, professor of Japanese Studies, will deliver a Cleveringa lecture at the Dutch Embassy in Tokyo on the subject of ‘Holland’ as a symbolic language in Early Modern Japan. The lecture will take place on 20 November. To register, please go to the website of the LUF.

Twin cities

The Leiden delegation has been invited to attend the signing of the twinning agreement between Leiden and Nagasaki, which will be ratified by Leiden's mayor, Henri Lenferink, and his Japanese counterpart.

Dejima bridge

The Leiden delegation will also be present at the official opening of the Dejima bridge. Dejima is a small island in Nagasaki that was an important Dutch trading post from 1641 to 1859. At that time, when Japan was closed to the West, Dejima was one of the few places where Japan and the Western world came into contact with one another. 

Scale model of Dejima, property of Leiden's National Museum of Ethnology

Von Siebold

For a long time, Dejima was the base for Philipp Franz Von Siebold, who taught Western medicine to Japanese scientists at the trading post. During his stay in the country, Von Siebold became intrigued by Japanese plants that were new to him.  He was forced to leave Japan in 1829 under suspicion of spying. He took seeds and plants with him and settled in Leiden. At least ten of these plants still flower in the Hortus today.

Japanese Studies

Leiden is the only university in the Netherlands to offer a programme in Japanese Studies, where students not only acquire a high level of language competence, but also study the history, literature, art and religions of Japan. The Institute of Japanese Studies works closely with the Japan museum SieboldHuis, where there is a permanent exhibition of part of Von Siebold's rich collection.

Asian Library

Leiden University's Asian Library was opened this year. The Library, which houses one of the world's largest collections from such countries as  Japan, China, Indonesia and Korea, is open for researchers, students and other interested parties. 

Image above: University of Tokyo, Faculty of Medicine.

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