Collecting Asia Symposium

Start date
End date


Location: Rijksmuseum van Oudheden, Leemanszaal

Language: English

Leiden and Asia share a long history. Why is it that Leiden keeps so many Asian maps, literature and objects and has become an international centre of research on Asia? How did the collections find their way into the museums, libraries and repositories in Leiden? ‘Collecting Asia’ - organized by the Centre for Global Heritage and Development, the National Museum of Antiquities and Japan Museum SieboldHuis - will shed light on these questions. The name ‘Collecting Asia’ refers not only to the history of collecting, but also to the political connotation; collecting is never a ‘neutral event’. Besides Western curiosity to the Asian continent, it was also a Colonial way of dominating and trying to get a grip on local cultures.

During the ‘Collecting Asia seminar’ several experts will discuss one of the many Asian collections that Leiden keeps, its history and current use in research. We will also reflect on Leiden’s role and responsibility in keeping these shared heritage objects in an increasingly globalizing world.


11:00 Welcome by Jan Kolen (Professor in Cultural Heritage and Landscape Archaeology, Vice Dean Faculty of Archaeology, Leiden University and Director Centre for Global Heritage and Development)

11.05 Introduction by Pieter ter Keurs (Head of Collections and Research Department National Museum of Antiquities,  Professor in Cultural Anthropology, Faculty of Social Sciences, Leiden University): "The Rationale Behind Collecting"

11:30 Kris Schiermeier (Director of the Japan Museum SieboldHuis): "Why does Leiden have a ‘SieboldHuis’ where Japanese artifacts, collected by a German Physician are exhibited and how did the Japan Museum come to be"

12:00 Taufiq Hanafi (Researcher at KITLV):  "One Man's Trash, Another Man's Treasure: Indonesian Banned Books and Leiden's Asian Collection"

12:30 Break

14:00 Martijn Storms (Curator Map Collection at Leiden University Library): "The Asian Map Collection of Leiden University" 

14:30 Marijke Klokke (Fac. of Humanities, Leiden University): "Archaeological Collections"  

15:00 Short break

15:15 Paul Albers (Naturalis): "Fossil treasures from Trinil: the Dubois Collection in Naturalis, Leiden"

15:45 Francine Brinkgreve (Museum Volkenkunde): "Collections after Colonial Engagement in Bali"

16:15 Drinks

Access is free of charge, but please register through this link.