International Institute for Asian Studies



Collecting Asia

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? The 'Collecting Asia' conference 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 symposium, several experts will discuss one of the many Asian collections that Leiden keeps, its history and its 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.

‘Collecting Asia’ is jointly organised by the Centre for Global Heritage and Development, the National Museum of Antiquities (RMO) and Japan Museum SieboldHuis

Access is free of charge, but please register at:


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): "The History of the Siebold

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    Jose Joordens (VU Amsterdam/Fac. of Archaeology, Leiden University): "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

Please check for up-to-date information about the programme.