The exhibition, which runs through 5 January, was opened by the Dutch Ambassador to Indonesia, H.E. Rob Swartbol, and Prof. Dr. Wardiman Djojonegoro, the former Indonesian Minister for Education and Culture. In his speech, the Ambassador reminded guests of the importance to make the collection accessible to a wider audience through digitalisation.
Dr. Dick van der Meij, the author of “Indonesian Manuscripts from the Islands of Java, Madura, Bali and Lombok”, and Dr. Fuad Gani, Head of the Library of Universitas Indonesia, also took to the stage for presentations on the manuscripts that can be found in both the Leiden University Library as well as the Library of Universitas Indonesia.
The Asian Library of Leiden University includes the largest collection worldwide on Indonesia. By opening the Asian Library, the university now accommodates under one roof the dispersed Asian collections of Leiden University and leading research collections with significant Asian components from other institutions, such as the Kern Institute Library (South Asia), the East Asian Library (China, Japan, The Koreas).
In 2013, the heritage collection of the former library of the Royal Tropical Institute (kit) in Amsterdam was integrated in the Leiden collections, followed in 2014 by the complete library of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (kitlv), including the library office in Jakarta. The centralization, incorporation and storage of these collections was a tremendous endeavour, which resulted in the establishment of the Asian Library on the library’s former roof garden in 2017. As a result, the Asian Library can match its collections and services with those of other major research libraries on Asia internationally.
Leiden University has always been a major international knowledge hub on Asia for scholars and students from all over the world participating in top research and teaching programmes. The Faculty of Humanities, where many of the Leiden scholars focusing on Asia reside, ranks among the top 30 arts & humanities programmes in the world. Thanks to its deep international network, Leiden University can bring together leading figures from the world of research, culture, law, politics, finance and business to increase further insight and to deal with the challenges we face together.
The Asian Library is a central focal point for study, research and encounters between those with a profound interest in Asia and its position in the world. It provides state-of-the-art facilities and seeks to expand its collections and make them widely available, among others, through intensive digitisation programmes and the inclusion of born-digital information.