nl en

Asian collections in the Netherlands


Compulsory attendance


Prerequisites and restrictions

BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology or a relevant discipline.
SAP and exchange students: admission after approval by the Graduate School of Archaeology


This course deals with famous collections of Asian material culture in the Netherlands, and the way these were constituted. The course includes visits to various museums or special exhibitions, for example the National Museum for Ethnology and the Siebold House in Leiden, and the Tropical Museum in Amsterdam. We will also visit the stored collections from the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (which are currently not open to the general public), as well as interesting temporary exhibitions. In addition to assessing the nature of the collections, such as the acquisition history of the objects and the way in which collections are currently presented to the public, students are required to compose their own “virtual exhibition” in a PowerPoint presentation, explaining the reasons behind their choices and way of presentation.

Learning outcomes

  • Knowledge of and insight in Asian material culture, as it is presented in Dutch collections;

  • Knowledge of and insight in the origin and history of these collections;

  • Insight in the nature of current exhibitions and ability to place this in a wider context;

  • Insight in the presentation of an exhibition;

  • Ability to critically assess the selections made by the museum with respect to the insights mentioned above;

  • Ability to formulate a properly argumented opinion on these insights;

  • Ability to choose an original theme for a (fictitious) exhibition;

  • Ability to give a motivation for your virtual exhibition;

  • Ability to present a “guided tour” through your virtual exhibition in a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation.

Mode of delivery

  • Seminar;

  • Visits to collections.


  • Virtual exhibition assignment: presentation plus handout;

  • Written report with evaluation of the museums visited.

Reading list

Various articles and museum catalogues (to be announced).

Time schedule

Course schedule details can be found in the MA time schedule.