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Asian collections in the Netherlands


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

Degree students (including Dutch BA graduates): BA degree (or equivalent) in Archaeology or a relevant discipline.
SAP and Exchange Students: BA degree. Admission only after formal application.


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.

Course objectives

  • 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 the virtual exhibition;

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


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

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar;

  • Visits to collections.

Assessment method

  • Assignment 1: Written report with evaluation of the museums visited (to be handed in during the exam week after block I);

  • Assignment 2: Virtual exhibition: PowerPoint presentation plus handouts (in the exam week after block II).

Reading list

  • P. ter Keurs (ed.), Colonial Collections Revisited. Leiden: CNWS Publications (2007);

  • Various articles (titles to be announced).


Register for this course via uSis.
Instructions for registration can be found in the uSis manual.

Exchange and Study Abroad students, please see the Prospective students website for information on how to apply.

Contractonderwijs: all information (costs, registration, entry requirements, etc.) for those who are interested in taking this course as a Contractstudent is on the Contractonderwijs Archeologie webpage (in Dutch).

Contact information

For more information about this course, please contact mw dr I.R. Bausch.