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Asian collections in the Netherlands


Compulsory attendance


Admission requirements

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 stored collections, for example from the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague (which is currently closed 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 manner 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 the virtual exhibition in a 10-minute PowerPoint presentation.

Ects distribution

The course load will be distributed as follows:

  • 7 lectures (1 ects);

  • Literature (4 ects).


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

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar;

  • Visits to collections.

Assessment method

  • Virtual exhibition (10-minute PowerPoint presentation + handouts);

  • Written assignment (ca 3,000 words) including an evaluation of the visited museums, incorporating theoretical insights and featuring a special case study.

Assessment deadline

  • The virtual exhibition should be presented by the end of block 2;

  • The written assignment and essay are to be handed in by the end of block 2.

Reading list

Various articles (titles to be announced on Blackboard).


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.

Contact information

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