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Asian Library

The Asian Library holds the largest collection on Indonesia worldwide, and some of the foremost collections on South and Southeast Asia, China, Japan and Korea.

Visiting address Postal address

University Library

Witte Singel 27
2311 BG Leiden
+31 71 527 2814

P.O. Box 9501
2300 RA Leiden

The Asian Library is located on the 2nd floor of the University Library (UB). To be able to access the library, visitors need to bring their valid and activated library card (LU-Card) at all times.

Leiden University students

At the Asian Library, the overall library study places regulations apply. There is one exception: Leiden University Asian Studies students*) can book seats 3 days in advance, all other Leiden University students 2 days in advance. 

*) Asian Studies are China Studies, Japan Studies, Korean Studies, South and Southeast Asian Studies, and the Asian Studies master programmes.

Other visitors

Outside of exam periods, study places marked with a white or a light blue sticker can be freely used by all library visitors. During exam weeks, only the places marked with a white sticker are freely available.

Group study room Kern is available for booking by Leiden University Asian Studies students. To reserve the room, one of the students in the group reserves the room in advance. The minimum group size for using the group room is 3.

Cinema room Vos is a 15-seat theater room, equipped with an 84" screen for watching Asian satellite television and DVD or Blu-ray, and for presentations using USB or your own device.

The cinema room can be booked by Leiden University students and researchers wishing to consult audiovisual material from, or about, Asia. The room can be booked for up to 3 hours.

Terms and conditions for cinema room bookings:

  • Please send an e-mail to the UB reception desk, cc the subject librarian in your field, including:
    • First name, surname, email address and phone number of the responsible applicant
    • The preferred date and time
    • Whether you will be using dvd/film material from the collections or the TV
  • Applicants wishing to use materials from the UBL collections have priority over other users
  • The cinema room may not be reserved and/or used as a regular study place
  • The main applicant is responsible for proper use of the cinema room
  • After placing your reservation, you will receive a confirmation email providing you with further information and rules of conduct

For instructions on how to use the cinema room equipment, please contact Digital Services.

Course reserves are books and dvd's set aside by teachers for their course. If you wish to watch one of the dvd's, please take the dvd cover to the information desk on the ground floor, where the discs are kept.

The Blauer Leihverkehr is a specific interlibrary loan service with its focus on Asian collections. The service is offered by the German Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin and the Heidelberg University Library. All loanable holdings of the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin can be requested through this service, and all materials in South Asian languages can be ordered from the South Asia Institute of Heidelberg University. All Blauer Leihverkehr requests are free of charge.

To request an item, please fill out the Blauer Leihverkehr request form. The items will be sent to the University Library. You will receive a notification as soon as an item is ready for pick-up. The loan period for these items is 4 months.

For any questions about this service, please contact us by email.

The Asian Library does not have its own information desk. For general questions about using the catalogue, locating a book in the reading room, and computer issues, please refer to the main information desk on the ground floor.

Please note that during exam periods, some library access restrictions apply.

Where to find the Asian collections

The Asian Library spans several Asia collections, shelved on different locations in the University Library:

  • Asian Library, 2nd floor: reference collections
  • Reading Room Special Collections: Asian Special Collections. Items can be requested using the catalogue
  • S-UB: Asian collections in open stacks. Items can be fetched from the shelf or requested using the catalogue
  • Closed stacks. Items can be requested using the catalogue

Unesco Listed Heritage

No less than four items from Leiden University’s Asian heritage collections are included in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register.

Hikayat Aceh
The Hikayat Aceh (Or. 1954 and Or. 1983) is an indigenous history of the former sultanate of Aceh in present-day Indonesia. Written in Malay in Arabic script, it describes and praises the Acehnese sultan Iskandar Muda (1583-1636). See video.

La Galigo
La Galigo (1908) is the world’s largest epic, written in Buginese language and script. See video.

Babad Diponegoro
In the manuscript Babad Diponegoro, the Javanese Prince and national hero Diponegoro (1785-1855) recounts his war against the Dutch (1825-1830). See video.

Panji Tales Manuscripts
The unique collection of more than 250 ancient tales revolving around the mythical Javanese Prince Panji, has been acknowledged in 2017 as world heritage by UNESCO. Prince Panji is the title character in the popular Panji tales from Java. These stories always revolve about a prince and a princess, about love and adventure. See video.

Inside the Asian Library

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