Leiden 2017

MAPPING ASIA: Cartographic Encounters between East and West


15 – 16 September, 2017





Leiden University Libraries and the ICA Commission on the History of Cartography would like to invite you to attend their joint International Symposium ‘Mapping Asia: Cartographic Encounters between East and West’. This International Symposium will be held in Leiden (The Netherlands), on Friday, 15 September, and Saturday, 16 September 2017. The central theme of the conference is the mutual influence of Western and Asian cartographic traditions. The focus will be on where Western and Asian cartographic history meet. Geographically, the topics will be limited to South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia with special attention to India, China, Japan, Korea and Indonesia.

Topics and questions which will be discussed are:
• What defines Asia? The arbitrary borders between Europe and Asia on the map
• Asian cartographic traditions
• Asian toponomy and cartography
• Cartography and intercultural contact
• Missionary and colonial cartographies of Asia
• Asian cartography in the collections of Leiden University Libraries
• Philipp Franz von Siebold and the cartography of Japan
• and all papers of merit

The call for papers was closed on 15 February 2017.


The symposium is held within the framework of the Leiden Asia Year. Throughout 2017 Leiden will be the leading center for Asia in terms of research, teaching, collections and expertise. The Leiden Asia Year 2017 was prompted by the building of the Asian Library on the roof of the University Library. The Asian Library will be opened on 14 September 2017. Participants are kindly invited to attend the opening of the Asian Library, the day before the symposium starts.

Impression of the new Asian Library on top of the main library building

During the symposium Leiden University Library will hold several exhibitions. The Asian collections of the special collections are internationally famous. The Bodel Nijenhuis Collection has large numbers of historical VOC maps. The Indonesia collection has many maps of the 19th and 20th century and includes the collections from the Royal Tropical Institute (KIT) and the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies (KITLV). The Siebold collection contains a lot of Japanese maps and the collection of the Sinology Institute holds several Chinese maps.