East Asian Library

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The Sinology collection of the East Asian Library can be divided into two sections: Chinese and Western. Rare and special collections of Chinese books are stored in the Van Gulik Room. The room is named after the Dutch diplomat scholar Robert van Gulik as it contains a large part of his personal collection of rare books. The oldest printed books in our library date back to the early 15th century. The library has the largest collection of books, journals and other text material regarding China in the country; actually the library is one of the biggest within Europe. Not only does the EAL support the University of Leiden in its pursuit of scholarship, but also serves a social purpose within the Netherlands and the Benelux. To carry out research within the Netherlands, the presence of a large Chinese language library is indispensable and increases the independence of our researchers who otherwise might be forced to be dependent on the People’s Republic of China.

The collection of Chinese and Japanese books includes approximately 300,000 titles and nearly 400 running subscriptions on printed journals and newspapers originating from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, United States, Europe and other parts of the globe. Additionally, the library has access to more than 4,500 Chinese language e-journals and approx. 360,000 e-books as well as procuring a limited amount of Japanese editions in the fields of China and Sinology. The Chinese collection grows annually with approx. 4000 titles, especially those originating from the People’s Republic of China itself. This increase is partly due to special projects and gift donations. Despite its apparent large quantity of information, what we have here in the library, is only a small drop in the ocean, compared to the enormous amount of literature China produces every year.

The collection of Western literature includes 35,000 titles, a few hundred of non-current journals, and more than 100 running subscriptions on printed journals and newspapers. We have the most diverse Western language collection regarding China within Europe, which is mostly due to the history of the collection (which has been accumulating for over a century), but also due to the fact that literature in the English, French and German languages are also kept up. When relevant publications appear in Dutch, these are also acquired.


WSD Complex
Het Arsenaal
Arsenaalstraat 1
2311 CT Leiden
The Netherlands

Phone: +31 (0)71 527 25 35

E-mail address

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Regular opening hours
Monday and Friday 09h00 - 17h00
Tuesday to Thursday 09h00 - 19h00
Saturday and Sunday Closed
Modified opening hours
Friday 6 April, Good Friday Closed
Monday 9 April, Easter Monday Closed
Monday 30 april, Queen's Day Closed
Thursday 17 May, Ascension Day Closed
Friday 18 May, due to Ascension Day Closed
Monday 28 May, Whitsun Closed
Monday 9 July to (inc) Sunday 19 August, summer recess:
- Monday to Friday Open: 09h00 - 17h00
Tuesday 2 October, day before Leiden's Relief Open: 09h00 - 18h00
Wednesday 3 October, Leiden's Relief Closed
Wednesday 5 December, 'Sinterklaas' Open: 09h00 - 16h00
Monday 24 December, 2012 to Tuesday 1 January 2013,
Christmas and New Year's

Last Modified: 22-06-2012