Launch LeidenAsiaCentre

The LeidenAsiaCentre is the Netherlands’ expertise centre for socially relevant and applicable knowledge on modern East Asia, including Singapore. Explore the new LeidenAsiaCentre website

Key mission and activities

Launch of LeidenAsiaCentre

Launch of LeidenAsiaCentre

The LeidenAsiaCentre actively aims to expand its expertise and to use this in collaboration with a growing number of diverse societal partners, in particular the business sector, the social midfield, the media, governments and academic and non-academic knowledge centres.

The LeidenAsiaCentre achieves this by:

  • Consulting with the societal field in identifying research questions
  • Conducting original academic research, taking into account the needs of partners in society
  • Building and expanding a broad network within the Dutch government, the media, educational institutions, the business sector and the social midfield
  • Disseminating knowledge by means of lectures, conferences, intensive training courses and publications, including web publications


Professor Sebastian Heilmann and Professor Frank Pieke

Professor Sebastian Heilmann and Professor Frank Pieke

The new LeidenAsiaCentre was launched on 27 January in the Academy Building in Leiden. All participants were welcomed by Professor Frank Pieke, the Centre’s executive director. Speakers were Professor Sebastian Heilmann, Director of MERICS (Mercator Institute for China Studies, Berlin) and professor Political Economy of China at the University of Trier, and Ben Knapen, member of the Dutch Senate.

Ben Knapen

Ben Knapen

The speakers were invited to reflect on the role and necessity of think tanks and knowledge sharing beyond academia from their respective area of expertise. An increasing importance is attached to area studies outside the academic world. Non-academic partners are in need of independent scientific research about regions such as Asia. Think tanks such as the LeidenAsiaCentre can offer solutions to this need, and are equally important in order to help raise the level of awareness and lower the level of prejudice.

Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher hands over the book to Mr Tek, who accompanied his father in China

Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher hands over the book to Mr Tek, who accompanied his father in China

Professor Erik-Jan Zürcher presented the new book “Het Verre Oosten. Oog in Oog met het China van Mao”, in which the letters and experiences of his late father Professor Erik Zürcher about communist China in the sixties are documented.

Societal partners

The LeidenAsiaCentre works together with societal partners in the Netherlands to identify relevant research topics and to formulate the most appropriate – in some cases supplementary – research questions. This will create knowledge that responds to a direct societal need. The Centre itself will be responsible for the research, which will be carried out by independent researchers and other experts and consultants both within and outside the Netherlands. We also collaborate actively with our partners in disseminating the results of this research.

Research mission and themes

In what ways is Asia important for the Netherlands, and what does the Netherlands mean for Asia?

Our research will contribute to strengthening and improving the relations and understanding between people, organisations and governments in Asia and the Netherlands. As the expertise centre for modern Asia in the Netherlands, the LeidenAsiaCentre fouses primarily on East Asia: China (including Taiwan), Japan, Korea and Singapore. At a later stage we will expand our activities, first to South East Asia and in particular Indonesia, and in the longer term to other Asiatic regions.

Structured research
In selecting and further developing our research we focus on those aspects that are specifically relevant for the Netherlands and ultimately for Europe. The emphasis is on the nature and consequences of globalisation that are leading to ever greater interconnectivity between Asia and Europe. This encompasses the broadest range of relations between the Netherlands and Asia, including the economy, politics and diplomacy, as well as society and culture. We have structured our research and other activities under three broad themes. A theme determines the direction and goals for prolonged deployment of our resources and is given concrete form by means of a number of specific projects. Each project is relatively short-term (between one and one-and-a-half years), seeks insights on concrete questions and is developed and implemented in discussion with specific partners in society.


If you are interested in the research of LeidenAsiaCentre or in a possible partnership, you can contact them via or by telephone: 071-527 2541.

Last Modified: 01-02-2016