World’s largest library on Indonesia opens in Europe

(23 October 2017) Queen Máxima of the Netherlands inaugurated in Leiden last week the Asian Library, which houses the world’s largest collection on Indonesia, including two United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) heritage documents.

“Leiden University has created one of the foremost Asian libraries and a major international center for the study of Asia,” said university head librarian Kurt de Belder at the opening ceremony.

“The Asian Library has the largest Indonesian collection worldwide,” De Belder points out, with “hundreds of thousands of items such as of books, documents, maps, photos and even LPs of early Indonesian pop music.”

The library is part of Leiden University Libraries, with collections spread across seven locations: in Leiden, Morocco’s Rabat and Jakarta. It brings together the university’s existing Asian collection with the libraries of the Royal Tropical Institute, which closed in 2013, and that of the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies KITLV. The latter, in particular, has long been a major source for academic researchers on Indonesia. The Jakarta location is also a KITLV center. has the full story by Akhyari Hananto and numerous photographs.