Since the early 17th century Dutchmen went to the East. They settled for some time in South or Southeast Asia, and since the 18th century also travelled in Tibet, though in fewer numbers. Throughout the centuries the objectives for undertaking such a journey changed. In the 17th and 18th centuries they were mainly merchants and missionaries or ministers who sailed eastwards with the Dutch East India Company. Although their initial reasons might be obvious, in their reports, which were presented as journals and eyewitness accounts, we also find traveller’s first efforts to understand cultures and languages of the visited countries. Read more about the early explorers.
In the same period, more Dutch universities were established and research gradually extended to beyond European borders. At first, the study of Sanskrit remained secondary to Oriental languages in general, Indo-Germanic linguistics, classical studies or Dutch studies. After establishment of the first Sanskrit chair in Leiden in 1865, the study of South Asian languages and cultures got a solid foundation. Chairs for other South Asian, Tibetan and Southeast Asian studies followed in the first half of the 20th century. The non-Sanskrit-based studies of South Asia flourish in the field of social sciences, since the 1970’s. About relevant universities and institutions, read more.
The present website gives an overview of Dutch scholarly activities in the field of South Asia, Tibet and classical Southeast Asia from the early 17th century up to the present. In alphabetical order it presents the authors and their works, which were written mostly, but not exclusively, within an academic context. After showing some biographic data under the headings Curriculum vitae and Special activities and positions, and an indication of the used Sources, a list of Publications is given. See criteria for including authors/publications and sources used.
Traditionally, these fields of expertise – be it languages, cultures, or social and anthropological sciences – are taught in different departments of universities in The Netherlands. Individuals mentioned in the following webpages shared and share their fascination for South Asia, Tibet and Southeast Asia. The site virtually links them together and may serve both as source of information and as source of inspiration.
In 1985, Hanneke ’t Hart (MA) and Marianne Oort (MA), both employed at the library of the Kern Institute, took the initiative to compile a Selected Bibliography of Indology in the Netherlands since the 17th century, to be presented at the 7th World Sanskrit Conference held in Leiden. The work turned out to be more extensive than was planned. Later, with E.A. Kuijper, the project was continued to produce a printed version of the bibliography. Although considerable progress was made in the course of a few years, the work was not completed in a form that could be published. In 2011, dr Dory Heilijgers, a former librarian of the Kern Institute, resumed the work. She brought the contents up to date, extended the scope by adding the fields of sociology, anthropology and Tibetology, completed the formatting, added the biographic data, and made the collected information available on the present website.
The project to complete the bibliography was subsidised by the J. Gonda Foundation of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences and Arts. The website is financially supported by the ‘Dr. de Cock-Fundatie’ of the Friends of the Kern Institute (VVIK).
First release: February 25, 2013
Last update: July 30, 2020