About the LeidenAsiaCentre

Key mission and activities

The mission of the LeidenAsiaCentre is to generate valuable knowledge on contemporary issues in Asia and their practical applications for the Netherlands, Europe, and Asia. We are an independent not-for-profit organization. The LeidenAsiaCentre goes beyond academic research and engages diverse societal partners including the business sector, think-tanks, media, and government officials.

We actively foster relationships and networks between the Netherlands and Asia, conducting research that directly addresses societal needs.

Our knowledge is disseminated through engaging lectures, forums, and training courses. We aim to expand public understanding of Asia, while also fostering engagement between the Dutch government and Asian societies.

Leiden: Hub for Asian Studies

We are situated in Leiden, one of the leading centres for Asian Studies in Europe. Leiden University hosts over 100 academic experts on East, South, and Southeast Asia, and the University’s Asian Library holds an exceptional collection. Being located on Leiden’s Humanities Campus, close to the historic centre, we are in the heart of scholarly knowledge on Asia in the Netherlands.

We have access to the research facilities and vast collections of Leiden University, which enables us to conduct high-quality research. Many of our experts work in academia, and are working at the forefront of research on modern Asia. Our proximity to world-class academic institutions offers us a unique toolbox to expand knowledge on Asia.

Over the years, we have built up an extensive network within academia, which directly contributes to our goal: generating valuable knowledge on contemporary Asia.

Societal partners

The LeidenAsiaCentre works together with societal partners in the Netherlands, such as ministeries, NGO’s, business and media. Our discussions help to identify relevant research topics and to formulate the most appropriate – in some cases supplementary – research questions. It creates knowledge that responds to a direct societal need.

The LeidenAsiaCentre itself is responsible for the research, which is carried out by independent researchers, other experts and consultants both in and outside the Netherlands. We also collaborate actively with our partners in disseminating the results of this research – through lectures, public events and/or training courses.

The aim of the LeidenAsiaCentre is to generate academic knowledge on modern East Asia that can find societal applications in the Netherlands.

Core themes

The LeidenAsiaCentre organises its research projects and other activities around a number of core themes that are most relevant to the needs of the moment. These themes are agreed upon for two years. The projects likewise have an average duration of approximately two years.

Collaborating with regional partners, we explore topics such as agility in the face of change, technological challenges, communication shifts, and upcoming focus on decoupling and recoupling.

The LeidenAsiaCentre focuses primarily on East Asia: China (including Taiwan), Japan, Korea and Singapore, but is expanding its focus to include South and Southeast Asia, notably India and the Indo-Pacific.


The LeidenAsiaCentre is funded to a large extent through the Vaes-Elias Fund, managed by the Leiden University Fund (LUF). Apart from this fund, the foundation receives subsidies, grants and donations in exchange for her activities. The supervisory board approves the multi-year budget once every two years, which forms the framework in which projects are being undertaken.

Network building

The LeidenAsiaCentre has an extensive network in the Netherlands within the central government and municipalities, the media, business sector, civil society and the academic world. The LeidenAsiaCentre also engages partners in Europe and Asia, such as research centres, academics and NGO’s.


The LeidenAsiaCentre is open for inputs from third parties concerning suggestions for themes for academic research on Asia. We are also interested in co-organising conferences on relevant themes, and would be pleased to contribute ideas for creating initiatives that can expand and disseminate knowledge about Asia.

If you are interested in our research or in a possible partnership, we invite you to contact us via info@leidenasiacentre.nl or by telephone: 071-527 2541.


The Foundation LeidenAsiaCentre was officially launched in January 2016. The centre was created through a million-dollar legacy based on the belief that the Dutch population needed to grow a more comprehensive awareness of, and desire to engage in, Asia. The objective was to strengthen understanding of the importance of Asia and its impact on the Netherland’s future.

In 2014 the Foundation Modern East Asia Research Centre (MEARC) received a grant through the Leiden University Fund. The grant originated from the Vaes-Elias Fund. The board and directors of the centre decided to use these funds to put MEARC on a completely new footing including a change of governance structure as well as a change of name.

Following the advice of the Supervisory Council, the LeidenAsiaCentre revised its structure in 2018. The former board of three directors, consisting of Prof. Dr Frank Pieke (executive director), Prof. Dr Katarzyna Cwiertka (director), and Prof. Dr. Remco Breuker (director), was replaced by single leadership. As of November 2018, Dr Florian Schneider is taking on this role.

The LeidenAsiaCentre and its Supervisory Council is grateful for the commitment and expertise that the founding directors Prof. Pieke, Prof. Cwiertka, and Prof. Breuker brought to the centre