Educational Institutions


Schools and Institutions for Indian Languages

Department of South and Central Asian Studies
University of Leiden
Nonnensteeg 1-3
2311 VJ Leiden
Tel:071 - 527 25 03
Fax:071 - 527 2956

Postal address:
Postbus 9515
2300 RA  Leiden

The Department of South and Central Asian Studies at Leiden also known as the Kern Institute derives its name from Hendrik Kern who in 1865 became the first professor of Sanskrit in the Netherlands.

At present it is once again the only university department in the Netherlands that exclusively focuses on the languages and cultures of the Indian subcontinent. As such it combines the strong, variegated philological and art-historical tradition of classical Indology with the study of medieval and modern South Asia.

The wide range and versatility of the Leiden expertise enables the study of the interaction of regional diversity and development on the one hand, and “overarching” civilizations with claims to centrality and permanence on the other.

Staff members’ linguistic competence covers the following South Asian languages: Sanskrit, Pali, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Tibetan and Persian. The 2003 BA first-year intake was twelve students, with total doctoraal + BA enrolment at circa 35.

The library resources of the department at the Nonnensteeg are matchless in The Netherlands, Belgium and Luxembourg for their range of primary and secondary South Asian material. For example, the library contains rare Sanskrit palm-leaves and Tibetan block prints; unique photo-collections of the Archaeological Service of the former Dutch East Indies; and a collection formerly of the Institute of South Asian Archaeology in Amsterdam.

Photo's by Ms Caroline Raat (