Universiteit Leiden

The Richly Decorated Robes of Ibn Sammak
The Richly Decorated Robes of Ibn Sammak Moroccan chronicle completed in 1381, Arabic manuscript, copied for Jacobus Golius, 17th century

This unique manuscript symbolises the early collaboration with the Arab world. Thomas Erpenius became the first professor of Arabic in Leiden in 1613. He had learned Arabic in Paris with the aid of a Moroccan envoy, al-Hajari. This secretary to the Sultan later helped Jacobus Golius, a student of Erpenius when he accompanied a diplomatic mission to Morocco as a translator. Al-Hajari helped Golius acquire Arabic manuscripts, including ‘The Richly Decorated Robes’, which he brought to Leiden with him.

Historia naturalis Brasiliae
Historia naturalis Brasiliae Book by Willem Piso and Georg Marcgraf, 1648

An innovative book from the 17th century. In 1638, the Leiden-born physician and botanist Willem Piso arrived in Brazil together with the German Georg Marcgraf. Piso was the personal physician of Johan Maurits van Nassau-Siegen, the governor of Dutch Brazil, and a pioneer of tropical medicine. The multitalented Marcgraf was, among others, a skilled botanist, astronomer and physician. Both observed the habits of the Portuguese and indigenous populations, and recorded this knowledge in their book Historia naturalis Brasiliae.

The crown prince of Yogyakarta
The crown prince of Yogyakarta Visit to the Kraton, the palace of the Sultan of Yogyakarta (photo ca. 1894, KITLV)

A special antique photo. The crown prince of Yogyakarta, Pangeran Adipati Anom Amengkoenegoro, walks arm-in-arm with TJ Halbertsma, the assistant Commissioner of Yogyakarta. They are welcomed by a group of Indonesian and European officials. The University Library has a few early photographs of the Kraton, as the next photo illustrates.

Restoration with the aid of old photos
Restoration with the aid of old photos Visiting the Sultan of Yogyakarta, 27 June 2019

The present Sultan of Yogyakarta, Hamengku Buwono X, is extremely interested in the early pictures of the Kraton. These antique photos are helping restore the palace to its former glory. During a visit to Indonesia in June 2019, Carel Stolker and Kurt De Belder, Director of Leiden University Libraries, presented the Sultan with a number of these photos. The family has a special bond with Leiden. Hamengku Buwono IX, the father of the present Sultan, spent three years studying Law in Leiden. He returned home prematurely, in 1939, because of the threat of war.