Leiden University was one of the first universities in Europe to offer a practical mathematics course, taught in vernacular, parallel to a theoretical course. Why was this practical course taught and what did it teach students? The lecture notes of one of its first teachers can tell us a lot.
The Sranan language, an English-based creole spoken by people of Suriname, has a long and fascinating history and is gaining popularity as a written language. Fresco Sam-Sin talks about the history of Sranan using documents from our Special Collections and by sharing part of his own story.
At the beginning of the Second World War, a lot of Indonesian students attended university in the Netherlands. One of the best-known Indonesian students is Irawan Soejono. Struck by his story, we discovered new information about his whereabouts and activities during his time as a resistance fighter.
The fifteenth of June 1875 was a pleasant and warm day. Some menacing clouds threatened to throw a spanner in the works, but luckily the rain never came. Fortunate for the crowds gathering in Leiden, as on this day, Leiden University celebrated its three hundredth anniversary.
Dogs were a much-loved subject in early modern prints. On the oldest depiction of the Leiden University Library, a print from 1610 after design by Jan Cornelisz Woudanus (ca. 1565-1615) two dogs are visible in the foreground, and not without purpose.
Thinking about inclusion is not something new in the world of reading, and the Leiden Special Collections have pieces to prove it. In this blog I want to highlight a collection of 19th century books in the Special Collections aimed at helping the blind in Qing China read their mother tongue.