Sieboldhuis in Leiden is named after the first European to teach medicine in Japan. He worked as a doctor at the Dutch trading post and collected countless objects and created a beautiful botanical collection. Eventually his plants spread throughout Europe via the Hortus Botanicus while the most beautiful natural, artistic and cultural treasures were saved at the Sieboldhuis. Ever since the 19th century visitors have been travelling from around the world to admire the Sieboldhuis’ permanent collection.
Trade between Japan and Holland
Holland has a special trading relationship with Japan. In 1641 the Dutch East India Company was the only Western institution granted trading rights with Japan. Siebold was born in Germany and lived and worked in Leiden as a doctor and researcher and he lived in Japan from 1823 to 1829. He collected a highly diversified range of objects until he was caught smuggling maps of Japan to the West in 1829. Japan convicted Siebold of espionage and evicted him from the country. However, trading relations between the two nations remained intact.
Japan in Leiden
The Sieboldhuis is a piece of Japan in a Dutch gentleman’s house. It organises exhibitions of modern Japanese and Dutch art. It is beautifully situated on Rapenburg and well worth a visit.