Projects with Japan
Partners: Herbarium Sieboldianum, Peter the Great's Historical Society, Komarov Botanical Institute.
Philip Franz van Siebold (1796-1666), was a military doctor in the service of the Dutch East-Indian Army. He was first assigned to Batavia (Jakarta), then had two long stays at Deshima in Japan. He was a very important figure within the isolated Dutch community at Deshima, but was also highly regarded in Japan at that time. He was granted permission to leave Deshima on several occasions for research, and he introduced many western scientific and medical techniques and methods into the country.
During his time in Japan he collected many ethnographical, zoological and botanical objects, with more than 12,000 dried plant specimens of over 2,000 species. His collection can now be found in various European and Russian museums and institutions such as the Komarov Botanical Institute, the State Botanical Collection in Munich, the Dutch National Herbarium, Museum Volkenkunde, Naturalis Museum, Russian Academy of Sciences. He returned to Europe in 1859 and settled near Leiden, where he concentrated on extending his collection of flora and fauna from Japan. His is the oldest botanical collection from this country, a large part of it was purchased by the Dutch government for the National Herbarium, but his widow also sold a portion of it to the Russian Academy of Sciences in St. Petersburg during the 1860s.
The Herbarium Sieboldianum in St. Petersburg consists of more than 800 sheets containing leaves and collected material along with handwritten original notes by Siebold and his Japanese co-workers, sometimes still upon the original Japanese paper. His scientific drawings and the correspondance relating to the purchase of the collection can also be found within the Academy of Sciences' Archive.
Over the years this collection had decayed somewhat and was in dire need of restoration, as well as new labelling and cataloguing according to international botanical standards. Measures also needed to be taken to ensure the future preservation of the sheets. The Russian Academy of Sciences called upon Dutch experts for assistance, as there were very few experts who possessed such knowledge and experience in Russia for restoration and conservation of botanical collections. This project also intended to help establish contacts with Dutch scientists and experts in order to stimulate and encourage research into the Herbarium Sieboldiarum in both Russia and the Netherlands.
CIE was requested to prepare an outline for a capacity building programme in order to assist Russian institutions in developing collection management and international networks in the field of historical botanical collections. This would also allow for the training of Russian restorers to help preserve Russian botanical collections in the future.
This projects links Japan, Russia and the Netherlands as well as relating the common history and shared cultural heritage between the Netherlands and Russia, which tied into the Dutch Mutual Cultural Heritage Policy as Russia was at that time a Priority Country for the Netherlands.
CIE organised a full visitor programme for Natalia Kopaneva of the Peter the Great's Historical Society. This included visits to the Siebold House, National Herbarium, Museum Volkenkunde, National Archives and the Artis Zoological Museum. This enabled her to meet many Dutch experts who were interested in the Russian Siebold objects and in establishing working partnerships. Another visit was arranged for Dr. Grabovskaya to become acquainted with the current methods in restoring and preserving botanical collections in the Netherlands. She visited stores and restoration labs within a number of museums and institutions.
Virtual Museum Project
Partners: Rijksmuseum, Volkenkunde Museum, Siebold House, Naturalis, National Archives, Maritime Museum Rotterdam, Maritime Museum Amsterdam
In 2007 CIE developed a project proposal for an online repository to house information and visual material, a virtual museum, relating to objects reflecting the joint heritage between Japan and the Netherlands. This website was to include information on locations, cities, towns, monuments and artefacts which are connected to this bilateral history. The website was also intended to provide a link between all players and forge a strong network through cooperation and information exchange. A selection of items would be chosen from a number of museums and collections and entered into this platform, accompanied by information about its origins and historical background.
This virtual museum was designed to have five different rooms, which would each contain different artefacts.
1. Siebold Room: Theme- Dutch people in Japan e.g. surgeons, engineers, dutch ladies
2. Deshima Room: Theme- The history of Dutch-Japanese relations
3. Shogun Room: The court journeys to Edo, gifts to taken to the Shogun by the Dutch from Nagasaki as well as gifts given to the Dutch in return.
4. Shiba Kokan Room: Theme- Japanese people with connections to the Dutch e.g. interpreters, artists, doctors, engineers, courtesans.
5. Science Room: Theme- Medicine, rangaku, engineering, photography, military arts.
A number of museums consented to a selection of their artefacts being entered into this virtual museum including; Rijksmuseum Amsterdam, the Volkenkunde Museum, Siebold House, Naturalis Museum, National Archives, Maritime Museum of Rotterdam and the Maritime Museum of Amsterdam. It was intended that this platform would have been created and managed by CIE until the care and continued maintenance could be transferred to a Japanese partner.
Examples of the botanical samples from Siebold's collection, at the Botanical Institute, St. Petersburg.
Dr. Grabovskaya and Eva Koppen (CIE) at the Komarov Botanical Institute in St. Petersburg.