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Research Centre for East Asian Studies Groningen Blogs and Postcards
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The Great Wall of China

2019 Tsinghua International Summer School - Experiencing China

Date:27 August 2019
Author:Thomas Veenstra

This year I had the fortune of being one of the 200 participants of a summer school hosted by Tsinghua University in Beijing. I received the scholarship provided to me by Tsinghua University through the University of Groningen. This summer school was aimed...

Korean vending machine

Korean vending machines: pork belly, dried flowers and foreign subway tickets

Date:29 April 2019

Vending machines, if you ask me, provide a window on a country’s cultural priorities. They ensure, after all, access to goods which are deemed to be so vital that they should be available around the clock, everyday of the year. They are indeed my favorite machines,...


Busiest air route in the world? Take a wild guess…

Date:04 October 2018

Visiting one of the foundations supporting CEASG this week, I had the dubious honor to fly the busiest air route in the world. Any clue which route I am writing about? According to the South China Morning Post of Hongkong, some 65 thousand flights shuttled...

Claire Defossez

Building bridges in the common fight against international terrorism

Date:24 May 2018
Author:Claire Defossez, MA student East Asian Studies

The attacks on three churches in Indonesia last week are a reminder that international terrorism is unfortunately still very much a problem today. It also underlines its international nature. Whereas after the subsequent attacks in Paris left people with the...

An unrestored part of The Great Wall

The future of a healthier Beijing

Date:08 August 2017
Author:Amber Ebskamp

As part of the Netherlands Asia Honours Summer School (NAHSS), a group of 30 students from all over the country including myself took off to Beijing, the capital of China. Before departure I didn’t have many expectations, only a few. Some good and some bad,...

Diagonal zebra crossing at main gate PNU

“Pedestrian dance” in Busan, or "Cyclist's scramble" in Groningen.

Date:11 May 2017
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

The iconic pedestrian scramble in front of Tokyo's Shibuya Station must be the world's most famous diagonal zebra crossing in the world, but the intersections outside the main gate of our partner institution Pusan National University (PNU) boast no less than...

Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion Temple, Kyoto)

MIRAI Program 2016: A Memorable Experience

Date:16 February 2017
Author:Lise Weerden en Montijn Huisman

Since the phrase entered common usage around two decades ago, both the concept and practice of public diplomacy have gained increasing attention. Various actors have come to explore its potential, and public diplomacy has become prominent in many countries’...

The Great Liao

The Great Liao? Chinggis? CEASG?

Date:23 January 2017
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma (CEASG Director International)

Ever heard of the Great Liao? Or the Da Liao? Perhaps the Liao dynasty? As opposed to the Tang, Ming or Qing dynasties, the Liao have been largely overlooked by most and remain largely unknown to this day. Yet the Liao conquered and ruled vast parts of what...

Boris Jansen

East Asian Studies at the University of Groningen

Date:09 January 2017
Author:Boris Jansen (Master Ambassador East Asian Studies)

I’ve been interested in East Asia for a long time. Since primary school I’ve been fascinated by Japan and in 2010 I participated in the International Geography Olympiad held in Taiwan, which sparked my academic interest in the entire region. When I got the...

prof. Wout van Bekkum in Kyoto

Kyoto University: a treat and a must

Date:22 September 2016
Author:Wout van Bekkum, Professor of Middle East Studies

A visit to Kyoto is time and again a great experience and a wonderful treat. My reason to come to Kyoto for the eleventh time is a very good one: my close colleague Naoya Katsumata is a professor of Jewish studies at Kyodai, the Japanese name of Kyoto University...

Jordi Zuur

Exchange programme at Tsinghua University, China

Date:19 September 2016
Author:Jordi Zuur

Much has been written about China’s rise. Every day, there is some sort of article in the newspapers describing the marvel of its economic ascent, a feature of its increasing stature in global governance or, usually more negatively, its endeavors in the South...

Campus entrance

Eerste RUG studentenbezoek Yantai Campus (in Dutch)

Date:16 August 2016
Author:Pieter Boele van Hensbroek

Na de megastad Beijing, de snelle Chinese luxetreinen en de alure van Yantai stad-aan-zee maken de afmetingen van de toekomstige UGY (University of Groningen Yantai) campus niet eens meer zo veel indruk. Met Groningse, Tanzaniaanse en Chinese studenten houden...

Cultural Tour

7th Model ASEM: Youth Voices on Diplomacy and Asia-Europe Relations

Date:21 July 2016
Author:Lise Weerden

From 6-10 July 2016, Mongolia’s capital and largest city was host to over 100 students from 51 countries across Asia and Europe. Under the theme “20 Years of ASEM: Partnership for the Future through Connectivity,” participants of the 7th Model Asia-Europe Meeting...

MIRAI program 2015

MIRAI Program Japan 2015

Date:17 February 2016
Author:Yi-han Wen (University of Groningen) and Douwe Meuldijk (Leiden University)

Last December, Yi-Han Wen (University of Groningen) and Douwe Meuldijk (University of Leiden) were selected by the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs to act as the Dutch delegation in theMIRAI program (MIRAI means 'future' in Japanese). This program, which...

Matthew Hughes

Is the TPP's effect on East Asia more political than economic?

Date:15 December 2015
Author:Matthew Hughes

Read Matthew Hughes' blog on TPP. Matthew is one of the international students in the MA East Asian Studies whose blog was selected for CEASG's blogsite.


National Chengchi University Summer School

Date:02 December 2015
Author:Joanneke Meijer, RUG student Econometrics, NAHSS 2015

Let’s start with the fact that Taiwan is great, the people are really hospitable, the food great and the country very developed. If you love nature you will be more than happy in this country. Do take into account that it is really warm here and that you’re...


Experiencing Hong Kong

Date:01 December 2015
Author:Alexandra Crisan

I have had the great opportunity, this summer from the 1st until the 8th of August 2015, to be the delegate of the University of Groningen at the 6th edition of the University Scholars Leadership Symposium in Hong Kong. The experience was greatly enlightening,...

Two different colored name tags

Experiencing Korean academia

Date:16 November 2015
Author:David Shim

In late August this year, I attended The World Congress for Korean Politics and Society, which took place in Gyeongju, a history-laden city located in the Southeast of the Korean peninsula. It was the first time for me to present my work (on comics and geopolitics)...

Mount Fuji (picture: Reginald Pentinio)

Studying in Japan

Date:11 November 2015
Author:Roy de Vries

Around 9:30 pm we were ready to go. It was a hot Japanese summer day, somewhere in July, though I was wearing my winter coat, two pair of socks and a warm hat. All of this had to do with the fact that by that time we had been some 2.200 meters above the ground...

Silvia Cortés

An unexpected East Asian experience in Groningen

Date:04 November 2015

Silvia Cortés has won the MA Thesis Award East Asian Studies 2015 with her master's thesis "China's Public Diplomacy in Latin America". She was awarded because of the the quality of her research and writing and especially the contribution towards the much under...

4th floor in elevator hotel Korea

1, 2, 3, F, 5 in Korea

Date:04 November 2015
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

Most of us will be familiar with the strong meanings attached to numbers in East Asia. Indeed, the prize money for the MA Thesis Award in East Asian Studies in Groningen is EUR 888, referring to positive connotations attached to the number eight in Asia: good...

Visit ING

Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School

Date:24 September 2015
Author:Anna Krämer

Last summer, I participated in the Netherlands-Asia Honours Summer School (NAHSS). It was a life changing experience!
As an International Relations and International Organization (IRIO) student, I have a special interest in the rise of China within Asia, especially...


Peking University; as big as my home town

Date:16 September 2015
Author:Matthijs Verver (student Peking Summer School)

As big as my home town, more inhabitants, more facilities. That’s the campus of Peking University. People tell me approximately 10.000 people reside in these dorms, while I come from a Dutch town with nearly 7000 inhabitants. Here you can buy phones, go to...


China, a path to a global perspective

Date:20 August 2015
Author:Bart-Jan van der Sleen

Culture; the ideas, customs and social behaviour of a particular people or society. You can find different cultures within a village, a country and between the different continents and it’s impossible to say your own culture is best, because it is directly...


한식 Hansik: Food for Thought (Exhibit at Korea Corner)

Date:15 July 2015
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

Plastic food replicas appear in the windows and display cases of restaurants and food stalls throughout Korea. Once made from wax, today they are usually made out of polyvinyl chloride plastic.


'One belt, one Road': de riskante weg?

Date:07 May 2015
Author:Sanne Kamerling

De traditionele Chinese filosofie van ‘De Weg’ (dào) krijgt in de Chinese hedendaagse context ineens een heel nieuwe betekenis. Het zeer omvangrijke implementatieplan van ‘One Belt, One Road’ (afgekort: OBOR) dat door Xi Jinping afgelopen maart op het Boao...

ARC 4 students' Forum

East Meets West: Asian and European Students Seeking 21st Century Solutions

Date:01 April 2015
Author:Lise Weerden

5440 Miles, 911 days, and a cultural difference apart from the third ASEM Rectors’ Conference (ARC3) host city, the ARC4 Students’ Forum took place in Hangzhou, China, on 23-24 March 2015. Hosted by Zhejiang University, ARC4 was co-organised by the Asia-Europe...

Yantai University

Groningse campus in China: Er gaat niets boven Yantai

Date:27 March 2015
Author:Tabitha Speelman

Afgelopen woensdag ondertekende Mr. Sibrand Poppema, collegevoorzitter van de Rijksuniversiteit Groningen in aanwezigheid van premier Rutte een overeenkomst met de China Agricultural University uit Beijing en de Chinese stad Yantai. De RUG wil in Yantai een...

China Solar Industry

EU-China Trade Disputes

Date:19 February 2015
Author:Jochem de Kok

In recent years there has been an increase in high-profile trade defense cases between the EU and China, relating to key export products like solar panels, wines, polysilicon (a raw material used by the solar panel industry) and mobile telecommunication networks...


CEASG - what's in a name..

Date:16 December 2014
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

Launched in september 2013, the Centre for East Asian Studies Groningen abbreviates as CEASG. The G, for "Groningen" of course, was added to distinguish the centre from the many CEAS's already established at universities around the world.

Cake shop Korea with gold-cakes

Who wants to live forever: eating gold in Korea

Date:08 December 2014
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

Food displays in Korea can be true works of art. Prospective diners are lured inside by life size dishes displayed at the restaurants shop window: fried noodles, bibimbap with a fried egg on top, fish soups, you name it, its all there. It looks so real that...

Plastic-fantastic food: drill me a fried egg

Date:08 December 2014
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

Having written here before about the plastic-fantastic food displays at restaurant windows, I decided to buy a set to display at the new Korea Corner of the Main Library.

Drilling food at Mirage-Replica

Plastic-fantastic food: drill me a fried egg

Date:08 December 2014
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

Plastic-fantastic food: drill me a fried egg please.

APEC China


Date:27 November 2014
Author:Martin Uebele

In the first week of November 2014 I visited Beijing to present and discuss my project proposal for an NWO VIDI career grant. It is titled "Risk and the Great Divergence: Growth and stability in historical economic development," and rests on close collaboration...

Ikea Korea in the Korean Times

IKEA gets it wrong in Korea

Date:25 November 2014
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

It must be your marketers worst nightmare. The opening of the first IKEA in Korea (the largest in the world, I read) drew already negative attention before the shop opened its doors and after all homework was done. Operating in different countries and regions...


AirMax (ON) by Testonics! (Why we urgently need Korean studies in Groningen)

Date:25 November 2014
Author:Tjalling Halbertsma

One of the delights of visiting Korea, apart from bibimbap of course, is that there is always something brand new to catch your attention. Something so novel it has not reached the outside world yet: an idea, a product or an entire city build on land claimed...

Jeremy Raymond

Understanding East Asia using the ‘Subway Theory’

Date:20 October 2014
Author:Jeremy Raymond

The subway theory is something that I have used many times to help begin to explain the differences and similarities between the countries within East Asia. It normally starts off with somebody asking me “How was your trip in …. (insert East Asian countries...

Japanese Robots

5 Signs Japanese robots are taking over the world

Date:06 October 2014
Author:Roy de Vries

You probably have seen the movie I, Robot, where Will Smith is saving the world by fighting robots that outsmarted the human race. You also probably sat way too comfortable on your big couch, thinking these things only happen in movies. Well guess what, they...

A modern day tributary system is far from distinctly Chinese

Date:05 October 2014
Author:Ricardo Berentsen

Having read a glimpse of When China Rules the World, the infamous book by author Martin Jacques, I was most struck by one of the eight tenets he describes, eight characteristics of China’s return to the global field. Jacques predicts that we might very well...

Remonstrance without hope in Hong Kong

Date:25 September 2014
Author:Yi-Han Wen

Dutch version (Volkskrant)

I am writing this having just returned from the Chinese University Campus of Hong Kong, where the university is brimming with students from all of Hong Kong´s Universities. This week, demonstrations will take place against Chinese...

China and Crimea (in Dutch)

Date:28 August 2014
Author:Sanne Kamerling

Ja; China is een fervent voorstander van nationale soevereiniteit en territoriale integriteit. Maarnee; China heeft opvallend genoeg geen afstand genomen van de recente Russische militaire inname van de Krim. Beijing bekritiseert bondgenoot Rusland niet, althans...

Law, conflict and airspace: understanding air defense identification zones

Date:17 January 2014

On November 23, 2013, a relatively obscure and benign security practice, which traces its origins to the early years of the Cold War, made global headlines with China’s declaration of an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) over the East China Sea. China’s...

Dealing With The Past To Repair The Present: Why Transitional Justice Matters In Asia

Date:16 January 2014
Author:Chris Lamont

In Asia, from diplomatic tensions between Japan, China and South Korea, to peace agreements that have ended long-running conflicts, such as Aceh’s Helsinki Memorandum of Understanding, to on-going mediation efforts in Mindanao and southern Thailand, demands...

Een Oeigoer… is dat een diersoort?! (in Dutch)

Date:06 January 2014
Author:Sanne Kamerling

Aldus een woordvoerder van een niet nader te noemen instantie op de vraag van een journalist of ze meer informatie konden geven over deze minderheidsgroepering in China. Dit naar aanleiding van de grootschalige rellen die in 2009 redelijk plotseling en onverwacht...

The Muslims of China

Date:10 November 2013
Author:Montijn Huisman

2 November 2013 – last Monday, a car crashed through the heavily guarded barricades of Tiananmen Square  and burst into flames in front of the steps of the Forbidden City. Later this week, the Chinese authorities said the crash was probably a suicide attack...