The Newsletter 62 Winter 2012

North Korea in the Spotlights. IIAS Annual Lecture 2012 given by Geir Helgesen

Willem Vogelsang

THE HISTORIC, MID-17TH CENTURY WAAG (‘weigh house’), in the centre of Leiden seems an unlikely venue for a lecture on North Korea. What can the relationship be between a beautiful Dutch Classicist building, where goods entering the city were once weighed on huge scales, and an enigmatic country in East Asia that is often perceived as the last bastion of old-fashioned communism? Yet on Wednesday, 19 September, the Waag was fi lled with some 120 people attending the 2012 IIAS Annual Lecture and the subsequent reception. The speaker was Geir Helgesen, director of the Nordic Institute of Asian Studies (NIAS) in Copenhagen and a renowned expert on this mysterious East Asian country. The Annual Lecture was one of a trilogy of events putting North Korea in the Leiden spotlights: the lecture preceded a Round Table conference on North Korea, and some time later we enjoyed the inaugural lecture by Prof. Remco Breuker, the new professor in Korean studies at Leiden University, and also a member of the IIAS board.

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