Skip to main content

Johannes Josephus Hoffmann archive

Identifier: ubl204

Scope and Contents

Manuscript Japanese-German and Japanese-Dutch dictionary (BPL 2180). Manuscript copies by J.Th. Royer (1737-1807) of T.S. Bayer’s Museum Sinicum and of F. Verbiest’s predictions of lunar and solar eclipses. Papers on silkworm-breeding in Europe and Japan, bibliographies on China and Japan, offprints of Hoffmann’s articles, draft texts of Nippon Archiv zur Beschreibung von Japan [etc.], Chinese letters with Malay translations from the kongsi war on Western Borneo (1850-1855), papers of A.J.C. Geerts on Japanese pharmacopeia, Dutch treaty with Ryūkyū (1859-1860), some papers concerning the Christian mission in China and Japan, album of Japanese letters collected by L. Serrurier (1890s) (BPL 2186). Correspondence concerning the Japanese students in the Netherlands in 1862-1863 (Or. 26.313).

BPL 2180 and BPL 2186 are part of the Collection Bibliotheca Publica Latina. Or. 26.313 is part of the general collection of Oriental manuscripts.


  • Creation: 1830-1900
  • Creation: Bulk 1830-1878


Language of Materials

Dutch, German, English, Chinese, Japanese, Malay

Conditions Governing Use

Regulations that apply during the use of these materials can be found on the website of Leiden University Library.

Biographical / Historical

J.J. Hoffmann (Würzburg, 16 February 1805 – Leiden, 19 January 1878) studied philology in Würzburg, but began his career as an opera singer. After having met Ph.F. von Siebold (1796-1866) in Antwerp, he went to Leiden in 1830 to become his assistant, helping him in the publishing of Nippon, Archiv zur Beschreibung von Japan [etc.]. For this purpose Hoffmann studied Chinese and Japanese. When Von Siebold left the Netherlands in 1846, Hoffmann was appointed as translator of Japanese for the Netherlands Indies government. On 21 March 1855 he was made titular professor of Chinese and Japanese at Leiden University. He taught Chinese and Japanese to about ten students, most of whom continued their studies in China and became interpreters in the Netherlands Indies. He published many japanological and some sinological articles, some of which are included in BPL 2180 K. He is best known for his Japansche Spraakleer and A Japanese Grammar (Leiden, 1867).


1.2 metres (circa)

Abstract in Dutch

J.J. Hoffmann studeerde Chinees en Japans vanaf 1830, werd regeringsvertaler Japans in 1846 en titulair hoogleraar Japans en Chinees in Leiden in 1855. Zijn nagelaten papieren bevatten zijn manuscript Japanse woordenboek en andere manuscripten, Chinese kongsi brieven uit Borneo en overdrukken van zijn artikelen.

Abstract in English

J.J. Hoffmann studied Chinese and Japanese from 1830, became government translator of Japanese in 1846, and titular professor of Japanese and Chinese in Leiden in 1855. His papers comprise his manuscript Japanese dictionary and other manuscripts, Chinese kongsi letters from Borneo, and offprints of his publications.

Physical Location

Leiden University Library, Special Collections

Other Finding Aids

Item descriptions of the papers in BPL 2180, BPL 2186 and Or. 26.313 can be found in the Catalogue, using a shelfmark as search term. For more detailed information see Kuiper 2005, pp. 154-202.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Hoffmann’s manuscript Japanese dictionary (BPL 2180) was transferred to Leiden University by the Ministry of Colonies in February 1921. The other papers (BPL 2186) were donated by H. ten Kate, L. Serrurier’s brother-in-law, after Mrs. Serrurier-ten Kate passed away. Or. 26.313 was transferred from the Japanological Institute to the University Library in 2003.


No future additions are to be expected.

Related Materials

Some other correspondence of J.J. Hoffmann in Leiden University Library can be found in the online catalogue.

Amongst the Special Collections of Leiden University Library is the Collection Chinese and Sino-Western manuscripts and early printed books, including the collections of M. Schaalje and C.F.M. de Grijs.

A description of the Collection Chinese and Sino-Western manuscripts and early printed books is online available.

Separated Materials

Hoffmann Collection, Special Collections, Utrecht University Library.

A small collection of Japanological manuscripts and letters to J.J. Hoffmann (1860-1874) in the East Asian Library, Leiden. A Dutch inventory is available.


  • Hoffmann, J.J., Japansche Spraakleer. Leiden 1867.
  • Hoffmann, J.J., A Japanese grammar. Leiden 1867.
  • Hoffmann, J.J., L. Serrurier (ed.), Japansch-Nederlandsch woordenboek and Japanese-English dictionary Vols. I, II (the letters A and O) in 1881, Vol. II (the letter B) in 1892, Leiden1881-1892.
  • Kuiper, K., Catalogue of Chinese and Sino-Western Manuscripts in the Central Library of Leiden University. Leiden 2005. (Codices Manuscripti, 33).
  • Siebold, P.F. von, Nippon, Archiv zur Beschreibung von Japan und dessen Neben- und Schutzländern [etc.], 7 vols., Leiden, Amsterdam, 1832-1858.


The material can be requested in the catalogue and can be consulted in the Special Collections Reading Room.

Processing Information

In 2005 the Chinese and Sino-Western manuscripts in the Central Library of Leiden University were catalogued, amongst them the Hoffmann papers (Kuiper 2005, pp. 154-202).

Collection guide of the Johannes Josephus Hoffmann archive (1830-1900)
Archief van Johannes Josephus Hoffmann
Koos Kuiper, 2012
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Beschrijving is in het Engels.

Revision Statements

  • 3 June 2016: latest update

Repository Details

Part of the Leiden University Libraries Archives & Collections Repository

Witte Singel 27
Leiden 2311 BG Netherlands
+31 71 527 2857