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  • 2021-08-13
International Book Donation Comes across the Ocean to NCL: NCL Receives Austrian Sinologist’s Collection
International Book Donation Comes across the Ocean to NCL: NCL Receives Austrian Sinologist’s Collection

National Central Library received a large donation of books from Austrian Sinologist Dr. Otto Ladstätter's (1933-2005) family. The shipment arrived in Taiwan on July 19, 2021, and on July 28 had cleared customs. At this point, NCL started sorting through and cataloging the donation. Beginning in September 2020, NCL Director-General Shu-hsien Tseng continued to seek out the collection, asking Fu Jen Catholic University professor Fr. Luis Gutheinz and Monumenta Serica Sinological Research Center Director Dr. Mei-ting Huang to act as intermediaries with Dr. Otto Ladstätter's son, who is also a professor, to persuade him to donate the collection to NCL. Director-General Tseng explained that NCL has a Center for Chinese Studies that is constantly expanding its Chinese studies collection and offers research stipends to foreign scholars in researching topics in Chinese studies. The Center and its resources are highly valued by scholars in Taiwan and abroad. Indeed, it is an important hub for Chinese studies research throughout the world. Because of this, Markus Ladstätter agreed to ship what his father took a lifetime to acquire across land and sea to find a new home at NCL.


Dr. Otto Ladstätter has been recognized as one of the earliest sinologists in the Germanophone area of Europe, and indeed of Europe as a whole. In 1961, he earned a Ph.D. in Chinese studies and began his career in teaching Chinese and researching topics related to Chinese studies. He used to teach at Eberhard Karls Universität in Tübingen, which is one of Germany's oldest universities and one of the eleven Universities of Excellence. He later taught at the University of Bonn in Germany. Classes he taught covered classical Chinese poetry, Buddhist studies, Confucian studies, and 17-18th century novels in China. In 1972, the University of Vienna established a Chinese studies department and installed Dr. Otto Ladstätter as the department head. He taught mostly on contemporary China and modern Chinese. In his research, he was honored as a pioneer in using the scientific method in researching topics on Chinese studies.


Dr. Ladstätter spent his entire life at the university teaching modern Chinese. He placed much emphasis on scientific research on language and culture through travel and exploration. For example, with regard to researching ethnicities on China's outer regions, he personally traveled to Xinjiang to conduct field studies and experience life there, while also gathering a sizable number of materials. With regard to Chinese studies, he felt that further research should be conducted on the religious and ethnic ideologies of related languages. This type of deep research is challenging, and yet Dr. Ladstätter viewed this as his lifetime pursuit in Chinese studies.


The donation was originally stored in Altlengbach, Austria. It was packed up into 109 boxes on May 11 and then shipped to Hamburg, Germany. There it was put in a shipping container and shipped out on June 11. It arrived in Taiwan on July 19. The donation was broken down into smaller sections to be fumigated and then was shipped to NCL on August 2.


COVID-19 began spreading around the world in 2020. Many international flights and shipments have been stopped or reduced. Because of this, Director-General Tseng stated that it was basically a miracle that this large and much anticipated donation by Dr. Ladstätter could arrive. Due to Dr. Ladstätter's teaching and research interests, the collection is comprised of books on Chinese language teaching in a variety of languages, as well as others on Chinese studies. Director-General Tseng stated that approximately 150 of the books are over one hundred years old, with the oldest being published in 1834. The collection totals around 6,000 volumes, with 2,500 of these being important books and journals in Chinese studies. With such a large donation filled with a variety of topics, it will be a huge boon to researchers in Taiwan and abroad!

Last Update Time:2021-08-13
  •  Two large wooden boxes of books arrived in Keelung on July 23.

    Two large wooden boxes of books arrived in Keelung on July 23.

  •  The books were then taken to be fumigated.

    The books were then taken to be fumigated.

  •  The books arrived at NCL on August 2.

    The books arrived at NCL on August 2.

  •  NCL Director-General Tseng examines the donation.

    NCL Director-General Tseng examines the donation.

  •  Director-General Tseng has in her hands a book published in 1834.

    Director-General Tseng has in her hands a book published in 1834.

  •  NCL staff show books that are over 100 years old from Dr. Ladstätter’s collection.

    NCL staff show books that are over 100 years old from Dr. Ladstätter’s collection.