Magazin für Denkmalpflege, Landschaft, Sozial-, Umwelt- und Technikgeschichte

Rotterdam/Leiden: Konferenz “River Societies: Old Problems, New Solution. A Comparative Reflection about the Yangtze River and the Rhine”

The Conference will be held on 23-25 May at Erasmus University Rotterdam, Leiden University and the Maritime Museum Rotterdam. The Conference languages will be English and Chinese. Two translators will make sure that everyone can follow each presentation. We will be most pleased to welcome you…


May 22 Arrivals

May 23      Erasmus University Rotterdam

9:00       Official opening. Short openings word by ? of Erasmus University and dr. Meng Quing Yu, Education Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy, The Hague

9:15-12:15           Morning session: Economic aspects of River societies:

  1. Shipping, barging and adapting the channel to the needs of shipping
  2. Traders and their contacts along the river
  3. Competition with other modes of transport:

10:30-11:00 Coffee, tea etcetera

Presentations by:

  • Wang Zhenzhong (Fudan University, Shanghai) 王振忠:明清徽商与长江流域的木材贸易Huizhou Merchants and Timber Trade in the Yangtze River Valley in the Late Imperial Period
  • Ralf Banken (Goethe University Frankfurt) Trade and traders along the Rhine
  • Ben Wubs (Erasmus University Rotterdam) and Prof. Werner Plumpe (Goethe University Frankfurt) Weber, Protestant ethics and capitalism along the Rhine
  • Hein Klemann (Erasmus University Rotterdam) Competition between Dutch skippers and German ship owners and the transition to steam
  • Fan Jinmin (Nanjing University, Nanjin) 范金民:明清运河运输市场的考察》A Study of the Transportation Market along the Grand Canal during the Ming-Qing Period

12:15-13:30 Lunch

13:30-17:00 Afternoon session:  Labour and Social History of River societies

  1. Social and cultural integration along the river
  2. Child labour and labour of women in barging
  3. Living on the water

15:00-15:30 Coffee, tea etcetera

Presentations by:

  • Xu Guanmian MA (Victor) 徐冠冕. (Leiden University) Colonial products on the Chinese market
  • Tamira T.J. Combrink (University of Amsterdam) Colonial products and markets along the Rhine
  • Marlou Schrover (Leiden University) German migrants in Rotterdam and Rotterdam business
  • Feng Xianliang (Fudan University, Shanghai) 冯贤亮:城乡之间:晚明江南士人的移居、定居及其社会网Between city and country: migration, settlement and social network of literati in the south of lower Yangtze river during the late Ming dynasty

18:00-21:00 Diner


May 24      Leiden University

  • Morning session: Political/juridical aspects of river societies
  1. Modern market relations and its institutions
  2. Dike building, river regulation, water management or canalization

10:30-11:00 Coffee, tea etcetera


Presentations by:

  • Nils Disco (Technical University Twente): Regulation of transnational rivers (Maas, Rhine and Scheldt).
  • Joep Schenk (Utrecht University) Political regulation of International Rivers.
  • Wu Tao (Sun Yat-sen University, Zhuhai)  吴滔:华洋杂处下的西津渡:19世纪京口江岸区域的社会秩序 Xijin Ferry under a mixed society of Chinese and Foreigners: the social order of riverbank area of Jingkou in the 19th century
  • Xie Shi (Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou) 谢湜:17世纪江南基层水利的社会与政治语境 A study of local water conservancy in social and political context in seventeenth century lower Yangtze Delta


12:30-14:30 Lunch and tour through the Asian Library Leiden University


14:30-15:30 Key Note:

Prof. Petra van Dam (Free University Amsterdam):

Amphibious cultures along rivers: coping with flooding in the organic period.


15:30-16:00        Tea, coffee etcetera


16:00-18:00 Afternoon Session: Cultural and religious aspects of the river

  1. Religions or nationalistic river cults and their impact
  2. Songs, poems and paintings about the river and its messages


Presentations by:

  • Pia Nordblom (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) Rhine romanticism and tourism since the end of 18th century.
  • Leonard Blussé (Leiden University) Comparison of European and Chinese river boats)
  • Chen Yao (Xiamen University, Amoy)陈瑶: 河流脉动:长江中游的木帆船与市场网络(1550-1850) River Stringing Markets: Junks and Markets Networking in the Middle Yangtze River, 1550-1850
  • Wang Jian (Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Shanghai) 王健:棉业、海运与元末以来江南地区的黄道婆信仰Cotton Industry, Maritime Transportation and Huang Daopo Belief in Lower Yangtze Region since Late Yuan Dynasty


19:00 Diner in Kaag Sociëteit

 May 25      Maritime Museum Rotterdam

10:00-13:00 Morning session: Environmental aspects of human use of rivers

a)      River regulation and its consequences:

b)      Global heating and the river

11:00 Coffee, tea etcetera


  • Christoph Bernhardt (Leibniz Institute for Research on Society and Space) Environmental history of the Rhine
  • Ruediger Glaser (University of Freiburg) Transnational flood risk analysis over the last three hundred years
  • Zhang Jianmin (Wuhan University) 张建民:丰沛抑或枯涸:明清时期汉水上游的河流与环境 Overflow or depletion: Rivers and environmental change in the Hanjiang upstream area during Ming and Qing.
  • Yu Xinzhong (Nankai University, Tianjin) 余新忠:清代长江流域城市水环境问题研究 A Study on Urban Water Environmental Problems of the Yangtze River Valley in the Qing Dynasty

13-14 Lunch/Farewell



Prof. dr. Hein A.M. Klemann,

Professor of Economic History and international relations,
erdam Centre for Modern Maritime History,
Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication
Erasmus University Rotterdam
P.O Box 1738, Room M6-44
3000 DR Rotterdam

Telephone +31 10 408 2449 or 31 23 5310141