You are here: Home / Ferdinand Verbiest Institute

Ferdinand Verbiest Institute

Welcome to the Ferdinand Verbiest Institute Website

Welcome to the Ferdinand Verbiest Institute Website

The Ferdinand Verbiest Institute is a Belgium-based institute sponsored by Ferdinand Verbiest Foundation Leuven and hosted by the Catholic University of Leuven and committed to the dialogue between Europe and China.

The Institute was named after the Belgian Jesuit-astronomer at the Chinese court, Ferdinand Verbiest (1623-1688). Faithful to the inspiration of its patron, the Institute combines scholarly exchange with an active interest in the Church of China.

Historical research on the Belgian presence in China has been the red thread through the Institute's research programme since the foundation in 1982.  Since then the research program includes also China today. Currently, the Institute is strengthening  its role as an observatory on religion and society in modern China.


The Institute's research programme is carried out by our own researchers. The Institute also supports external researchers for designated projects.



Staff at the Institute's Leuven office closely works together with colleagues in Taiwan.

Serving the Church of China


Since the early 1980s the Institute has been involved in various forms of cooperation with the Church and Church-related organizations in China.

  • development and charitable work
  • dialogue with civil and religious authorities
  • initiatives

Scheut Memorial Library

The Verbiest Institute is heir to a number of scholarly libraries.  In the early 1990s, these libraries were brought together as the  "Scheut Memorial Library".  The Library is a tribute to the pioneering work of Belgian missionary-scholars in China and adjacent areas prior to 1949.