Past events
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In 1829, Alexander von Humboldt reached the easternmost point of his Russian journey: A border post of the Manchurian Qing dynasty. Here, on the borderline between the Tsarist Empire and the territory of the former Jungar Empire, the traveller and his companions met a Manchurian border guard and some Mongolians. These and other encounters – such as the one with the Oirad Mongolians on the Volga – enabled Humboldt and his companions not only to gain scientific research results, but also deep insights into a living world and culture that were new to them.

How did this historical encounter between the Mongolians and Alexander von Humboldt unfold? In what historical context did it take place? And what significance do the scientific achievements of the expedition and the collection objects brought back from the Asian continent still have for science today?

Lectures by scientific experts and contributions by musicians will shed light on the encounter – an intellectual journey to the (former) Mongolian territories from a historical, cultural and natural science perspective.

As part of the event, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz will present objects from its holdings that Alexander von Humboldt received during his trip to Russia in 1829.


Prof. Dr. Christoph Schneider, Vice-President for Research, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Dr. Birvaa Mandakhbileg, H.E. Ambassador of Mongolia


Alexander von Humboldt’s Second Great Journey
Prof. Dr. Marcel Robischon (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)

In the Footsteps of Alexander von Humboldt in Russia and Kazakhstan
Dr. Ferdinand Damaschun (Museum of Natural History Berlin)

Alexander von Humboldt’s Central Asia and the Manchurian Qing Dynasty
Dr. Francesca Fiaschetti (University of Vienna)

The Manchurian language and its connection with Classical Mongolian
Prof. Dr. Otgontuul Togtokh (National University of Mongolia)

The border protection of the Mongolians at the time of Alexander von Humboldt
Dr. Ganchimeg Altangerel (Humboldt University Berlin)

Central Asian Objects from Alexander von Humboldt’s Possession at the Berlin State Library
Antje Ziemer (Berlin State Library)

The music culture of the 19th century in the Western Mongolian Altai Mountains
Gerlee Tsegmid-Rösch (Mongolian Step, Bad Homburg)


What was heard musically when Humboldt travelled to the Mongolians
Ines Theileis (vocals, Salon Fähig, Berlin) and Nasanjargal Ganbold (throat singing and horse-head fiddle, Sedaa, Hanover)



The event is organised in cooperation with the Humboldt Lab at the Humboldt Forum by Dr. Ganchimeg Altangerel (Institute of Asian and African Studies, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin) and Prof. Dr. Marcel Robischon (Department of Agroecology, Albrecht Daniel Thaer Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin).

With the kind support of the Humboldt Forum Foundation, the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin – Preußischer Kulturbesitz and the Embassy of Mongolia.

Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin
Museum für Naturkunde Berlin
Botschaft der Mongolei
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