Talks/ lectures

talk-lecturesIt can be difficult to understand the complex nature of Chinese society today. To help, Beijing Postcards offers a large variety of talks presenting interesting subjects on Beijing and China's history and culture in an easily accessible way. We also offer tailor-made talks for corporate events, clubs, private gatherings, and much more.

Both owners of Beijing Postcards are experienced speakers, who have held many talks on Beijing and China, its modern history and its people. The background for the talks, which most often centre on the historic period between the late nineteenth century and the present day, comes from various sources, whether it be in-depth interviews with old Beijing residents and/or foreigners living in China before the 1950s, local or foreign experts in their field, or intensive studies. Both Lars Ulrik Thom and Simon Rom Gjeroe are published authors in China, Europe and Australia, and have written books and articles on topics ranging from Beijing travel, history and culture to Chinese culture, history, and architecture. All talks are complemented by several photos from Beijing Postcards' unique and extensive collection of historical photographs. A talk normally lasts around one hour, with an additional half an hour for questions.

Please contact us for details at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


List of talks:

Boxer Rebellion Walking Tour - Under Siege

250px-BoxerSoldiersBoxer Rebellion Walking Tour - Under Siege

Hear the incredible story of the summer of
1900, when 4,000 foreigners and Chinese lived
under siege from radical mystic rebels for 55
days. Follow us into the old Legation Quarter to
hear stories about the bombing of the French
embassy, the wavering Qing Court and how
200,000 bullets flew into the sky without finding
a single target.

It can be arranged that the tour can end at a high end restaurant in the area for a well-deserved complimentary drink and a
small exhibition curated by Beijing Postcards of original photos and maps from the early 1900's!

Looking for the Master Plan
Looking for the Master Plan
-How did Beijing become the city it is today?
Why was the capital originally placed on the Huabei plain? And
where the bloody hell is the first ring road? "Looking for the Master Plan" is
a crash course in Beijing's urban development. Through this talk you will get a
clear understanding of how Beijing became the city it is today. Using their own
collection of original maps of Beijing, Beijing Postcards has created a very
visual presentation of the development of the Northern capital, from a maze of
hutong alleyways to a megacity with over 20 million inhabitants.
The Story of Tiananmen
The Story of Tiananmen

11_Nov_Tiananmen_1976-77_-1_small_redTian'anmen: The Gate of Heavenly Peace. We all know about it; it feels like it has always been there.

The Portrait of Mao Zedong that hangs on the wall is carved into the minds of billions of people - my mind as well as yours!

But how did Tian'anmen become what it is today?

In this talk we trace the background of Tian'anmen Gate through pictures that were taken of it over the last hundred years, piecing together the history of Modern China's most important piece of architecture.

History of the Hutong
History of the Hutong (Walk)

-What is all the fuzz about?

gateFollow Beijing Postcards into the curved Hutong alleyways around the Drum and Bell Towers of Beijing. Listen to stories of opium dens and vast mansions of former officials. Gain a profound understanding of old Beijing during a fun and interesting afternoon.

Along the way we will discover lanes so narrow that not even the tricycle rickshaws will be able to reach us. We will hear about the incredible transformation of this area from high society dwellings, over workers accommodation, to the peculiar mixture of generals, workers, romantic foreign fools and politicians residing in the area today.

What will happen to this area in the future? Is preservation a real option or will this area, in the very heart of Beijing, have to cave in to developers.

After two hours in the Hutong you will be left with lots to ponder about, with a drink in one hand and some snacks in the other.

"The Central Axis of Beijing"


The Central Axis of Beijing

Beijing is built around a 7.8-kilometre-long central axis, even older than the city itself. All the most important imperial institutions of old Beijing were placed either alongside or directly upon the axis. "The Central Axis of Beijing" tells the story of this commanding stretch from when it was first laid out during the Mongol Yuan dynasty, to when it was condemned after the communist takeover, right up until the 2008 Olympics where the axis enjoyed a big comeback when it was prolonged up to the Olympic Village.

"Mapping the Middle Kingdom and its Capital Beijing"
Mapping the Middle Kingdom and its Capital Beijing

Chinese Scholars, Jesuit Priests, Anti-Opium Commissioner Lin Zexu, and the Land of People with Three Heads

All_under_Heaven_China_MapDid you know that even though maps have been used in China for over 2000 years and that the Chinese had invented woodblock printing as long ago as the Tang dynasty, until the twentieth century the majority of Chinese maps were still produced with a brush? Or that in 1688 the Chinese Emperor Kangxi hired a group of French Jesuit priests who started a 30-year project to map all of the Middle Kingdom, the maps from which were still being used by foreign explorers in the 1920s and 30s to navigate around China? Or, indeed, that the famous anti-opium commissioner Lin Zexu, risked his life by collecting and translating Western geographical works on China and publishing his own book revolutionizing the way the Chinese viewed themselves and their place in the world?

"Beijing on the Move"
Beijing on the Move


__smallDuring the last hundred years, the city of Beijing has transformed itself. It is as if the demolition of the city wall has unleashed development of a nearly unprecedented scale.


"Beijing on the Move" is the story of this transformation. It is the story of how development caught up with the old Qing capital and how the city gradually broke down the walls of its confinement and took over the whole of the Huabei plain. It describes how every gate in the old city wall had its own purpose: a gate for water, coal, alcohol, for soldiers marching in to war, and one for excrements. It's the story of how the walls and gates were gradually torn down and opening up the city for the ever increasing traffic, and how twisting donkey drawn carts and long lazy camel caravans and wheelbarrows were overtaken by rickshaws and tramways, before they in turn were surpassed by automobiles, metro lines and bullet trains forever changing the layout of the imperial capital of the Ming and Qing dynasties.

"Three Weddings and a Divorce"
Three Weddings and a Divorce

- From Bound Feet to High Heels: Beijing Women in the 20th century.

 When were women first allowed to attend school in the capital? When was the tradition of bound feet abandoned? How did communism affect the idea of how a good woman should behave?

3_women_20092"Three weddings and a divorce" is the story of three women living in Beijing. Grandmother Zhang with "liberation feet", the retired office worker Sun, and Xue Rui, a career woman in her thirties. Between them they cover the last hundred years of Beijing's history. Through their lives, marriages, and one divorce, the transformation of the women's role in the capital of China is explored. Based on research and interviews, and told through a selection of historical photographs.

“Transformation Beijing”

“Transformation Beijing” – From an Imperial Past to Symbols of Modern China

Transformation_beijingDid you know that the Tiananmen Gate was completely torn down in 1969? That the Qianmen Gate was designed by a German architect? Or that Beijing's old train station mysteriously changed its location southwards? "Transformation Beijing" is the story of three of Beijing's most iconic buildings. Tiananmen - the old gate where laws used to be declared to the people, the old Beijing train station - built to give foreigners a chance to escape Chinese retaliation, and Qianmen - the first entrance to the inner city. All of these buildings have long lost their original purpose. But they have also attained new meaning in "New China", to an extent where it would be nearly impossible to imagine the centre of the capital without them.

"Opium in China"

"Opium in China" – Myth and Reality

China378_normalThe word "opium" has tremendous connotations and implications in modern China. It exemplifies the humiliation of China and its people through two so-called "Opium Wars", as well as the idea that opium was introduced to China by foreign devils interested only in enslaving the entire Chinese population by creating a nation of drug addicts.

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