Menno Goedhart, a former representative of the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office, recently said he was planning to cooperate with Dutch travel agencies to promote tourism to Taiwan.
“I will put all of my efforts to promote Taiwan,” said Goedhart, who was honored as a Taiwan cultural goodwill ambassador by the government last year for his contributions to -Taiwan-Netherlands relations.
Over the years, Goedhart, who was posted to Taiwan in 2002, has visited almost every corner of Taiwan — including some areas that are unfamiliar to many Taiwanese — to trace the footprints of his Dutch ancestors who colonized Taiwan from 1524 to 1662.
Unlike most other diplomats who return to their home countries after retirement, Goedhart chose to remain in Taiwan after he retired in 2010.
That year, he published a book titled The Real Taiwan and the Dutch: Traveling Notes from the Netherlands Representative in Chinese and English, featuring many of Taiwan’s most scenic areas and the Aboriginal tribes around the country.
He also set up a research center for Dutch heritage study last year at National Cheng Kung University in Greater Tainan.
Goedhart said he was fascinated by Taiwan’s different cultures and lifestyles, especially the Aboriginal tribes.
Taiwanese Aboriginal groups are very creative and excel in the arts, such as painting, singing and sculpture, Goedhart said, adding that he was collecting samples of Siraya music and plans to release an album by the end of this year.
Goedhart said he hoped the album would be nominated for the Aboriginal music awards next year, so more people could become aware of Taiwan’s Aboriginal music.