The Netherlands is to be the guest of honor country of the Taipei International Book Exhibition next year, Minister of Culture Shih Che (史哲) announced on Thursday during his visit to the European country.
Next year marks the 400th anniversary of the Dutch Republic’s establishment of partial colonial rule in Taiwan, as well as the beginning of Taiwan interacting with the world, Shih said in a Facebook post yesterday.
“We are not talking about celebrations or commemorations. We are talking about the importance of the year 1624 to Taiwan’s history,” he said. “We will not shy away from reflecting on colonialism, but the year is meaningful to Taiwan.”
Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Culture
“Taiwan should hold its head high and be more active in communicating with the world,” he added.
Taiwan’s democracy and diversity have earned international recognition, so Taiwanese “should have confidence” to let the world understand the cultural achievements made by such a democratic and diverse society, he said.
The international community has been paying a lot of attention to Taiwan recently, which is an opportunity for the nation to introduce itself to the world through printed and audiovisual media, Shih said.
The ministry has supported hundreds of Taiwanese literary works so far to be translated into other languages, he said.
The annual exhibition features one country as the guest of honor each year. Former guests include Poland last year, France in 2021 and South Korea in 2020.
Dutch architecture firm MVRDV is to be in charge of designing of the Dutch pavilion in next year’s exhibition. The firm previously designed The Spring (河樂廣場) public square in Tainan and renovation of fruit and vegetable market in the city’s Sinhua District (新化).
Shih also said that he had instructed the Taiwan Cultural Center in Paris to promote Taiwan’s exchanges with European countries before next year’s Paris Olympics, as the “cultural Olympics” is also important.
The National Museum of Taiwan History is to collaborate with the Rijksmuseum, the national museum of the Netherlands, to launch the “1624 Special Exhibition” next year, Shih said.
Accompanied by Rijksmuseum general director Taco Dibbits, Shih visited the museum and discussed the exhibition plans with museum officials.
An ancient book collection that documented the history of the Dutch East India Company is to be put on display for the first time in Taiwan at the exhibition, he said.
The Rijksmuseum granted permission for the exhibition to use several images of its paintings and cultural relics collections, including a painting by Dutch landscape master Aelbert Cuyp, he said.
After completing the trip to the Czech Republic and the Netherlands during his first visit to Europe as a minister, Shih departed for Paris late on Thursday.
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