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Retired Dutch envoy plans to continue promoting Taiwan

2012/09/15 20:30:58

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) Menno Goedhart, former representative of the Netherlands Trade and Investment Office, said recently that he is planning to cooperate with Dutch travel agencies to promote Taiwan tourism.

"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 between 1524 and 1662.

Unlike most other diplomats who return to their home countries after retirement, Goedhart chose to remain in the country after he retired from his diplomatic post 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 attractive destinations and the indigenous tribes around the country.

Moreover, he set up a research center for Dutch heritage study in 2011 at National Cheng Kung University in Tainan City.

Goedhart is also fascinated by Taiwan's different cultures and lifestyles, especially the island's indigenous tribes.

Taiwan's indigenous groups have strong vitality in terms of art performances such as painting, singing and carving, Goedhart said, adding that he is collecting examples of Siraya tribal music and plans to release an album by the end of this year.

Goedhart said he hopes the album will be nominated for the Aboriginal Music Awards next year, so more people can become aware of Taiwan's indigenous music.

(By Tang Hsiao-tien and Hanna Liu)