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2024 Taipei book fair to feature Netherlands as guest of honor

09/16/2023 12:05 AM
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Minister of Culture Shih Che (middle, back row) says that the Netherlands will be the "guest of honor" at the 2024 Taipei International Book Fair. CNA photo Sept. 15, 2023
Minister of Culture Shih Che (middle, back row) says that the Netherlands will be the "guest of honor" at the 2024 Taipei International Book Fair. CNA photo Sept. 15, 2023

The Hague, Sept. 14 (CNA) The Netherlands will be the "guest of honor" at the 2024 Taipei International Book Fair, to mark the 400th centennial of Taiwan's colonization by the Dutch in 1624, when it became part of the Age of Discovery, Minister of Culture Shih Che (史哲) announced on Thursday.

That period of history, also known as the Age of Exploration, spanned from the 15th century to the 17th century, during which European countries explored, colonized, and conquered regions across the globe, including Asia.

Shih said his ministry will mark the year as significant in the development of Taiwan's history, noting that 1624 was a watershed moment when the Netherlands established its colony in Taiwan.

Shih was speaking at an event held at the Museum of Literature/Children's Book Museum in The Hague, the Netherlands.

"Basically, we won't describe it as a celebration or commemoration. Instead, we will focus on discussing the importance of 1624 in the context of Taiwan's history. We will not avoid addressing colonial issues; rather, we consider this a significant year for Taiwan," Shih told CNA.

This trip was the first Shih took to Europe since he assumed the position in the cultural ministry in late January.

The delegation includes Taiwan Cultural Center in Paris Director Hu Ching-fang (胡晴舫), Taiwan's top representative to the Netherlands Chen Hsin-hsin (陳欣新), and historian Chiang Shu-sheng (江樹生).

Noting that Taiwan's democracy and diversity have received international recognition, Shih said Taiwan should also showcase to the world the cultural fruition of such democracy and diversity via book fairs, texts translation and video works, etc.

The culture ministry has helped translate into other languages about 200 works by Taiwanese authors, Shih added.

A Dutch architecture firm named MVRDV, known for designing the Market Hall in Rotterdam, will take charge of architectural design for the Dutch pavilion at the Taipei book fair next year, according to Shih.

This is not the first time MVRDV has worked with Taiwan. Its works in Taiwan include The Spring plaza in Tainan, the Tainan Xinhua Fruit and Vegetable Market, and Sun Rock, an operation facility owned by the state-run Taiwan Power Co. and situated in Changhua County coast. Its construction is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

Jacob van Rijs, a co-founder of MVRDV who visited Taiwan many years ago, told CNA that many staffers of the company have been to Taiwan, and he looked forward to the Taipei International Book Exhibition, which will bring him to Taiwan once again.

In addition to Aad Meinderts, director of the Museum of Literature/Children's Book Museum, Thursday's press event was attended by several prominent figures from the cultural sphere such as Ilja Leonard Pfeijffer, a poet and novelist, and Joyce Bergvelt, a novelist who wrote "Lord of Formosa."

Ambassador for International Cultural Cooperation at the Netherlands' Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dewi van de Weerd, Zilla Boyer, the ministry's international policy officer, and Jan Knikker, MVRDV co-founder, were also present at the event.

(By Tien Hsi-ju and Chao Yen-hsiang)


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