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Netherlands the guest of honor country as Taipei book fair opens

02/20/2024 04:48 PM
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Netherlands Office Taipei Representative Guido Tielman (center) presents President Tsai Ing-wen (left) with a vase of tulips on Tuesday during the latter's visit to the Dutch pavilion at the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024
Netherlands Office Taipei Representative Guido Tielman (center) presents President Tsai Ing-wen (left) with a vase of tulips on Tuesday during the latter's visit to the Dutch pavilion at the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024

Taipei, Feb. 20 (CNA) The 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition (TiBE) kicked off Tuesday, ready to highlight the 400-year bond between Taiwan and the Netherlands, the book fair's guest of honor country.

The book fair will feature 52 international authors, 509 exhibitors from 34 countries, and 400 events aimed at promoting reading, according to the Ministry of Culture, which oversees the TiBE.

Speaking at the show's opening ceremony, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) said Taiwan and the Netherlands are like-minded democracies that cherish freedom and human rights, and she hoped that the book fair would further strengthen bilateral ties.

Dutch representative to Taiwan Guido Tielman said the Netherlands and Taiwan share a long history that dates back to 1624, when the Dutch first arrived on Taiwan's shores.

Dutch representative to Taiwan Guido Tielman speaks at an opening reception held at the country's pavilion at the Taipei International Book Exhibition at Taipei World Trade Center on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 21, 2024
Dutch representative to Taiwan Guido Tielman speaks at an opening reception held at the country's pavilion at the Taipei International Book Exhibition at Taipei World Trade Center on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 21, 2024

Throughout this "jubilee" year, he said, the Netherlands Office Taipei will commemorate the start of that bond by organizing cultural and economic activities together with its Taiwanese counterparts.

Taiwan and the Netherlands are both staunch defenders of the right of writers to express themselves freely, unfettered and uncensored, Tielman said, and his office hoped to share with local book lovers those key values conveyed through the work of Dutch authors, illustrators, and publishers present at the TiBE.

Tielman also highlighted the Dutch Pavilion at the show, designed by Dutch architectural firm MVRDV that was made using recyclable materials to promote sustainability.

A woman and a girl are pictured during their visit to the Dutch pavilion at the Taipei book fair on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 21, 2024
A woman and a girl are pictured during their visit to the Dutch pavilion at the Taipei book fair on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 21, 2024

Christianne Mattijssen, deputy director-general for Culture and Media at the Netherlands' Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, said in her speech that "the Netherlands' presence in Taiwan was a part of my country's colonial history."

"And increasingly, we acknowledge the dark sides of these periods as well. Today we want to come to terms with our historical responsibilities," she said.

Another speaker, Taipei Book Fair Foundation Chairperson Isabella Wu (吳韻儀), said the TiBE was at the forefront of telling Taiwan's stories to the world.

She encouraged people to attend the book fair not only to enjoy the works available there but to explore opportunities for cooperation and collaboration and enable Taiwanese works to further branch out to international markets.

CNA photo Feb. 21, 2024
CNA photo Feb. 21, 2024

Deputy Culture Minister Lee Ching-hwi (李靜慧) noted that visitors aged 16-22 who present Culture Points digital vouchers will be admitted for free.

Among those eligible to download the vouchers are foreign nationals in the age group holding an Alien Resident Certificate or Alien Permanent Resident Certificate.

The TiBE, being held at the Taipei World Trade Center, runs until Feb. 25.

(By Sean Lin)

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Expo attendees visit the Dutch pavilion at the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024
Expo attendees visit the Dutch pavilion at the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024
Expo attendees visit the Dutch pavilion at the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024
Expo attendees visit the Dutch pavilion at the 2024 Taipei International Book Exhibition on Tuesday. CNA photo Feb. 20, 2024
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