VNT New Year Event 2024: a great start!

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Dear members of the VNT,
On behalf of the board, I would like to express my sincere gratitude for your presence at our New Year’s reception on Saturday, January 13. It was a true pleasure to usher in the new year together and toast to what lies ahead. This gathering provided a wonderful opportunity to be together, feel a sense of unity, and share good wishes for the new year. Your presence made the evening special, and we hope you enjoyed the festivities. Enjoy the  FOTO’s.

During the reception, Guido Tielman, honorary member and Director of the Netherlands Office in Taipei (NLOT), and Matthieu Branders, also an honorary member and Director of the Belgian Office in Taipei (BOT), gave a brief presentation on their activities and vision regarding Innovation and Culture for 2024.

The BOT shared some exciting updates about the planned events for 2024:

  • In February, the Taipei International Book Fair will take center stage, providing a platform for literary enthusiasts and fostering cultural exchanges between Taiwan and Belgium. It’s an excellent opportunity to showcase the richness of Belgian literature and strengthen the ties between our two nations.
  • Moving into March, we have a diverse set of events. Firstly, the Month of the Francophonie celebrates the French language and culture, promoting linguistic diversity and understanding. Simultaneously, the Taipei Smart City initiative highlights advancements in technology and urban development. Furthermore, the captivating theatrical production, “Flesh,” presented by Théâtre des Tanneurs, promises to be a cultural highlight during this vibrant month.
  • As we transition to June, the spotlight shifts to INNOVEX, an event that underscores the importance of innovation and technological advancements (Barco, a sponsor of VNT, will sign with their latest innovative product development).
  • July brings us Bio Asia Taiwan, a significant event focusing on advancements and breakthroughs in the biotechnology sector. It provides a valuable platform for collaboration and knowledge exchange between Belgium and Taiwan in the realm of life sciences.
  • In October, Energy Taiwan takes center stage, emphasizing sustainable energy solutions and furthering the commitment to environmental responsibility. It aligns seamlessly with the shared goals of both Belgium and Taiwan in promoting clean and renewable energy sources.
  • November introduces us to Next Generation Belgium, an event that likely focuses on fostering talent, innovation, and the future leaders of our nations. It’s an opportunity for networking and collaboration among emerging professionals.
  • Finally, in December, we have the Taiwan Healthcare + Expo, an event dedicated to showcasing the latest developments in healthcare and medical technology. It provides an avenue for collaboration and knowledge-sharing between Belgium and Taiwan in the crucial field of healthcare. Additionally, AWEX, the Wallonia Export-Investment Agency, is gearing up for an event that is yet to be confirmed – the 24th Taiwan Belgium Joint Business Council. This council serves as a vital platform for enhancing economic ties and fostering business collaborations between our two nations.

For NLOT, the key points were:

  • In 2024, we will follow the shared history between the Netherlands and Taiwan, dating back to the year 1624. It was in this crucial year that the first Dutch VOC traders set foot on the shores of Tainan, laying the foundation for a relationship that has stood the test of time. We celebrate 400 years of relations between the Netherlands and Taiwan (more on what VNT is organizing on this below!)
  • Philips, a steadfast foreign investor, has played a crucial role in shaping this enduring connection. Its influence has led to iconic Dutch companies such as ASML and NXP, testifying to a legacy of innovation and success for both the Netherlands and Taiwan.
  • Innovative start-ups, water management, agro-industries, and projects for renewable energy, especially in offshore wind, contribute to a multi-year project portfolio in Taiwan valued at over €1 billion. Remarkably, 75% of all European foreign direct investment in Taiwan between 2014 and 2020 originated from the Netherlands.
  • In terms of innovation, 2024 is characterized by ongoing collaboration in semiconductors, photonics, cybersecurity, sustainable energy, and water management. These key sectors illustrate the joint pursuit of progress in technology and science.
  • The Netherlands – Taiwan collaboration goes beyond business efforts. Culturally, the Netherlands has a wealth of events to celebrate our rich history. From the grand opening of “Once Upon a Time in Taiwan,” an opera, in Taipei, to the Taipei International Book Exhibition where the Netherlands takes center stage as the Guest of Honor, we are poised for a year filled with diverse and exciting performances.
  • King’s Day promises family-friendly festivities with Dutch and Taiwanese children, featuring a lively flea market, games, and delightful food and beverages. “Tears of Zeelandia” brings history to life by performing 17th-century Dutch music through the collaboration of Dutch and European-trained Taiwanese musicians.
  • In conclusion, Guido invited us to participate in our Open Call for Cultural Proposals, where we provide financial support for activities that promote cultural ties between the Netherlands and Taiwan and provide a platform for reflection on our shared history and cultural heritage. The application period runs from January 15 to April 15, 2024, with funding ranging from €2,500 to €10,000.

Both organizations expressed their eagerness to collaborate with the VNT on various activities. As VNT, we are, of course, always ready to contribute as much as possible and welcome partnerships and support.

Maarten, our chairman, spoke following Guido about the Dutch-Taiwanese 400-year bond, our plan to go on a weekend trip to Tainan on March 9 and 10. It will be a bus trip with a private guide during the sights we will visit in Tainan. The bus journey itself will be interesting – it will be anything but monotonous: drinks and snacks on the bus for everyone, lunch and a guided tour in Taichung Rainbow Village, a cultural highlight of Taiwan. Ultimately, we will end Saturday in Tainan at Fort Anping, where a professional guide will lead us. Afterward, participants can check into their hotels, freshen up, and then the drinks and dinner will take place. Activities are also planned for Sunday, and we will end around 6 pm back in Taipei. We are organizing this together with the Dutch Club South Taiwan. You will hear more about this soon! Exciting!!!

Our thanks also go to the organizers and volunteers who have worked to make this New Year’s reception possible. There were delicious oliebollen from Arthur and Larry, our very own VNT cooks!

Without your dedication and effort, this event would not have been as successful. We look forward to a year full of new opportunities, collaborations, and beautiful moments within the VNT community
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