Day #132: The Dutch in Tainan

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August 12th 2013
Published: August 22nd 2013
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In the 1600s Anping, a small island just off the coast of Tainan became an important trading post for the Dutch empire, and many Dutch administrators, missionaries and teachers moved to the area (its importance ended when the harbour silted up and it became a part of the mainland). The district retains some Dutch connections through cultural exchanges and various museums and exhibitions about the history of the Dutch in the area. One of the main sites is the fortress, which houses a museum charting the history of the lives of the immigrant Dutch. Many of the men who moved to Anping married Taiwanese women, though the women apparently could not understand why the Dutch men insisted on their homes being kept so clean!

Anping also has a famous statue to a folk figure called Miss Jin, a sort of Taiwanese Molly Malone, as she is famous in Taiwan as a character in a folk song. In the song, Miss Jin is born to a mother who has fallen in love with a Dutch surgeon, who pledges his love but then leaves, never to return, leaving Miss Jin and her mother alone. Twenty years later Miss Jin is destined to repeat the pattern and in turn falls in love with a sailor who leaves, and she ends up spending her days gazing out at the harbour, waiting in vain for her love to return.

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