TAIPEI (CNA) — The Netherlands’ de facto embassy in Taiwan has officially changed its name from the “Netherlands Trade and Investment Office” to the “Netherlands Office Taipei” as of Monday, to be “more inclusive” in terms of bilateral cooperation, the European nation’s top envoy to the country said that day.
“As you just heard, over the last couple of years we have expanded our activities to many new areas, and that’s why we have changed, or maybe simplified, as of today, our office name into ‘Netherlands Office Taipei,'” Guy Wittich, head of the office said in a video clip released on the office’s Facebook page Monday night.
“By taking out the words ‘trade and investment,’ we have become more inclusive for all the other areas we are collaborating on, so clearly, less here is much more,” Wittich said in the pre-recorded video clip released to celebrate his country’s national day.
The decision made the Netherlands the fourth foreign representative office in Taiwan to change its name over the past eight years, after Australia, United Kingdom and Japan.
The Australian representative office name was changed from the Australian Commerce and Industry Office to the Australian Office Taipei in 2012.
In 2015, the UK’s de facto embassy in Taiwan changed its name from the British Trade and Cultural Office to the British Office Taipei, while in 2017, Japan’s representative office, became the Japan-Taiwan Exchange Association, after being previously called the Interexchange Association,
In response to the name-change, Taiwan’s Foreign Minister Joseph Wu (吳釗燮) said the country welcomes the decision by the Netherlands, adding that the move symbolizes a positive step in bilateral relations.
In his five-minute address, Wittich said despite the challenging times around the globe amid the COVID-19 pandemic, relations and cooperation between Taiwan and the Netherlands have continued to strengthen in many areas.
Bilateral trade between the two sides doubled over the past five years, and in 2019 there was an increase of over 41 percent, the largest ever year-to-year increase in trade, he noted.
The Netherlands is now Taiwan’s 10th largest trade partner and second largest in Europe. It it is also one of the country’s largest foreign investors and a key strategic partner in the semiconductor industry in Taiwan, he continued.
Two-way cultural and educational cooperation have also been strong. Taiwan and the Netherlands signed a reciprocal working holiday program in December 2019, he noted.
Wittich also announced that he will conclude his five-year tenure in Taiwan in July.
The national day of the Netherlands, known as King’s Day or Koningsdag in Dutch, is celebrated annually on April 27, the birthday of the country’s 53-year-old King Willem-Alexander.