Dutch Trading Post
Member: Taijiang National Park Headquarters
The Dutch in Taiwan
The Dutch colonized the Tainan area in southern Taiwan for 38 years, from 1624 to 1662. The Dutch East India Company came to Tayouan (modern day Anping) to build their trading post here with the help of the Chinese merchants after they were expelled from the Penghu islands by Chinese forces in 1624. They turned to Taiwan as it was not under the jurisdiction of the Ming government.
The Dutch built Fort Zeelandia as well as a settlement, which was mainly for the Han Chinese. During the 38-year occupation, the Dutch constructed many fortifications in the area such as a trading post and Fort Zeeburgh in Boxemboy, Fort Zeelandia, Fort Utrecht and a settlement in Tayouan, as well as Fort Provintia in Chacam. In 1662 Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga) crossed the Taiwan Strait with his troops and captured Fort Zeelandia and the other Dutch forts, ending the Dutch trade on Taiwan.
Trading goods and routes
In 1624, the VOC trading post in Taiwan was established to gain access to the trade with China, and to link it to the worldwide VOC trading network. As such, VOC-occupied Taiwan quickly became an important entrepot in East Asia. Ships from Taiwan sailed north to Japan, west to Fujian and south via Vietnam and Thailand to Indonesia and onwards to India, Iran or Europe.
The main products shipped through Tainan were spices, lead, tin, hemp, cotton and kapok from Southeast Asia to China. In return raw silk, gold, sugar and porcelain from China were exported through Taiwan to Japan where it was traded for silver and copper. This was again shipped back to Indonesia, Europe and other countries through Taiwan. Local produce like deer skin and sugar were also important export products. Taiwan thus played a critical part in the intercontinental trade chain and relied on military strongholds in Tainan to safeguard this trade.
Among the various fortifications built by the VOC, Fort Zeelandia in Anping and Fort Provintia in Tainan are still visible and can both be visited.
Among the various fortifications built by the VOC in Taiwan, Fort Zeelandia is considered to be the most prolific remains. In the 17th century, Fort Zeelandia was the largest fortress, built over ten years from 1624 to 1634 by the Dutch East India Company (VOC) and taken in 1662 by Zheng Chenggong (Koxinga). Today, it is considered to be the oldest remaining castle building in Taiwan.
However, after natural disasters and several wars, Fort Zeelandia was left in ruins. As a representation of Taiwanese culture and history, the government has rebuilt parts of it and renamed it Anping Fort. Some of the original walls still remain and can be visited by the public. Taiwan has carried out various projects in cooperation with the Netherlands in historical research, architectural structures and follow-up operations.