Heritage and the Politics of Culture
The paper investigates how the contemporary local Taiwanese society appropriates and re-interprets the Dutch cultural heritages in Taiwan for the identity construction in local communities. The Dutch East Indian Company established a factory in Taiwan in 1624, and administered the island until 1662. Afterwards, the Taiwanese inhabitants referred the Dutch as “the Red-haired”. Places and landscapes such as castles, wells, caves, ports, and irrigations, bearing the name of Red-haired signify their memory of the Dutch presence. The narratives of history of Taiwan were largely suppressed after the Chinese Nationalists moved to this island after World War Two. After the lifting of martial law, the searching for Taiwan’s past has brought back the memory of the Dutch episode again. Unlike the scholarly works, the local communities develop their own understanding toward the past by appropriating and re-interpreting the Dutch cultural heritages on-site. The paper examined two cases in southern Taiwan, the deity of Dutch Princess in Kenting and the naming of Goulden Leeuw in Liuqiu islet. The former is a variation of worshipping at the temple of lady ghosts for their supernatural power, and the deity of Dutch Princess is believed to be of foreign origin mixing with the local memory of the Westerners. The latter is associated with the mixing issues of a local tragedy in the past, the development of local tourist industry, and the identity formation of local community, by naming after a ship of Dutch East Indian Company.