Taiwan Studies Programme

The Asian spotlight on the history of The Dutch United East India Company (VOC)

B7 Hemsley, Universiity Park
Wednesday 22nd November 2017 (12:00-14:00)

 If you are interested in attending please reserve your place by emailing Mandy Felton


The Taiwan Studies Programme (TSP) is delighted a to announce a lunchtime seminar by Dr Ann Heylen, Associate Professor at the Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature, National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), which is taking place on 22 November at the Hemsley at 12 noon.

The talk is entitled, "The Asian Spotlight on the History of The Dutch United East India Company (VOC)".


Within the field of Taiwan Studies, the Dutch Formosa episode – or 17th century Taiwan as a trading depot of the Dutch United East India Company (VOC) - has claimed its own space and significance in the nation's identity quest. Beyond that, the practice of historical research on the VOC falls more within the realm of the colonial legacy in the national history of the Netherlands, than its former colonies and the surrounding nations in the Asia-Pacific region.

This presentation will juxtapose the 17th century in the Dutch scholarly tradition on expansion and colonization history in Asia with Taiwan-based historiographical research on the topic. Shifts in perspective and methods challenging the nationalistic-colonialistic characteristics will be illustrated. Whereas early Dutch historiography on the VOC concerned problems stated differently by colonial historians, government linguists and historical sociologists, the opening up to an international study field in combination with new techniques, such as digital humanities and increased data accessibility, keep the tradition vibrant with questions that reflect on the changing interpretations of the colonial/colonized past. Contemporary issues that surfaced in postwar decolonization and/or migration policies in view of the colonial domination on the indigenous societies not only pertain to the former colonies of the Dutch East Indies, but also find a hearing in the triangular relations that exist between China, Taiwan and Japan in East Asia and their historical encounter with European powers.

Speaker biography

Ann Heylen,PhD K.U.Leuven in Chinese Studies, is Professor at the Department of Taiwan Culture, Languages and Literature, National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU), and Director of the International Taiwan Studies Center (ITSC), at the College of Liberal Arts, NTNU.

She is a founding member of the European Association of Taiwan Studies (EATS) and editor-in-chief of the East Asian Journal of Popular Culture (EAJPC, Intellect, UK). Her research covers the history of Taiwan, from 17-20th century, with special attention to Dutch Formosa, the Japanese colonial period (1895-1945) and more recently the turn of the 19th century relations between the Low Countries and East Asia.

If you are interested in attending please reserve your place by emailing Mandy Felton.


Taiwan Studies Programme

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD