A special exhibition on Fort Zeelandia showcasing the reconstruction of the Dutch fortified town opened at National Cheng Kung University Museum in Tainan on Tuesday.
Lead researcher Huang En-yu (黃恩宇), who is an associate professor of architecture at the university, said the five-year investigation is part of a broader academic project to mark the 400th year of Zeelandia’s founding in 2024.
The present-day historical site in Tainan’s Anping District (安平) was only a part of the fortress and township established by the Dutch East India Company in 1624, bringing Taiwan into the international trade system, he said.
Photo: Liu Wan-chun, Taipei Times
The research team used a wide array of documents and records to recreate the layout of Fort Zealandia with a fidelity of more than 80 percent, he said.
Historical documents used in the reconstruction include the 1643 Estate Registers of Zeelandia, which was discovered in manuscript form by Dutch researcher Menno Leenstra; Diary of Fort Zealandia; The East India Report; Resolutions of the Council of Tayouan; and Correspondences of the Governor of Formosa and the Governor-General of Batavia.
The material was cross-referenced with cadastral and topographical maps of the region compiled by the later Japanese colonial authorities, he said.
The works on city planning and military engineering by 17th-century Dutch polymath Simon Stevin provided valuable insights for imagining parts of the fort that lacked documentation in the archives, he said.
The multimedia exhibit showcases a scale model of the fort, video presentation and copies of primary source documents that were utilized by the research team, in addition to other materials that contextualize Fort Zeelandia’s role in global commerce at the time, he said.
The exhibit is to run until Sept. 30 next year.
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