In 2017, Taoyuan City Government delegation embarked on a visit to Europe, including stops in the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, and France. This visit opened up the door for exchanges between Taoyuan and Europe.
Updated at 2022-07-07
Taoyuan City has been actively engaging in city diplomacy and conducting in-depth exchanges with international cities since it was upgraded to a special municipality in 2014. In 2017, Mayor Cheng Wen-tsan led a delegation to visit Europe, paving the way for future exchanges between Taoyuan and Europe. On March 29, 2019, Taoyuan announced that it had officially become friendship cities with the Netherlands’ Utrecht Region.
Utrecht is located in the central part of the Netherlands and is its fourth-largest city. Its population is 350,000, which is expected to reach 450,000 by 2024. It has an area of 99.32 square kilometers, and is one of the most densely populated cities in the Netherlands.
Utrecht Region is a poetic ancient city as well as a famous university city. It’s also the hometown of Miffy, the world’s most famous rabbit. The most characteristic feature of the city is that the wharves of its canal system are lower than its roads. You can explore the city by taking a boat ride along Utrecht’s tree-lined, verdant canals, gliding under arch bridges and stopping to visit the historical façades and sculptures of the buildings that line the wharves.
Utrecht Region is also home to the headquarters of Nederlandse Spoorwegen (Dutch Railways) and is the center of the Dutch railway network. Utrecht Centraal railway station is the busiest in the country.
In 2020, Utrecht Centraal opened up Stationsplein Utrecht, the largest underground bicycle parking lot in the world with a capacity of 12,500 bikes. According to 2019 statistics, Utrecht Region ranks as the world’s third-most bike-friendly city, and 64 percent of residents make at least one bike trip a week and 53 percent of residents use bikes to commute.
Taoyuan City and Utrecht began their relationship in 2017 when Utrecht Mayor Jan van Zanen led a delegation to visit Taoyuan. The two sides exchanged views on urban development issues such as smart water management, public transport, green cities, and education. Two years later on March 29, 2019, Utrecht Vice Mayor Klaas Verschuure led a smart city delegation to visit to Taoyuan. The two sides signed a memorandum of understanding for cooperation that paved the way for future exchanges, and also became sister cities. Since then, in-depth exchanges on the issues of smart cities, smart water management, healthy urban lifestyles, and international affairs have been held, allowing the two sides to promote their technologies, share their experiences, and learn from each other.
One of the gifts presented during the signing ceremony between Taoyuan and Utrecht is the world-famous Miffy doll (or Nijntje in Dutch). Miffy is the brainchild of Utrechter illustrator, Dick Bruna. Her trademark is her x-shaped mouth. Because of Miffy’s immense popularity in Japan, many have mistaken the cute bunny to be a Japanese creation. Miffy was conceptualized in 1955. Bruna created the character after telling his son bedtime stories about a bouncing bunny rabbit they saw one time at the seaside. This eventually became a series of picture books. Utrecht is home to the Miffy Museum, a must-visit for Miffy fans all over the world.
Dom Tower is the tallest church tower in the Netherlands at 112.5 meters in height. It was part of St. Martin’s Cathedral, and is considered the symbol of Utrecht. Dom Tower was completed around 1321 while the cathedral was still under construction. Due to a lack of funds, the church was never completed. The unfinished nave then collapsed around 300 years ago during a tornado, converting Dom Tower into a freestanding tower. The architectural style is Gothic. If you climb to the top on a clear day, you can see Amsterdam and Rotterdam in the distance. This print was created by Dutch artist, Lucas van Hapert, who based on famous landmarks in Utrecht. A consistent feature seen in many Utrecht artworks is the arches within buildings.