Visit of the Slovak Count in Taiwan inspired exhibition


  • By Tsai Yun-jung, Peng Wan-hsin, and Kayleigh Madjar / Staff Reporter, with Staff Writer

To commemorate 250 years since Count Moric Benovsky touched Taiwan, the Slovak Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei and the Lanyang Museum are planning a special exhibition in May next year.

Benovsky, a military officer and explorer, who was born in what is now Vrbove, Slovakia, landed in a bay near Suao (蘇澳) in Yilan County in August 1771 and was the first European to visit the east coast.

He stayed there for 16 days and established a “contact point” between the two countries, the Yilan county government said on Saturday.

Photo courtesy of the Yilan County Government

To commemorate 250 years since the expedition, the county said it is working with the office to hold a special exhibition at the Lanyang Museum in Toucheng Township (頭 城).

The show, entitled “1771: Count Benovsky in Yilan”, will run from May 13th to September 13th next year, it said.

As part of the exhibit, the office will showcase a statue marking the area where Benovsky came ashore, the county said, adding that it would likely be placed at the Nanfangao Sailing Center.

Meanwhile, President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) visited Facebook on Saturday to thank Slovakia for donating 10,000 COVID-19 vaccine doses.

The Eastern European nation announced the donation on Thursday last week in exchange for Taiwan’s mask donations last year.

The vaccines are due to arrive in September via the European Civil Protection Mechanism, which allows the European Commission to share vaccines outside the EU.

Starting with dakujem or “thank you” in Slovak, Tsai said that mutual support between democracies creates a positive cycle.

Many Central and Eastern European nations, including Slovakia and Lithuania – which also announced a vaccine donation last month – share the experience of democratization with Taiwan, she said.

After this transformation, these nations are now defenders of demoractic values ​​and have a deeper understanding of Taiwan’s situation, she added.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was pleased to see relations with Slovakia continue to deepen.

Taiwan think tank advisor Lai I-chung (賴怡忠) said that Slovakia is very interested in Taiwan’s digital infrastructure and technology cooperation.

Slovakia is about the size of Taiwan but with a younger population and more advanced software development ripe for collaboration, Lai said.

It is also looking for nations at a similar stage of development to work with rather than interacting with larger nations, he added.

A delegation from Slovakia is also expected in September, led by Karol Galek, the second state secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Economy, the Central News Agency quoted on Friday as quoting a source familiar with the matter to sign a mutual legal assistance agreement late this month.

Additional coverage from Su Yung-yao

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