TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — Director of the Austrian Office in Taipei Roland Rudorfer recapped some of the cultural events hosted by the organization last year, in an interview with Taiwan News.
Rudorfer, who became a diplomat in 1993, said the second half of 2020 was “a very busy time” despite the pandemic. As an example, he pointed to the two-day “Best of Ars Electronica” screening event in October.
An “Austria Vienna Cultural month” in partnership with Tainan City Government was held in the southern Taiwan city in November, featuring five music and film events. Rudorfer said a “Vienna Coffeehouse” event, in collaboration with Julius Meinl coffee, was held early November in Taipei and featured “classical music, a live baking demonstration of Viennese delicacies, a choir with Austrian and Taiwanese songs, and much more.”
A Vienna Oktoberfest event was also held on Nov. 21, with more than 800 visitors at the Tainan Art Museum. When asked about events for the new year, Rudorfer replied, “Well, we hope that the year 2021, at least the second half, will be a more normal year again.”
He added that he also hoped the Vienna Boys Choir, which performed in Taiwan for 15 consecutive years up until 2019, as well as the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra would “be able to perform all over Taiwan this autumn.” Rudorfer also looked forward to a repeat of 2020’s Austrian Festival in Tainan.
He said that it was expected Austrian cinematography would be celebrated at the Kuandu International Animation Festival, in addition to screening Austria´s “Tricky Women/Tricky Realities” animated film at the Taichung International Animation Festival. More Ars Electronica events will also be held in the future, Rudorfer said.
The representative noted that many young Taiwanese took part in Austria’s working holiday program and “made use of it to the full extent until 2019.” He said the Austria Office had also made videos to encourage more Austrian youths to participate in Taiwan’s program. In 2019, 15 Austrians visited the East Asian country to travel and work.
Rudorfer mentioned that he is working on a new initiative to increase the number of youths on the program. “I wish programs such as this one had existed during my younger years, as it is a great opportunity to get to know another language, the culture, and the people.”
As for the number of Austrian students studying in Taiwan, the representative estimated that there were around 30 to 40 every year. Meanwhile, he said approximately 80 to 90 students from Taiwan study in Austria, annually.
Rudorfer said that 300,000 euros (US$364,000) have been allocated by both sides each over the last two years in order to further enhance bilateral educational and science exchanges. Meanwhile, the representative said that in 2019 “roughly 66,000 Austrians visited Taiwan and 189,000 tourists from Taiwan visited Austria.”
The most popular tourist destinations in Austria for Taiwanese are the cities of Vienna, Salzburg, and Hallstatt, he said. “Personally, I would highly recommend the Salzkammergut region with its lakes, historical villages and towns, and gorgeous mountainous scenery, which is situated in the provinces of Styria, Upper Austria, and Salzburg.”
Rudorfer added that “for travelers who like to enjoy a glass of wine and wonderful local food, the wine streets in Styria Province and the Wachau Region in Lower Austria are a must.”
He said that Austria offers so much—during the summer, crystal-clear lakes offer an inviting respite from the heat, while the country’s spectacular mountains are perfect for hiking. In winter, Austria is famed for its skiing, nationwide hot springs, and spas.
There are plentiful cultural festivals, classical music, centuries-old traditions, scenic sites, and activities that also deserve a visit, the representative stated.
Rudorfer concluded by saying that as director of the Austria Office, he will “work tirelessly” to “promote and intensify” mutual exchanges in fields such as the economy, culture, science and technology, and education.