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Almere Mayor and Delegation Visits Friendship City Tainan. Both Cities Collaborates to Realize Circular Economy Goals


Almere City Mayor Franc Weerwind and delegation team, accompanied by Representative of NTIO Guy Wittich, visited Acting Tainan Mayor Li Men-yen on the morning of September 28. The two cities signed a friendship city agreement in 2009. During the meeting on Sep. 28, the Mayors exchanged experiences and ideas in areas such as government affairs, circular economy, innovation, and sustainable development. Other Tainan city officials were also present, including Tainan City Government Deputy Secretary-General Liu Shih-chung, Department of Urban Development Director General Zhuang De-liang, Department of Information and International Relations Deputy Director Lin Jian-xian, Bureau of Economic Development Deputy Director General Yin Shi-xi, and Industrial Development & Investment Promotion Committee Director-General Wang Jian-min.
Acting Mayor Li first welcomed the Mayor and delegation on behalf of Tainan citizens. As he had studied in the Netherlands years ago, Li was very happy to welcome the Dutch visitors. He thanked Almere for actively initiating bilateral exchanges with Tainan. Since the two cities became friendship cities in 2009, Tainan has welcomed three delegation teams from Almere, and each visit has been fruitful. This time the two cities co-organized the “Taiwan-Netherlands Circular Economy Forum” which Mayor Weerwind and his delegation also participated in. The event was a platform for participants to exchange experiences and share ideas, and hopefully will help both cities develop a sustainable lifestyle and environment. 
Acting Mayor Li further pointed out that Taiwan and the Netherlands have been interacting since the 17th century. Both sides have engaged in many interactions and exchanges in terms of architecture, culture, and business. Recently Tainan launched a number of major construction projects, including the Tainan Municipal Library, and the Tainan Axis Landscape Transformation Project, which are all collaborations with Dutch architecture firms. Furthermore, Tainan and the Netherlands jointly organized the 2016 Taiwan-Netherlands City Innovation Roadshow and 2017 Towards Water Smart Cities in Tainan Forum. The events were organized to introduce the shared development visions of the two cities in areas such as smart city, green energy, innovation and sustainability to Tainan residents and businesses. In the future, Tainan and Almere hope to continue to engage in exchanges and collaborations, strengthen our friendship, and build a better living environment for residents in both cities. 
Almere and Tainan began exchanges in 2005 which led to the later signing of friendship cities in 2009, said Almere City Mayor Weerwind in his remarks. Two businesses from Tainan (TYC Brother Industrial Co. and Taiwan Sugar Corporation) have invested in businesses in Almere, showing actual collaborations between the two cities. Mayor Weerwind also mentioned that 50 years ago, the location of Almere was still underwater. The city came into existence by filling in the sea. The first settlers in the city arrived in 1976, and since then the population continues to grow. Now Almere is the eighth largest city in the Netherlands and also the greenest city in the country. Almere was born out of nothing, and the city strives to reduce its waste back to nothing. This means Almere aims to have zero-waste, generate self-sufficient and clean energy, and establish a healthier, more environmental-friendly, and more economic and sustainable lifestyle for citizens. 
Mayor Weerwind further provided a recent example: Almere is currently building an Upcycle Center where they can recycle and transform city waste into other products, giving garbage new economic value and creating jobs for the citizens. This is the main idea of circular economy. Currently there are over 2000 citizens involved in circular economy related volunteer services. The Mayor is happy to learn that Almere and Tainan both share the same objective: to create a sustainable and innovative city, and looks forward to future collaborations. As both cities face many challenges, including growing populations, energy shortage, and climate change, such collaborations can transform challenges into opportunities; and by jointly seeking innovative solutions, both Almere and Tainan can gradually actualize circular economy goals and improve the life quality of residents in both cities. 
Almere is the youngest city in the Netherlands and has long been dedicated to greening the city, promoting innovation, circular economy, and international collaborations. The city will host the Floriade in 2022. Since he came into office in 2015, Mayor Weerwind has placed great emphasis on promoting innovative solutions to realize circular economy objectives and sharing the results and experiences with the world. This time, the Mayor with his delegation team composed of many government officials and circular economy experts visited Tainan City government and also participated in the Taiwan-Netherlands Circular Economy Forum on Sep. 28. The delegation then visited Shalun Green Energy Science City and a number of historical sites built during the Dutch Occupation Period (Chihkan Tower and Anping Old Fort) on the 29.