November 8, 2018

Japan: Dutch trading post Dejima revived and reconnected

The Main Gate Bridge on Dejima will be reopened on 24 November in Nagasaki, a great way to close the Holland-Kyushu year. Princess Laurentien will be present.

Artist impression of the restored historical main gate bridge to Dutch trading post Dejima in Nagasaki, Japan.

Nagasaki City is holding a ceremony to commemorate the completion of the Main Gate Bridge on the former Dutch trading post of Dejima on 24 November 2017. This ceremony is a milestone in Dejima’s reconstruction, which started back in 1951, as it restores the original connection between the island and the mainland of Nagasaki for the first time in 130 years.

The ceremony will be the climax and closing event of Holland-Kyushu 2016-2017, a regional focus programme on the south-western part of Japan developed by DutchCulture, the Dutch embassy and local stakeholders to strengthen existing ties and initiate new exchanges based on the abundant Dutch-Japanese history in this region. Read more on the Holland-Kyushu programme and its projects here.

Dutch trading post
Dejima was an artificial island that housed the Dutch trading post from 1641 and was the only window to the Western world during Japan’s era of national isolation. The Dutch traded here for over two centuries, until the country was forcefully opened up by the United States in 1853.

Mind the gap
Dejima had one bridge, which connected the island and Nagasaki and – on a grander scale – the world and Japan. After the trading post closed in 1859, Dejima became a part of the city through land reclamation. The bridge was removed when the canal in front of Dejima was widened at the end of the 19th century. These days, tourists can only enter the former island via the sea gate.

Satellite events of celebration
The completion of the bridge has major significance, as it is regarded as a symbol of the hope that Nagasaki will regain its splendour of the days when it was a hub of international trade and Western learning. On behalf of the Dutch government, Princess Laurentien of the Royal House will be present during the ceremony. The inauguration of the bridge will be accompanied by many satellite events, including exhibitions and workshops by Dutch artists and designers such as Marcel Wanders, Studio Ina&Matt, Aliki van der Kruijs and the studio The Future. On the eve of the inauguration, the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra will perform in Nagasaki.