Malacca Dutch Square

Malacca Dutch Square

The Malacca Dutch Square was a little piece of home to the Dutch in a land far away.

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In the heart of Malacca lies a square that has appeared in every tourist's vacation picture ever since Malacca opened its doors to the world. A little touch from the Dutch, the square brings an European feel to this Asian city. Known as Dutch or Red Square, due to the striking red that seems to cover every single inch of the buildings in the area, it was formerly the centre of the Dutch administration. When the British took over, it was painted salmon red for ease of maintenance. It was the state government who darkened the shade of red to the shade that has become so familiar to us now.

The Dutch Square is made up of a few buildings. One of them is the Stadthuys building. The largest structure of all, the name Stadthuys which means 'town hall', was built by the Dutch occupants as an office for the Dutch Governor and Deputy Governor in 1650. The Stadthuys is the oldest remaining Dutch historical building in this region and is a fine example of Dutch masonry and architectural skills. The Stadthuys currently houses the History and Ethnography Museum.

Located adjacent to the Stadthuys building is Christ Church, Malaysia's oldest functioning Protestant church. When the Dutch conquered Malacca from the Portuguese, they made St. Paul's Church their main church for the Dutch community. On their centennial celebration of the capture of Malacca a new church was built to replace the aging church. It was completed 12 years later and when the British took possession of Malacca, the church was renamed Christ Church. Like the European countries where graveyards were located nearby the church's holy grounds, at the foot of St Paul's Hill lies a Dutch graveyard. Despite its name, this cemetery is the final resting place for only five Dutch officers. The remaining burial grounds in this graveyard belongs to the British who buried their dead between 1818 and 1838.

Further behind the Stadthuys is the Malaysia Youth Museum & Art Gallery. It was built in 1784 as a Dutch Administrative Complex before it was converted into a school on 7 December 1826. During the 1920s it was renovated to include another floor and was previously a post office before it became a museum. The Red Clock Tower is an iconic building that has come to represent Malacca over time. It was erected over 120 years ago to by Tan Jiak Kim to fulfill his father's dying wish. The clock tower was painted in the same shade of red to suit its surroundings.

Standing in the middle of the Red Square is the majestic Queen Victoria's Fountain. This 109 year old fountain was built by the people of Malacca to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Her Majesty's reign. A mini windmill has been recently added opposite the fountain and the clock tower to enhance the feel of the Dutch Square. After all, what is a Dutch Square without a famous windmill?