Dutch Square Malacca is the most picturesque along Jalan Kota. It's also a colourfull trishaw pickup point, it is distinguished by a group of bright, terracotta-red colonial Dutch buildings, built between 1660 and 1700, with louvered windows and chunky doors with wrought iron hinges.
A central fountain dominates the area: it is an ornate Victorian marble addition, erected in 1904 to commemorate Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee. One of the oldest surviving parts of Malacca, Dutch Square’s most prominent building is the Stadthuys. Presiding over the entire south side of Dutch Square it was completed in 1660 and is said to be the oldest-existing Dutch building in the East.
Stadthuys in Dutch Square
The simple, sturdy Stadthuys in Dutch Square originally served as the official residence of the Dutch governors and was used as a town hall throughout the British administration; it now houses a collection of museums.
A few of the galleries in the renovated building merit a visit – such as the Islamic Museum, Architecture Museum and the Muzium Rakyat (Peoples Museum), which covers everything from gasing uri (top-spinning) to Malay and Chinese ceramics and weaponry. Also interesting is the History & Ethnography Museum: it has an endless collection of maps, prints and photos giving a blow-by-blow account of Malaccan history and development. Also check out the upstairs reconstruction of a 17th-century Dutch dining room.
The inside of the Stadthuys is beautiful with white, monumental staircases and high windows: it looks like a typical 17th-century Dutch municipal building and is very attractive and well maintained. The view from the back windows is of whitewashed homes lining the courtyard – a picturesque sight indeed.
Turning to the right as you leave the Stadthuys is Christ Church. Also facing the fountain, it was built in 1753 to commemorate the centenary of Dutch occupation in Malacca and to replace an earlier Portuguese church, which was by then a ruin.
Check out the elegant collection of sacramental silverware which bears the Dutch coat-of-arms and also the intricate painting of the Last Supper on the glazed tiles of the altar.
Christ Church Design
Malaysia’s oldest Protestant church, Christ Church’s red bricks were shipped all the way from Zeeland in Holland. The cool, whitewashed interior has decorative fanlights high up on the walls, the floor is studded with Dutch tombstones while the walls have plaques recording WWII and epidemic deaths.
The church is of simple Dutch design, with neither aisles nor chancel: its most significant features are the original, elaborate, 200-year old hand-carved pews plus its heavy timber ceiling beams, each carved from a single tree trunk, which span more than 15m long. The porch and vestry were added in the 19th-century.
What else in Dutch Square?
Sandwiched between Christ Church and Laksamana Road is the Malaysia Youth Museum & Art Gallery. Built in 1784, it was originally intended as the Dutch Administrative Complex but was turned into the Malacca Free School in 1826. In the 1920s it was used as a post office and today it is a museum.
Also within Dutch Square is the Tang Beng Swee Clocktower. Even though it looks distinctly Dutch, it was actually built by a wealthy Straits Chinese family in 1886 in honour of Tan Beng Swee, a rich Chinese merchant.
Away From Dutch Square
A short walk down the lane to the left of Christ Church in Dutch Square leads to the overgrown remains of the Dutch Graveyard. It was originally used as a Dutch graveyard in the late 17th-century when the VOC was still in control, but nowadays British graves easily outnumber those of their predecessors. There is a tall column in the centre of the graveyard which is a memorial to soldiers that were killed in the 1831 Naning War.
Dutch Square Malacca
- Location: Malacca Town Centre