The Stadhuys Malacca
Malacca has been conquered and ruled by the Portuguese, followed by the Dutch, the British, and the Japanese forces. The first to conquer Malacca were the Portuguese. They built the A’Famosa Fort or Fortaleza de la Malacca, churches, etc. Then the Dutch invaded and managed to force them out of Malacca.
The Dutch ruled Malacca for 183 years (intermittent British occupation from 1795-1818 – Napoleonic Wars) from 1641-1824. During their rule, the Dutch never again attacked territories in the Malay Peninsula due to an agreement with the Johor Sultanate. They fought wars elsewhere but here in Malacca they expanded the fortress (A’Famosa) and the city of which it stood to protect.
The yard of the Stadhuys.
During this time they built a few buildings in Malacca such as Christ Church, the Dutch administrative buildings by the Malacca River, etc. and amongst them perhaps the most famous of are what we see today as the “red buildings” of Malacca city; called the Stadhuys. They are another historical attraction here in Malacca that many visitors come to see.
The Stadhuys is or rather was the Dutch word for City Hall. It has since been updated to the word “Stadhuis” in the Netherlands. The Stadhuys were built as the offices and residence of the Dutch Governor and his deputy. The Stadhuys are red buildings that were originally white (all Dutch build building were white), and only in later years were they painted red by the British.
An old fire engine by the side of the Stadhuys.
The building was constructed following the designs of the former Stadhuis of Hoorn in the Netherlands that existed from 1420 to 1796 before it was demolished in 1797 due to structural issues. This makes the Stadhuys in Malacca special. Anyone who is interested in seeing what the old Stadhuis of Hoorn in the Netherlands looked like can do so in Malacca.
The Stadhuys on the right and Christ Church Melaka on the left. They are red in colour.
What’s There To See Here?
Visiting the Stadhuys one sees how big the building and the area really is with its courtyards, kitchen (bakery), prison, etc. The Governors Museum showcases how the Governor used to live with a mocked up section portraying the life of the Governor at home during the time the Dutch ruled Malacca.
The Stadhuys also houses five museums and a gallery. They are:
History And Ethnography Museum
Museum Of Literature
Democratic Government Museum
Admiral Cheng Ho Gallery
Seom of the metal statues of soldiers from back in the day. Left: a Portuguese soldier. Centre: a Malaccan warrior. Right: A Dutch soldier.
A diorama depicting live in the Stadhuys during the colonial era.
The Stadhuys certainly is worth visiting and should be on every visitor’s list. There is a small fee to pay should one decides to visit the Stadhuys. The fee includes all 5 museums and the gallery.
Address: Jalan Kota, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka
Opens daily from 9am to 5.30pm
Contact: +606 333 33333 (PERZIM or Malacca Museum Corporation)
Note: To locate the entrance to the Stadhuys, head to the History And Ethnography Museum.
Entrance Fees at time of writing
(do call before your visit as prices may change)
Adults: RM5.00 (Malaysian Citizens With MyKad) / RM10.00 (Without MyKad)
Children (age 7 to 12): RM2.00 (Malaysian Citizens With MyKad) / RM4.00 (Without MyKad)
Children below age 7: Free entrance
Google Maps to the Stadhuys in Malacca.
Malacca used to be a very important maritime hub and thus maritime museums are a must visit. The Submarine Museum in Malacca gives one the opportunity to see what the inside of an old submarine looks and feels like.
The Historical and Ethnography Museum displays a brief history of Malacca showcasing Malacca under different rules.
A cruise on the Melaka River is a relaxing experience. Melaka River snakes through a part of Malacca’s historical city making it a relaxing way to enjoy the sights.
Directed by Wang Chaoge, the more well known for the opening ceremony of the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing (co-director); Encore Melaka tells a story about Malacca and its history as well as a story of its people.