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Initiatives and intervention in promoting pedestrianization in the historic city of Melaka, Malaysia - page 7 / 21

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The Dutch failed to conquer Melaka in 1606 but in 1641, after more than five months of continuous siege, they succeeded. After the siege and destruction of Melaka, the Dutch repaired the damaged walls and bastions. All the damaged churches were demolished except St. Paul’s church on top of the hill, which was repaired and used by the Dutch for their own services. The house of the Portuguese Governor was also badly damaged and reconstructed as the new governor’s house, which is known as the Stadthuys. It is not known exactly when the Dutch started to construct this building. According to a map (Figure 2), Stadthuys must have been constructed between 1641 and 1656 (Vis, 1982). Stadthuys could be the oldest remaining Dutch Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie building in the Far East. Although Batavia (Jakarta) was founded 22 years before the conquest of Melaka, no buildings from that period remain in existence today.

Figure 2 The fortress of Malaca with all the important buildings and warehouse. Source: National Museum.

Although there is little historical documentation of the Stadthuys and the fortress during the Dutch occupation, however, there is a informative drawing of the town and fortress by Johann Heydt (Figure 3). It only shows a vague plan of the fortress but no detailed descriptions of the physical urban form are indicated. The plan indicates a clear delineation of street networks and land parcellations. The Dutch could have adopted the existing street patterns laid down by the

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