Fort Vredeburg, A Dutch Colonial Heritage in Yogyakarta

Fort Vrederburg Yogyakarta

A Brief History of Fort Vredeburg

Fort Vredeburg was originally built in 1760 during the reign of Sri Sultan Hamengku Buwono I at the request of the Dutch Colonial, in this case the Governor of the Director of the North Java Coast led by Nicolaas Harting.

Nicolaas Harting argued that the construction of this fort was to safeguard the security of the palace and its surroundings, but behind that the intention of the real Nicolaas Harting was to facilitate and control all developments that took place within the palace.

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When built the condition of Fort Vredeburg is still very simple, the walls are made of soil reinforced with supporting poles of coconut and palm trees, and the building inside consists of bamboo and wood with only thatched roofs. Fort Vredeburg was built in a square shape, in which the four corners were made a place called seleka or bastion. By the Sultan the four corners were named Jaya Wisesa (northwest corner), Jaya Purusa (northeast corner), Jaya Prakosaningprang (southwest corner), and Jaya Prayitna (southeast corner).

Fort Vrederburg Yogyakarta
Fort Vredeburg Yogyakarta, Photo via hipwee

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Then, at a later time, the Governor of the Netherlands was led by W.H. van Ossenberg suggested that the fort be built more permanently in order to ensure security. Under the supervision of a building scientist from the Netherlands named  Frans Haak, the construction of Fort Vredeburg  began in 1767 and was completed in 1787, this was because the Sultan Hamegku Buwono I was busy with the construction of the palace. After the construction of the fort was completed then it was given the name ‘Rustenberg’ which means the fortress of rest.

In 1867 a devastating earthquake rocked Yogyakarta resulting in damage to a part of the fortress building. After repairs were held, the name of the fort was changed to ‘Fort Vredeburg’ (fortress of peace). This is a manifestation of relations between the Netherlands and the palace that do not attack each other.

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