Dutch Malacca

Kota Melaka
Dutch City and Fort of Malacca

De Stad en Kasteel Malacca
Dutch colony

Flag Coat of arms
Malacca, shown within modern Malaysia
Capital Malacca Town
Language(s) Dutch, Malay
Political structure Colony
 - 1641–1642 Jan van Twist
 - 1824–1825 Hendrik S. van Son
British Residents
 - 1795 Archibald Brown
 - 1803–1818 William Farquhar
Historical era Imperialism
 - Established 14 January 1641
 - British occupation 1795–1818
 - Relinquished to the British according to the Anglo-Dutch Treaty of 1824 1 March 1825
Dutch Malacca, ca. 1724–26

Dutch Malacca (1641–1825) was the longest period of Malacca under foreign control. The Dutch ruled for almost 183 years with intermittent British occupation during the Napoleonic Wars ( 1795–1818 ). This era saw relative peace with little serious interruption from the Malay kingdoms due to the understanding earlier on forged between the Dutch and Sultanate of Johor in 1606. This time also marked the decline of the importance of Malacca. The Dutch preferred Batavia (present day Jakarta) as their economic and administrative center in the region and their hold in Malacca was to prevent the loss of the city to other European powers and subsequently the competition that would naturally come with it. Thus in the 17th century, with Malacca ceased to be an important port, the Johor Sultanate became the dominant local power in the region, due to the opening of its ports and the alliance with the Dutch.


Dutch conquest of Portuguese Malacca

The Dutch Square, with Christ Church (built in 1753) (left) and the Stadthuys (right).

In the early 17th century, the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie, VOC) began the campaign to destroy Portuguese power in the East. At that time, the Portuguese had transformed Malacca into an impregnable fortress (the Fortaleza de Malaca, controlling access to the sea lanes of the Straits of Malacca and the spice trade there. The Dutch started by launching small incursions and skirmishes against the Portuguese. The first serious attempt was the siege of Malacca in 1606 by the third VOC fleet from Holland with eleven ships, led by Admiral Cornelis Matelief de Jonge that lead to the naval battle of Cape Rachado. Although the Dutch were routed, the Portuguese fleet of Don Martin d'Alphonso de Castro, the Viceroy of Goa; suffered heavier casualties and the battle rallied the forces of the Sultanate of Johor in an alliance with the Dutch and later on with the Acehnese.

The Dutch with their local allies assaulted and wrested Malacca from the Portuguese in January 1641. This combined Dutch-Johor-Aceh efforts effectively destroyed the last bastion of Portuguese power, removing their influence in the Malay archipelago. As per the agreement with Johor in 1606, the Dutch took control of Malacca and agreed not to seek territories or wage war with the Malay kingdoms.

Administration of Malacca

Malacca was controlled as a colony of the VOC. All the chief administrators of Malacca were Dutch governors except for the brief period that the city was under British Residents during the Wars of Napoleon. The governors and residents list is as follows:

Governors of Malacca

Dutch graves in the ruined St Paul's Church, Melaka
Ruins of a Dutch fort.
Flag of the Dutch East India Company.svg
Governors of Dutch Malacca (1641–1795)
Governors From Until
Johan van Twist 1641 1642
Jeremias van Vliet 1642 1645
Arnout de Vlamingh van Oudtshoorn 1645 1646
Jan Thyszoon Payart 1646 1662
Jan Anthonisz van Riebeeck 1662 1665
Balthasar Bort 1665 1679
Jacob Joriszoon Pits 1679 1680
Cornelis van Quaelberg 1680 1684
Nikolaas Schaghen 1684 1686
Dirk Komans (1st time) 1686 1686
Thomas Slicher 1686 1691
Dirk Komans (2nd time) 1691 1692
Gelmer Vosberg 1692 1697
Goevert van Hoorn 1697 1700
Bernhard Phoonsen 1700 1704
Johan Grotenhuys (acting) 1704 1704
Karel Bolner 1704 1707
Pieter Rooselaar 1707 1709
Willem Six 1709 1711
Willem Moerman 1711 1717
Herman van Suchtelen 1717 1726
Johan Frederik Gobius 1726 1730
Pieter Rochus Pasques de Chavonnes 1730 1735
Roger de Lavez 1735 1741
Willem Bernard Albinus 1741 1748
Pieter van Heemskerk 1748 1753
Willem Dekker 1753 1758
David Boelen 1758 1764
Thomas Schippers 1764 1771
Jan Crans 1771 1775
Pieter Gerardus de Bruijn 1775 1788
Abraham Couperus 1788 1795

British occupation

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg
British Residents of Malacca (1795–1818)
Residents From Until
Archibald Brown 1795 1795
Thomas Parr 1795 1796
Richard Tolson 1796 1797
David Campbell 1797 1798
Aldwell Taylor 1798 1803
Willem Jacob Cranssen -Dutch Governor 1802
William Farquhar 1803 1818

Restoration to the Dutch

Flag of the Netherlands.svg
Governors of Dutch Malacca (1818–1825)
Governors From Until
Jan Samuel Timmermann Thijssen 1818 1822
A. Koek (acting) 1822 1824
Hendrik Stephanus van Son 1824 1825

Stad en Kasteel Malacca

The town and fortress of Malacca (1780)

The Dutch improved and expanded the Portuguese fortress and built walls to protect the harbor and expanded city. During their rule the famous city hall or Stadthuys was also constructed, which still stands today.


  • De Witt, Dennis (2007). History of the Dutch in Malaysia. Malaysia: Nutmeg Publishing. ISBN 9789834351908. 

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