- 2007/12/19 Malaysia's Malacca highlights Dutch connection

The Malaysian state of Malacca has announced its latest tourism product, repackaging its Dutch historical link into a 2-kilometer 'Dutch Heritage Trail'. The trail follows the Holland Days in Malacca event organized by the state tourism, culture and heritage department along with the Dutch embassy and other departments in September. "We hope more local tour companies will organize guided tours to boost the trail" said Rahman Karim, state tourism, culture and heritage head, at the launching ceremony.

Covering buildings, shipwrecks, gravestones, excavations and artifacts, tourists taking the 2-km trail will be taken on a tour of the Dutch influence during Malacca's "golden era" as a shipping port of call for ships plying between the West and the East route.

Starting from the A'Famosa, the state's iconic building, the walk goes past the Malacca Stamp Museum, Dutch watchtower, famous red Stadthuys, Christ Church, ending at the Dutch graveyard and ruins of St. Paul's church.

To commemorate its first 100 years in the Malay Peninsula, the Dutch built the Christ church in 1753. The significance of its presence in the state is best reflected in the present Stamp Museum, which was occupied for 300 years until 1930.

The A'Famosa Fort, also known as the Porta de Santaigo, built by the Portuguese after they conquered Malacca in 1511 is the only remnant of the old fort left. It was used by the Dutch as their main fortress after they subsequently conquered Malacca in 1641.

Tourists taking the trail can witness the state's own ongoing trail into its past by witnessing excavations of fortifications still being done in front of Bastion House, and the Middelburg excavations by the Malacca riverbank.

Impressed by the state's latest effort to preserve the Dutch influence in the state, Dutch ambassador to Malaysia, Lody Embrechts, said at the launching ceremony, "It's a reminder of the Dutch presence in Malacca's history."

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