Life of Melakans in the
Dutch Period

Tawarikh Talks Series

21 DEC 19

held at

Melaka in Fact
169 Jalan Tengkera

Dennis de Witt



Dennis De Witt is a 5th generation Dutch Eurasian from Malacca. His interest is in  the history of Malacca and Dutch influences in Malaysia.

He is an author of several books on the topic of history, particularly the Dutch era in Malaysia.  His works includes “Reconnecting Through Our Roots“, “History of the Dutch in Malaysia“, “Melaka from the Top“, “Historical Tombstones and Graves at St Paul’s Hill Malacca“, and “Legends of the Secret Tunnel of Malacca“.

In 2009, he received the Dutch incentive prize for Genealogy at The Hague and was the first non-Dutch citizen ever to receive this award..

The Talk

It starts in Johor in 1602 to 1640 which is the Initial Contact before they were eyeing Melaka. And of course as we all know, between 1641, the Dutch took over Melaka from the Portuguese. That continued to 1700 and it was a special time because it was about the rebuilding of Melaka after everything was destroyed by the Portuguese. The second Dutch period became a little bit more interesting because it was focused more on trade between 1700 to 1795. There were some wars around. Finally there was a transitional period where Melaka one part was held by the British and it changed hands again to the Dutch and finally it became British.

For the purpose of today’s lecture, I’m only going to focus on 1700 onwards. So I put a picture of this church. If you are from Melaka, you would definitely know this church. It is the St. Peter’s Church in Bunga Raya and it’s said to be built in 1710. Why was it built? At that time we know there was persecution by the Dutch against the Catholics in Melaka. But in 1700 it basically stopped because of the War of the Spanish Succession where the Dutch found themselves on the same side as the Catholics, the Vatican, as well as Portugal. So if that is the case, then the story of how a person named Franz Amboer had managed to trick the Dutch administration in Melaka to give that land to build a church in Melaka may not actually be so true. But again, evidence for it is a bit difficult to find.“… 

For 2019’s final Tawarikh Talk , Dennis de Witt, author of several books and fifth generation Dutch Eurasian, entertained and enlightened a full house on the subject of Melakans and Melaka during the Dutch period. This led to a spirited discussion and a question and answer session.

Melaka in Fact is hugely grateful to Dennis for generously sharing his wealth of knowledge and making the talk a great success. Events such as this depend on the help and goodwill of people around us.

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