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Fort Vredeburg Museum (Official Indonesian name, Museum Benteng Vredeburg Yogyakarta), was a former colonial fortress located in the city of Yogyakarta. The military complex has been converted into an Independence Struggle Museum which was opened in 1992. It is located in front of Gedung Agung and Kraton Yogyakarta (Sultan's Palace).[1]

Fort Vredeburg Museum
Museum Benteng Vredeburg Yogyakarta
Fort Vredeburg, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.JPG
Entrance to Fort Vredeburg
Fort Vredeburg Museum is located in Yogyakarta
Fort Vredeburg Museum
Location in Yogyakarta
EstablishedMarch 11, 1987
LocationJalan Ahmad Yani No. 6, Yogyakarta
Coordinates7°48′01″S 110°21′59″E / 7.800375°S 110.366378°E / -7.800375; 110.366378
TypeHistory museum
Collection sizeDioramas, historical objects, replicas



The FortressEdit

Fort Vredeburg in the early 20th century.

In 1760, after the foundation of the new Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, the Dutch governor of North Java coast Nicolaas Harting requested a fort to be built in Yogyakarta. The barracks was built on a plot provided by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I, the first fort was a simple wooden fort with four bastion.[2] Later in 1767 the fortress was extended and converted into a more permanent structure under supervision of a Dutch architect Frans Haak. After its completion in 1787 the fort was named Fort Rustenburg ("Resting fort" in Dutch).[3]

On 1867 the old fort was destroyed by an earthquake. The fort was rebuilt and renamed Fort Vredeburg, which in Dutch language means "Peace fort" due to peaceful co-existence of the fort and the Kraton of the Sultan.[3]

Later in 1942, during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, The fortress was taken over by the Japanese army and made into the army's headquarters and war prison. After the Japanese left in 1945, Fort Vredeburg served the Indonesian Army as military command post, barracks and prison for suspected members of the communist party.[2]

The MuseumEdit

In 1947 the ceremonies on honoring Budi Utomo's 40th founding anniversary were held in the fort. At the occasion, Ki Hadjar Dewantara expressed the idea of converting the fortress into a cultural institution. To realize this, a newly set up foundation took charge the gradual restoration of the former fort.

An agreement was concluded to have a cultural institution in the fort, between Daoed Joesoef, the Minister of Education and Culture and Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX in 1980. As a result, major renovation of the building took place in 1982.[4] In 1984 Nugroho Notosusanto, the new Minister, changed the original plans and instead, created a museum intended to showcase Indonesia's struggle for independence. The museum was officially opened on 23 November 1992.[3]

Yogyakarta was devastated by an event that damaged a large number of buildings and cultural properties in the region, including the fort. It was repaired later afterwards.[5]


The museum includes collections of old photographs, historical objects and replicas. A diorama portraying Indonesia's journey for independence is also displayed in the museum. The original design included 93 of these diorama showcases, however when the museum opened in 1992, only 30 of them were finished. Another 18 showcases have been added as of March 1996.[2]

All events depicted in the diorama's showcases took place in Yogyakarta and its surrounding region. The dioramas cover various events from the capture of Pangeran Diponegoro in 1830 to Sukarno's return to Jakarta in 1949. The dioramas are divided into 2 sections: one depicts remarkable events (33), such as the founding of Muhammadiyah or Taman Siswa; and another focusing on war and struggle (15) such as guerrilla warfare during the independence war.[2]


  1. ^ "Benteng Museum marks RI fight for independence", Jakarta Post, Financial Times Ltd: JAPO12586293, 2000-08-29, ISSN 0215-3432
  2. ^ a b c d Sri Kuhnt-Saptodewo (1997). Nationalism and cultural revival in Southeast Asia: perspectives from the centre and the region. Otto Harrassowitz Verlag. pp. 99–118. ISBN 9783447039581. Retrieved May 26, 2013.
  3. ^ a b c Benteng Vredeburg,
  4. ^ Indonesia. Direktorat Perlindungan dan Pembinaan Peninggalan Sejarah dan Purbakala (1989), Laporan pemugaran bengunan pintu gerbang belakang dan lingkungan sekitarnya Benteng Vredeburg tahun anggaran 1981/1982, Proyek Pemugaran dan Pemeliharaan Peninggalan Sejarah dan Purbakala D.I.Y, retrieved 19 February 2013
  5. ^ "Indonesian quake causes "extensive" damage to ancient heritage", BBC Monitoring International Reports, Financial Times Ltd, 2006-05-28, retrieved 19 February 2013

External linksEdit