eastjava.com

Speelwijk Fort and Cemeteries

This fortress is sited in the north west of Surosowan, Pamarican village. Fort Speelwijk was built in 1682 by VOC and expanded in 1685 and 1731 to control the activities of the Banten kingdom and protect the Dutch interests at Banten. Situated not so far from Chinese temple Avalokiteshvara, this fortress directly facing to the sea. From this point, the Dutch troopers was watching and guarding the fort from pirates and local heroes. Inside the fortress, there's an Old Dutch cemetery. One of the buried bodies is a man who was born in Bergen-op-Zoom in 17th century. The Ruin of fortress implies that it was a great fortress in Banten, height about 5 meters and length of each side of 80 meters; also the canal for defense surrounded it. It has four bastions that still stand sturdily.

In 1659 a treaty between Banten and the Dutch, by then a trading company known for short as VOC, gave a tract of land free to the Cloggiest and it was here they built their stone defenses. At that time the sea was much closer than today, now fishing boats are just visible bobbing lazily on the tide from the battlements. In 1682 after a brief conflict the Dutch kicked the English traders out of 'their' turf and licking their wounds, they settled on the godforsaken Bengkulu on the west coast of Sumatra where they proceeded to drink vast quantities of alcohol and really piss off their head office in London.

Just outside the fort to the east are some tombs of those who never made it home. Like can be seen in Jakarta, Bogor, Penang and Melaka the silent tombs tell the story of western endeavors in the east and it is to the credit of the host countries that these burial places have often been spared the bulldozer. The ruin of Speelwijk fort is also stayed at the northwest of the tomb of the third king of Banten kingdom, Maulana Yusuf, who ruled in the 1570s. Since 1985, local archaeological finds have been displayed in the Banten Site Museum on Mesjid Banten Lama Street.