This 16th-century landmark in Melaka (Malacca)—believed to be the oldest Dutch building in Asia—was modeled after the Hoorn city hall in the Netherlands. It once served as the Melaka town hall and residence of the Dutch governor, and today houses several small museums, including the Museum of History and Ethnography.
The Stadthuys, also known as Red Square or Dutch Square, is one of Melaka’s most popular meeting points and photo op spots. Just about every sightseeing tour, including day trips from Kuala Lumpur, of the UNESCO World Heritage–listed city stops at the Dutch colonial building. The collection housed within the museums includes costumes and relics from Melaka’s centuries-long history, including musical instruments, wedding costumes, kitchenware, weapons, stamps, and currency that paint a picture of what life was like for the trade port’s various communities throughout its history.
Things to Know Before You Go
- The Stadthuys is a must-see for history buffs and first-time visitors to Melaka.
- Admission to the building includes entry to all of the museums within.
- Day tours from Kuala Lumpur that include the Stadthuys often last upwards of eight hours.
- Don’t forget to bring sun protection; the square isn’t well shaded.
- The Stadthuys is not accessible to wheelchair users, as there are many level changes but no ramps or curb cuts.
How to Get There
Stadthuys, standing just beside Christ Church and opposite Jonker Street, is centrally located and well known in Melaka, so just about anyone can point you in the right direction. If you’re not visiting as part of a guided tour, the easiest way to get there is by taxi.
When to Get There
The Stadthuys is open daily, with extended hours Friday to Sunday. For the best photos without big crowds in the way, plan to visit early in the morning.
Dutch Architecture in Melaka
The Dutch ruled Melaka from 1641 to 1825—longer than any other foreign power. You can see the influence in the architecture. Aside from the Stadthuys, another fine example is the Christ Church, built in 1753 in a typical Dutch style.