Yogyakarta Fortress Museum

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Yogyakarta Fortress Museum
Museum Benteng Yogyakarta
Fort Vredeburg, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.JPG
Entrance to Fort Vredeburg
Established March 11, 1987
Location Yogyakarta
Coordinates 7°48′01″S 110°21′59″E / 7.800303°S 110.366316°E / -7.800303; 110.366316
Type History museum
Collection size Dioramas, historical objects, replicas

Yogyakarta Fortress Museum (Official Indonesian name, Museum Benteng Yogyakarta), also known as Vredeburg Fortress Museum is a museum in Yogyakarta. The museum was established in a former Dutch fortress. It is located in front of Gedung Agung, one of seven presidential palaces in Indonesia and the Sultan Palace called Kraton.[1]


The Fortress[edit]

Fort Vredeburg in early 20th century.

In 1760, after the foundation of the new Kraton Ngayogyakarta Hadiningrat, the Dutch colonial regime had barracks erected on a plot close to the new palace provided by Sultan Hamengkubuwono I.[2] Between 1765 and 1788 they extended the buildings and converted it into a fort. The original name Rustenburg became Vredeburg. The building served the Dutch colonial administration for various purposes.

In 1942, during the Japanese occupation of Indonesia, The fortress was took over by the Japanese army and made into their new headquarters and war prison. Since 1945 Fortress Vredeburg served the Indonesian Army as military command post, barracks and prison for suspected members of the communist party.[2]

This square-shaped fortress has a watchtower at each of its four corners.

The Museum[edit]

In 1947 the ceremonies in commemoration of 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, concluded in 1980 between Daoed Joesoef, then Minister of Education and Culture, and Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX, owner of the land and the fortification on it, endorsed the foundation's project. In 1984, however, Nugroho Notosusanto, former head of the army's historical service, at that time succeeding Daoed Joesoef, changed the original plans. He intended to create a Museum Perjuangan ("National Struggle Museum") with dioramas. This project was finally realized retaining only some elements of the original idea, in particular a stage and exhibition hall. The museum was opened on March 11, 1987.[2]

In 1982 renovations were carried out in the Fort.[3]

The buildings of the fort were damaged during the 2006 Bantul earthquake [4]


The museum comprises the complete area of the former fortress. The walls, gates, barracks, store rooms and houses has been restored to their original outward appearance. Collection of photographs, historical objects and replicas is housed in one of the former barracks. The exposition of dioramas represents the main attraction of the museum's exhibition. The original design included 93 of these showcases. When opened in 1987, 30 of them were finished. Another 18 showcases have been added until March 1996.[2]

The dioramas cover events during the period from 1830 (detention of Pangeran Diponegoro) to 1949 (return of the Indonesian central government under Sukarno to Jakarta). All incidents depicted in the showcases took place either in Yogyakarta or in the surrounding region. The dioramas present two kinds of scenes: unique incidents (33) like the founding of Muhammadiyah or Taman Siswa; and typical episodes of the war years (15) like guerrilla actions or incidents of labour unrest.[2]


  1. ^ "Benteng Museum marks RI fight for independence", Jakarta Post (Financial Times Ltd), 2000-08-29: JAPO12586293, ISSN 0215-3432 
  2. ^ a b c d e 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. ^ 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 
  4. ^ "Indonesian quake causes "extensive" damage to ancient heritage", BBC Monitoring International Reports (Financial Times Ltd), 2006-05-28, retrieved 19 February 2013 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 7°48′01″S 110°21′59″E / 7.8002682°S 110.3662544°E / -7.8002682; 110.3662544