The Colombo Dutch Museum

After successfully defeating the Portuguese troops, the Dutch gained control over the country’s major coastal cities and they reigned the nation from 1656 to 1796. Though their time in the country was brief they had a significant influence in the country’s culture and its inner workings for years to come. Some of their influence can be still found embedded in people’s behaviour, the country’s culture, and its architecture; the Colombo Dutch Museum focuses exactly on that! It showcases the significant aspects of their culture, their heritage and it covers the history of Dutch Colonial Rule in Sri Lanka.

The Museum is located in a two-storeyed building which was constructed during their time of rule on Prince Street, Pettah Colombo. The building was the former residence of the Dutch governor Thomas Van Rhee. After they resigned from the country, the building was purposed for different tasks. It was used as a teacher training college, an institution for the clergyman, and a post office before the archaeological department with the intervention of Netherlands Alumni Association of Lanka and the National Archives suggested the government to restore the building and establish it as a museum.

The restoration commenced in the year 1977 with the financial aid of the Netherlands government and was opened to the public in the year of 1982. The museum today is home to many exhibits which include ceramics, furniture, coins, utensils, clothing items, and weapons used by the Dutch. A visit to the museum will indeed be an insightful experience and will certainly add more colour to your memories of Sri Lanka.

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