Fort Rotterdam and the I La Galigo Museum within: History of South Sulawesi

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Overview

Standing majestically at the western coast of Makassar, Fort Rotterdam is recognized as the city’s most iconic landmark. With historical traces dating back to the Kingom of Gowa from the 16thth century to colonization by the Dutch, this Fort has silently witnessed many episodes in Makassar’s history, playing a most essential role in its development.


Its magnificence and authenticity has always captivated those who set eyes on it. A journalist from New York Times, Barbara Crossette even described it as “the best preserved Dutch Fort in Asia”.


Originally called Benteng or Fort Jumpandang or Ujung Pandang, the huge complex was first built in 1545 in the era of Imanrigau Daeng Bonto Karaeng Lakiung or Karaeng Tunipalangga Ulaweng, the tenth King of Gowa. Initially, the fort was made from a mixture of Stone and burnt clay, and took the shape of a typical square Portuguese architectural style.


During the reign of Sultan Alauddin, the 14th king of Gowa, the fort’s construction material was replaced with black Karst, rocks from the mountain sides of the district of Maros. The fort was also expanded and took on a new shape resembling a sea turtle, thus the fort gained a new name, namely : Benteng Pannyua (Penyu) or Fort Sea turtle. The shape is not only unique, but also contains deep meaning.  For just as a sea turtle lives both on land and at sea, the glory of the Gowa Kingdom also stretched on land as well as over the seas.


Indeed, the Bugis were then a recognized and respected power all across the Indonesian seas even to the Straits of Malacca


Between 1655 to 1669, Dutch forces attacked the Gowa Sultanate, which at the time was under the rule of Sultan Hasanuddin. The city’s strategic location made it an ideal place to fully control the spice trade passage, and to become the starting point that would eventually open up the route to the seas of Banda and Maluku, the original Spice Islands.  


Led by Dutch Governor General Admiral Cornelis Janszoon Speelman, Dutch forces launched a massive attack on Makassar for a full year. At this time, major parts of the Fort were devastated as the Dutch began to occupy the land. As a result of the defeat, the Sultan of Gowa was forced to sign the Bongaya treaty that gave the Dutch authorities full control over Makassar’s trade.


Governor General Speelman subsequently rebuilt parts of the fort that were destroyed.  Not only applying Dutch distinct style to the structure, but Speelman added another bastion at its west side. The fort was later renamed after Speelman’s hometown: Rotterdam. The fort grew to be the center for stockpiling of spices and an important Entrepot.  Eventually this led to Makassar becoming the center of the Dutch Colonial government in Eastern Indonesia.


In 1938 Dutch authorities established the first ever Museum in South Sulawesi, namely the Celebes Museum, located within the complex of Fort Rotterdam itself. Initially the museum occupied building no. 2 only, which was once the residence of Admiral Speelman. Its collection came from various excavations that included ceramics, currencies, gold and jewelries, and others.


By the time of the Japanese occupied Makassar during World War II, the Celebes Museum already occupied three buildings of the complex. To its collection were added wooden tools, several types of ships, farming equipment, house ware, musical instruments, weaponry, and many others.


After the War, the museum was officially re-established in 1970, bearing the name by which it is known today, namely: Museum La Galigo. La Galigo was the Pajung Lolo or Prince of the Luwu Kingdom in the 14th century who was also the son of Sawerigading Opunna Ware, a legendary Bugis hero. The name also refers to the famous I La Galigo, the world’s longest epic poem. Exhibiting various collections from the early Celebes Museum as well as other additions including the collection of the kingdom of Sawito, Wajo, Mandar, Luwu, Bone and others, the present Museum  occupies building no.2 and no.10 within the Fort Rotterdam complex.


For Information contact:


FORT ROTTERDAM and MUSEUM LA GALIGO
Jl. Ujung Pandang no.2 Makassar


Phone: 0411-321305

Activities

To Stay, To Do

There are various accommodation options spread out in Makassar, for a complete list of hotels in Makasar, please refer to our Find a Hotel. Below are a number of hotels you can find near Fort Rotterdam and Losari Beach:

 Hotel Imperial Aryaduta Makassar Jl. Somba Opu No 297 Makassar 90111 South Sulawesi Phone. +62 411 870555 Fax. +62 411 870222 web: aryaduta.com

Hotel pantai Gapura Makassar Jl. Pasar Ikan No 10 Makassar - South Sulawesi Phone: +62 411 3680222 Fax: +62 411 3616303 web: pantaigapura.com

Makassar Golden Hotel (Hotel Makassar Golden) J1. Pasar Ikan 50-52 Makassar 90111 South Sulawesi Phone: +62 411 3633000 Fax: +62 411 3620951 web: makassargolden.com

d'Bugis Ocean Hotel Makassar Jl Penghibur No 51 Pantai Losari Makassar - South Sulawesi Telephone: +62 411 3636433

Losari Beach Hotel Makassar Jl. Penghibur No 10 Makassar 90111 Indonesia Telephone: +62 411 3626062 Faximile: +62 411 3613978 web: losarihotels.co.id

Losari Beach Inn Makassar Jl. Penghibur No 3 Makasar 90111 South Sulawesi Indonesia Telephone: +62 411 3622115 / +62 411 3623609 Fax: +62 411 3613978 web: losarihotels.co.id

Photo Gallery

Tips

  • The Museum opens daily from Sunday to Monday from 08.00 to 15.00 local time.
  • Admission fee is IDR 3.000.
  • Please consult the officer in charge if you wish to take pictures of some of the museum collection, since some are delicate and rare.
  • Please do not touch the collection of the museum for some of them are delicate and fragile.

-          The Museum opens daily from Sunday to Monday from 08.00 to 15.00 local time.

-          Admission fee is IDR 3.000.

-          Please consult the officer in charge if you wish to take pictures of some of the museum collection, since some are delicate and rare.

-          Please do not touch the collection of the museum for some of them are delicate and fragile.

Getting There and Around

Get There

Located right in the heart of Makassar, it is not difficult to get to Fort Rotterdam. You can take the local public transportation or pete-pete, or taxi to get to the fort. If you are happen to be in Losari Beach, you can simply stroll down the boulevard and enjoy the scenery before you reach Fort Rotterdam.