MDDP: Melaka's children of the VOC

Melaka's children of the VOC 

JONKER STREET: Historic Melaka is not only the place where Malaysia's history begun but also the state that is a showcase of the country's living heritage.

This point was brought home recently when Melaka became the venue for the two-day International Dutch Descendant Gathering 2004 which saw some 150 descendants from around the world meeting up to trace their roots here last weekend.

Themed 'Reconnecting Through Our Roots', the gathering was aptly held at the former Atlas Ice Building along Jonker Street as it the oldest known surviving Dutch building in the region that dates back to 1673.

Known as 'Kinderen van de VOC' or the children of the VOC (the Dutch East India Company) the descendant managed to get a better understanding of their roots here in Melaka through talks given by local and foreign experts including an exhibition.

Dutch Ambassador to Malaysia His Excellency John von Muhlen and State Culture and Tourism Development Committee deputy chairman Datuk Chua Peng Song were among the dignitaries present at the gathering.

His Excellency praised the organizers of the gathering for their effort to create awareness as to the presence and influence of the Dutch in the East during the 17th Century and even delivered a personal congratulatory message from Hollandis Queen Beatrix herself.

Coinciding with the event was the 'Westerhout Family Gathering' that saw family members tracing their linage back to Sjouwke Westerhout who arrived in Melaka as Navigation Officer on VOC ship in the 1750s.

They had a special surprise when they discovered that their ancestral home in Melaka was the former state museum located along Jalan Kota that was recently restored under the Museums and Antiquities Department. The Melaka Museums Corporation, that was given charge of the building, permitted the Westerhout family members to view it and take their family photograph during a specialguided tour.

In his speech delivered on his behalf by Chua, Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam said that the state government is committed towards preserving it historical and cultural heritage.

He noted that apart from the 17th Century Dutch Stadhuys Complex, the authorities had spent several million in acquiring, restoring and preserving several other ancient Dutch buildings.

Also present were project Melaka Museums Corporation general-manager Dr. Badriyah Saleh, Museums and Antiquities (Southern Zone) Director Md. Nasir and Project Coordinator, Dennis De Witt.

- Dit artikel werd overgenomen van Melaka Minggu Ini.
- Meer over het Malaysian Dutch Descendants Project:

•  MDDP Geschiedenis, doelstelling
•  MDDP Bijeenkomst 2004, verslag
•  MDDP Bijeenkomst 2004, foto's
•  MDDP Artikel 26/07/2004 - Going Dutch (Engels)
•  MDDP Artikel 01/08/2004 - On the trail of Dutch Eurasians (Engels)

Externe sites:

•  Dutchmalaysia.net - MDDP OfficiŽle web site (Nederlands/Engels)
•  Dutchmalaysia.net - Het MDDP op Facebook (Nederlands/Engels)
•  De vereniging Nederland-MaleisiŽ (Nederlands/Engels)
•  Melaka Minggu Ini (Maleis/Engels)