Fort van der Capellen

Source : Fort Van Der

Fort van der Capellen is a small 19th-century Dutch fort in BatusangkarWest SumatraIndonesia. The town of Batusangkar grew considerably around the Fort van der Capellen. The fort was named after the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies Godert van der Capellen.

The fort is one of the forts established by the Dutch during the period of war between the so-called Padris and the so-called Adats. The Padris were basically Minangkabau Muslim clerics who studied in Saudi Arabia, inspired by Wahabism, and decided to impose this sharia on the indigenous people of Minangkabau. The adats on the other hand consisted of Minangkabau nobility and chiefs who were loyal to the highly syncretic interpretation of Islam which had intermingled with the traditional adat or customary law; such as the practice of maternalism, which is against the principle of Wahabism. The adats asked for help from the Dutch who intervened in 1821 and helped the nobility defeat the Padris.

Source : Fort Van Der Capellen (from beside)

It began with Dutch Colonel Raff entering the territory of Tanah Datar. In the city of Batusangkar, the Dutch decided to establish a fort on the highest ground around 500 meters from the city center. The construction of the fort was finished in 1824. The fort was christened by Van der Capellen after the Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies at that time Baron van der Capellen. It is a small fort surrounded by a 75-centimeter-thick (30 in) and 4-meter-high (13 ft) wall.

During the period of Japanese occupation, the fort was under the control of the Indonesian military corps the Badan Keamanan Rakjat (“People’s Security Corps”) from 1943 to 1945. After the declaration of the Indonesian independence, the Tentara Keamanan Rakyat (“People’s Security Army”) was set up in the fort from 1945 to 1947. These military bodies were the predecessor of the Indonesian National Army. The Dutch briefly captured the fort from 1948 to 1950 during the controversial Operation Kraai.

Source : A cannon in Fort Van Der

In fully-fledged independent Indonesia, the fort was used by the university body Perguruan Tinggi Pendidikan Guru Batusangkar (Teacher Education College Batusangkar) — the predecessor of the State University of Padang — for educational purposes, the inauguration was enacted by Mohammad Yamin.

In 1955, when Perguruan Tinggi Pendidikan Guru Batusangkar (Teacher Education College Batusangkar) was transferred to Bukit Gombak, the fort was converted into a military headquarters of the Angkatan Perang Republik Indonesia. During the rebellion from the Revolutionary Government of the Republic of Indonesia toward the central government in 1957, Fort van der Capellen was captured by Batalyon 439 Diponegoro, which was later transferred to the Indonesian National Police on May 25, 1960. The fort was made the headquarter of the Police Resort Command until the year 2001 when the headquarter was transferred to a new building in Pagaruyung.

The original clay tile roof has been replaced with corrugated steel in 1974. Additional rooms were added in 1984 for a kindergarten. The dry moat has been refilled in 1986. Last changes in the building occurred in 1988 with the additional buildings of storage and a dining area.

In 2008 parts of the fort has been restored by the Archaeological Heritage Preservation body.

(Qouted by:

To increase the number of tourist visits, in the van der Capellen fort area in September 2018 a traditional market was opened. This old-fashioned market is open every Saturday and Sunday. Visitors who want to shop at this market are advised to wear traditional Minangkabau clothes and must exchange their rupiah currency for wooden coins. One wooden coin is valued at Rp. 2,500. Sellers sell a variety of traditional foods such as vegetable curry of ketupat (curry with sticky rice and fern vegetables), kawa leaf coffee, traditional cakes, and various kinds of souvenirs. They trade in thatched-roofed huts or bamboo umbrellas and also wear traditional clothes. In addition, there are Minangkabau dance and martial arts performances in this market.

Source: Wooden
Source: A traditional food seller in traditional market van der
Source: vegetable curry of ketupat.
Sumber: Performance of Minang of silat (traditional martial art)

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