Opening Frederik Hendrik Museum on Mauritius
complete renovation of the museum by the Tropenmuseum and the Mauritius Museums Council
The Frederik Hendrik Museum on the island of Mauritius has recently been renovated by the Tropenmuseum and the Mauritius Museums Council and opened its doors on November 18th, 2010.
Frederik Hendrik Museum
The Frederik Hendrik Museum is located on the historical site of Vieux Grand Port. The museum includes a visitor centre with an exhibition about the Dutch presence on Mauritius, next to the remains of the 17th century Fort Frederik Hendrik.
The history of Hort Frederik Hendrik
In 1638, the Dutch built a square wooden fort with bastions and cannons in every corner. They came to Mauritius to use it as a staging post for the fleets of the East India Company (V.O.C.), whose ships sailed to and from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia). It was an important fortress for the Netherlands in defending itself against the English and French. The Dutch left Mauritius in 1710, and were followed by the French and then the British. The fort suffered a fire, and was also damaged by cyclones. Archaeological excavations have been taking place regularly since 1997, with the result of more and more objects that testify to the Dutch period.
Bringing the Dutch past back to life
In the visitor centre, visitors will see many of the objects that have been found during these excavations, historical images and maps from the 17th century. They give an impression of how the site has been used over the years. Visitors can also see building materials such as stones and nails, but also bullets or even everyday objects like beads, coins, pipes and pots. Based on the remaining bones, you can see what kind of animals the Dutch had brought to the island, such as horses, pigs, cows, and goats. No dodo bones have been found here.