Dutch Graveyard, Melaka

The Dutch Graveyard is a small cemetery at the base of St Paul’s Hill in the historic town centre of Melaka (also known as Malacca) in West Malaysia.

Dutch Graveyard in Melaka
Dutch Graveyard in Melaka

There is no admission fee to enter the Dutch Graveyard and also no gate, which means that the site is always open to visitors although given that there is no lighting in the graveyard you would only see anything if you visited during daylight hours.

About the Dutch Graveyard

The Dutch Graveyard first came into use in 1670 during the period when Melaka was a Dutch administered colony (1641 to 1825). During that period a total of 5 Dutch colonialists were buried in the Dutch Graveyard. The small number of people buried during the 12 year period the cemetery was used up to 1682 is not because the colony had a remarkable low mortality rate, but rather because most of the Dutch colonialists who died in Melaka were buried in and around the now ruined St Paul’s Church on the adjacent hill.

Dutch grave from 1678 in Melaka
Dutch grave from 1678 in Melaka

The Dutch Graveyard came back into use again in 1818 to bury Royal Navy Captain John Kidd, along with a further 32 British nationals during a period lasting until 1838. 

Grave of Captain John Kidd in Melaka
Grave of Captain John Kidd in Melaka

Like all colonial graveyards, the Dutch Graveyard is a reminder of historical events, probably the most interesting of which is the long forgotten War of Naning (1831 to 1832) during which two of the people buried in the Dutch Graveyard died. These two men, both English Army Officers in their mid twenties, are commemorated by the tall white stone pillar in the Graveyard. The War of Naning was fought between the British East India Company and the Chief of neighbouring Naning State, Dato’ Abdul Said, upon whom the British were attempting to impose taxes. The British forces won this conflict in the end but only after an embarrassing failed first attempt when the British forces were outmanoeuvred by an inferior guerrilla army. The British won on the second attempt with a disproportionately large military force of 1,200 soldiers which was so expensive that it caused a change in British policy in the Malay peninsula to enter into treaties with local Chiefs rather than trying to conquer them militarily.

Location of the Dutch Graveyard

  • Jalan Kota, Bandar Hilir, 75000 Melaka, Malaysia.

Google Map of Dutch Graveyard Melaka

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