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Leiden, fort (Gorontalo)

After the VOC took over Gorontalo from the kingdom of Ternate in 1681, Fort Leiden was initially its only stone fortification to guard the big and not easily controllable waters around North Sulawesi. The fort was built on the foundations of an earlier Portuguese fort, Ota, dating back to 1527, when Portugal had unsuccessfully tried to control the area. Several other smaller posts in the area consisted of simple earthen walls with a fence of bamboo or wood and a house for the officer (usually a sergeant). It was not until 1764 that the VOC got permission to build an additional stone fort, Nassauw, in Gorontalo, which became the center of their activities in the area. In 1766 fort Leiden was renovated and a lookout tower was built on the hill. The name was changed in fort Leiden. The rectangular fort had two round bastions. Today only the southeast bastion still exists. The original shape of the fort is unknown but the layout with two round bastions could be Portuguese. The walls are between 2 and 3.5 meter high and one meter thick. The fort was the seat of a VOC- appointed resident and a small garrison. Fort Leyden was abandoned at the end of the eighteenth century. In 1818 the Dutch came back. The fort was garrisoned by a sergeant and 12 soldiers, but was once again abandoned in 1832, when the soldiers were relocated to Soelamatta to control the delivery of gold to the government. Today, the fort is a tourist spot. Its present-day name, fort Oranje, cannot be traced to the Dutch period.

build start




build end





Portuguese fort 1527, used by VOC from 1681, renovated 1766


coral stone



historical name

Leiden, fort (Gorontalo)

Ota, fort

Oranje, fort



location Gorontalo


  • Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Forts in Indonesia (Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Jakarta, 2010), 196-209
  • Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Inventory and identification of forts in Indonesia (Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Jakarta, 2010), 165
  • Wall, V.I. van de, Nederlandsche Oudheden In Celebes 293-305