Vastenburg, fort (Surakarta)

In 1746 Susuhunan Pakubuwono II (ruling 1726-1749) moved from Kartasura to his new royal palace in Surakarta. Governor General Baron von Imhoff (in office 1743-1750) was eager to build a small fort, which was named Grootmoedigheid (Generosity) opposite of the kraton.

The plans for a more permanent fort may well have been made not long after the Giyanti Treaty was signed in 1755. In 1775 it was reported that the outer part of the fort in Surakarta had been completed and cannons were even provided by susuhunan Pakubuwono III (ruling 1749-1788). The VOC fort in Surakarta was finally declared complete in 1779 and could be utilized in 1780. This fort was named Vastenburg (steadfast, durable). It is square with four bastions and a moat.

Following the reorganization of the Dutch-Indies Army after the Diponegoro War (1825-1830) Fort Vastenburg was improved in 1832—the year “1832” can be seen near the north entrance door. In 1987 the army left the fort and moved to another location. The new owner, a real estate developer, wanted to build a hotel on the site. Between 1987 and 2007 the buildings in side the fort were demolished, but the wall and gates were still undamaged. The work stopped after protestst from the local population. The future of fort Vastenburg is still uncertain.


Sources and literature

Knaap, Gerrit, Grote Atlas van de Verenigde Oost-Indische Compagnie II, Java en Madura = Comprehensive Atlas of the United East India Company, II, Java and Madura (2007)

Abbas, Novida, Dutch forts on Java: a locational study (2001)

Pusat Dokumentasi Arsitektur, Forts in Indonesia (2010)