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Frederik Hendrik Museum

 

Frederik Hendrik Museum (Royal Road, Old Grand Port) – located an hour’s drive (45 km.) southeast of Port Louis, this museum opened its doors in May 1999 and is named after the stadtholder of the United Provinces of The Netherlands who was in office from 1625 to 1647. It is located at Old Grand Port, which is considered a historical site bearing witness to the Dutch and French colonial settlements in Mauritius, on the south east coast of Mauritius. The very first inhabitants of Mauritius, the Dutch, settled here to colonize the island. The museum, surrounded by a luxuriant tropical garden, includes a visitors’ centre with an exhibition of artifacts found during archaeological excavations in the area since 1997 and the remains of some ruins.

 

Reproduction of historical paintings and maps of the 17th century are also displayed in the complex. The existing ruins are remains of compounds erected by the French who came to Mauritius after the Dutch settlers’ departure. They consist of relics of the governor’s main residence, a bakery and a building which sheltered a store, a forge and a prison cell.

 

When Simonsz Gooyer, the first Dutch Governor of Mauritius, and his men landed at Old Grand Port, (which they named Port Zuydoosterhaven), in 1638 he built a small fort on this site. The fort was named Fort Frederik Hendrik to honor the brother of the Prince of Orange – Maurice of Nassau – after whom Mauritius was named in 1598.

 

Admission: free. Hours: 9:00 am – 4:00 pm (Monday-Tuesday, Thursday-Saturday), 9:00 am – 12:00 pm (Sundays & public holidays). Closed on Wednesday.