Benteng Nassau

Banda Islands

Quietly crumbling among tropical foliage, Nassau was the scene of the Banda Massacre, the greatest obscenity in the violent history of Dutch Banda. The fort was built in 1609, against the wishes of the orang kaya (local leaders) by Dutch Admiral Verhoeff, on foundations abandoned by the Portuguese 80 years earlier.

The Bandanese, fearing Dutch control, ambushed and executed some 40 Dutch ‘negotiators’, including Verhoeff himself. Unfortunately, the party also contained Jan Pieterszoon Coen, who was to become the fourth governor general of the Dutch East Indies, and who retaliated (in 1621) with the infamous beheading and quartering of 44 orang kaya within the fortress. What followed was the virtual genocide of the Bandanese population.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Banda Islands attractions

1. Dutch Church

0.12 MILES

This restored 1852 Dutch church with a portico of four chubby columns is open for services. Inside are a decorative bell-clock and wooden pews, as well as…

2. Sun Tien Kong Chinese Temple

0.15 MILES

There are still a few Chinese families living on Bandaneira and the 300-year-old Sun Tien Kong Temple is testament to the ancient Chinese involvement in…

3. Hatta’s House

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Of three early-20th-century ‘exile houses’ in Banda, Mohammed Hatta’s house is the most appealing. It’s partly furnished and photos of the dissident, his…

4. Benteng Belgica

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A classic star fort, the Unesco-nominated Benteng Belgica was built on the hill above Benteng Nassau in 1611, when it became apparent the lower bastion…

5. Rumah Budaya

0.17 MILES

Bandaneira’s little museum displays colonial artefacts including coins, silverware, crockery, pipes, swords and flintlock pistols and muskets. There's…

6. Istana Mini


This grand, atmospheric yet empty 1820s mansion gives a sense of the scale of the Dutch enterprise in the Banda Islands. Once the residence of the…

7. Mesjid Hatta-Syahrir

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Behind the main port are the eye-catching minarets of the Mesjid Hatta-Syahrir. Some locals claim this was converted into a mosque from the mansion that…

8. Schelling House

0.27 MILES

This massive columned house, owned by the daughter of the last Banda king, has a leafy courtyard, high ceilings and, in the the master bathroom, a stone…