Fort de Kock and Padri War

I was still staring at Bung Hatta Birth House from sidewalk of Soekarno Hatta Street, not willing to leave it, but I kept thinking about how a work team built a replica of that house precisely because the original house had collapsed in 1962 ago.

Stepping back towards the direction which I originally came, I turned onto Pemuda Street after passing through Banto Trade Center. My legs were still strong when faced with a swerving long road, I was willing to follow it because my eyes were spoiled with a stretch of green rice fields and typical “Gonjong” roof architecture which adorns official government buildings.

“Gonjong” roof in State Primary School 14 ATTS (Aur Tajungkang Tengah Sawah).
BDB Monument Park, a symbol of people resistance against Dutch colonialism on 15 June 1908.
“Gonjong” roof in Regional Public Hospital Dr. Achmad Mochtar.

Looked like my trip would rotate and increasingly climb, my legs were no longer able after five days before always rely on it to explore Sumatra Island.

It was time to called online transportation to reach Fort de Kock front gate. In less than five minutes of riding it, I climbed Jirek Hill and arrived at fort front gate.

Wekom in Fort De Kock”…..

Fort gate.

Past the gate, “Family Benteng Indah” restaurant was the first greeter, then forwarded by ticket sales counter. Even though, I visited Fort de Kock, the venue which was written on ticket was Wildlife Cultural Park Kinantan with its price listed about USD 1.1.

Ticket sales counter.

After passing ticket check point, food stalls stood in line on right side. Then a cage of an endemic Chinese pigeon type “Junai Mas” was placed at its end. After that, I could see original shape of the fort.

There it is the form of a small fortress “Fort de Kock”.

Fort Fort Kock was established by Captain Bauer as dome of Dutch East Indies Government in facing of people resistance in Padri War which was led by Tuanku Imam Bonjol. This war itself erupted in first quarter of 19th Century. At that time, Boan Hendrick Markus de Kock was the commander of Der Troepen and Deputy Governor General of Dutch East Indies Government. This is where the name “Fort de Kock” originated.

An ancient cannon from year 1800s at four corners of the fort.

The main building of the fort which is no more than 400 square meters looks small but is very strong physically and strategically. In physical form, this fort has a good wall thickness. And strategically, the fort is tough because it is located right at hill top, making it easy for anyone to observe all movements of enemy around.

See how thick the fort walls are.
Second floor or fort roof.

I tried to continue to imagine how great Tuanku Imam Bonjol actions in leading Padri people against Dutch Colonialism. Until Netherlands had to build this fort to secure its power from threat of this charismatic leader.

Park is seen from above fort.

Ontel bicycle in Pavilion of Bung Hatta Birthplace Museum

The combination of yellow, blue and orange was slightly tarnished by peeling of Banto Trade Center wall paint. But that wasn’t the focus, Ramlan Nurmatias and Joko Widodo’s handshake had stunned me. It seems that the Mayor and the number one person of my country have agreed on laying the first stone of Ateh Market revitalization project….Apparently, Bukittinggi is actively building.

Meanwhile, Banto Trade Center courtyard was be a trader area for selling vegetables on their cart and motorbike. Then far ahead, still in Soekarno Hatta Street, a golden plaque “Adipura Kencana” is upheld by a single white pole. Shows that this city is recognized for cleanliness throughout the country.

Sekitar dua kilometer sajalah, avku tiba di sebuah mulut gang. “Gg Komp Sabar” begitulah aksara dalam plat nama berwarna hijau yang ditegakkAbout two kilometers away, I arrived at an alleyway. “Gang Kompleks Sabar” were words in a green name plate which was placed on a black pole with a bigger size with thick white script “Museum Rumah Kelahiran Bung Hatta Proklamator RI, Jl. Soekarno Hatta No. 37 Bukittinggi

For eleven years, Bung Hatta lived in this house.

It is a duplication of original house architecture which if it still stands, it will be 160 years old. Unfortunately it had collapsed in the 60’s, but upon the chairman idea of Bung Hatta Education Foundation, it was rebuilt.

Built according to its original curves, according to its picture in memoirs and various family-owned documentation. In general, this house can also describe situation and past life of Bukittinggi society and especially Bung Hatta’s family.

Main Building

This Bukittingi’s typical house consists of main building, pavilion, rice barn, kitchen, horse stable and fish pond.

The main building itself consists of two floors and is at forefront of house area. The main building serves to receive guests, family dining room and bedroom of Bung Hatta’s mother, uncle and grandfather.

Here’s a glimpse of booths on main building’s second floor:

Floor 1.

Bung Hatta family photo.
Family meeting table.
Family dining table.

Floor 2.

Bung Hatta’s parents’ room, in this room Bung Hatta was born.
Guest dining table.


Behind the main building, a pavilion was built. This white wall building was used for kitchen, Bung Hatta’s bedroom, bathroom, horse stable and hansom cab room. From his bedroom, Bung Hatta began his education at Europese Lageree School (ELS) Bukittinggi. In his room is also stored bicycle which was often used Bung Hatta everyday. It was given by his parents since he was 8 years old.

Bung Hatta’s room near rice barn. Called as “Ruang Bujang“.

He lived with his grandfather, Syech Adurrachman, also known as Syech Batuhampar. His grandfather himself worked as a private post contractor.

At the end of my visitation, I was curious about Ma’ Etek Ayub profile as someone who helped Bung Hatta in continuing school, his profession was “Time Trade Practice”. Confused by this profession type, I asked to an elderly woman who worked to took care of this whole house.

Horse stable.
Hansom cab as Bung Hatta’s vehicle to school.

Rice Barn

Like as past era houses, when this nation was still experiencing economic difficulties. Rice granaries are an effort to ensure family food security.

Rice storage barns.

After completing his primary education, Bung Hatta continued his secondary education at Meer Uitgebred Lager Onderwijs (MULO) or secondary school in Padang City.