Recently the Institute for Monument Care of the Brazilian Government (IPHAN) repaired and cleaned the walls of Fort Orange on the Island of Itamaracá. This stone fort, by the Portuguese called Fortaleza da Santa Cruz, has been built in the second half of the 17th C. on the outlines of the original Dutch WIC Fort Oranje (1631). IPHAN also shaped the windows and entrances of the buildings inside the fort. Now the whole area is ready to be visited by the population and tourists again. Talking is the guide Sol Esejo da Souza, son from the late José Amaro da Souza who engaged his life to saving the ruins of the fort in the eighties of the former century. He considered it be a moral duty serving as Fort Orange’s Guardian. Thanks to him the Dutch Embassy has been involved and some for the time being repairs have been made. In December 2002, IPHAN awarded Zé Amaro with a special Decoration. The three video’s shown here are made by reporter Leonardo Vasconcelos.

In 2002-2003 research has been executed by a combined Brazilian and Dutch group of archaeologists, from the universities of Recife PE (UFPE) and Amsterdam (UvA). The MoWIC Foundation was responsible for the finances, a gift from the Dutch Government to the Brazilian Government in the year 2000, as Brazil celebrated its fifth-hundred ‘Anniversary’, being detected for the Western world by the Portuguese admiral Pero Álvarez Cabral in the year 1500. During the archaeological excavations, the Powder House, Casa de Pólvora, has been detected (January 2002), as well as under tons of sand, the Dutch Entrance, ‘Hollandse Poort’ (January 2003). IPHAN constructed ‘passarelas’, path of promenade, and covered the Dutch Entrance, laying between the third and fourth Bastion, B3-B4, to protect it from devastation and make it easy for visitors to look at. The ‘klezoor’ construction of the red brick sidewalls of the entrance, is visible clearly.

The four bastions with the slightly back-leaning walls make Fort Orange an example of the School of Stevin. The Portuguese constructor must have followed the outlines of the Dutch fort almost exactly. Nice to see the new invented ‘roof’ with light-windows covering the Dutch Entrance beneath. This video shows also the result of the restoration of the bastions, as well the replacing of cannons between B2 and B3. Alas we see the sea with its waves beating against the walls at the seaside, meanwhile B3 and B4 will remain staying in the water 24/24. A construction, not ment to be in such a dangerous position, finally will suffer too much to endure it, we fear, apart from the erosion of sand under the fortresses’ walls.
But for the moment, Fort Orange has begun a second youth, all contributors can be proud of. Parabéns !
Hannedea van Nederveen Meerkerk
President MoWIC Foundation