Fallen heritage tree at Dutch Square, Melaka


The Dutch Square in Melaka is a familiar locale to Malaysians for its colonial, terracotta-red buildings and its clock tower built in the 1600s. And if you’ve ever visited the spot, chances are that you took refuge from the sun under its massive trees while playing tourist and snapping photos galore. 

Unfortunately, one of the trees collapsed this morning, on 17th March 2021. More than just a source of shade from the sun for Malaysians, the historic tree was over a hundred years old, and very much an iconic part of the heritage area in Melaka as it was regularly featured in shots of the Dutch Square and Stadthuys.


Heritage tree no match for the ravages of time


Netizens have been sharing photos of the fallen tree on Facebook, with many coming out to pay homage to the tree on Facebook group Melaka Dulu Dulu as well. 

Facebook user Imrahn Tam Bin Abdullah, for one, shared photos of the scene earlier this morning with the group along with the caption, “We have lost a friend and an icon in Melaka after a heavy downpour last night.”  

Fallen heritage tree in Melaka's iconic Dutch Square - tree
Image credit: Imrahn Tam Bin Abdullah

The aftermath showed the tree completely uprooted from its semi-circular concrete planter, and just narrowly missing the clock tower to its left. Fortunately, 2 other trees, albeit smaller in size, remain standing tall and unharmed after the downpour. 

Fallen heritage tree in Melaka's iconic Dutch Square - I Love Melaka sign
Image credit:
Majlis Bandaraya Melaka Bersejarah

No one was reported to be harmed by the fallen tree. However, an “I Love Melaka” sign in the vicinity of the tree, popular among tourists and locals alike for photo ops, took a rough hit. 

Fallen heritage tree in Melaka's iconic Dutch Square - tree
Image credit:
Imrahn Tam Bin Abdullah

A photo shared by Facebook user Shad Ower in Facebook group Melaka Dulu Dulu compared a 1910s photo of the site with the tree to the current state of the now-fallen tree. 

Fallen heritage tree in Melaka's iconic Dutch Square - old photo
Image credit:
Shad Ower


127-year-old tree stretching 18 metres in height


According to a report by Melaka Hari Ini, the fallen tree is a Batai Laut tree that’s estimated to be 127 years old and planted in 1894 to symbolise the banks of the Straits of Melaka during the British occupation of Melaka. It was also said to be over 18 metres in height – about the height of a fully grown giraffe – while its trunk measured at about 1.5 metres. 

Fallen heritage tree in Melaka's iconic Dutch Square - before
The tree, just next to the clock tower, before it fell.
Image credit: @anasyoga

The causes of its collapse were said to be adverse weather conditions, and other environmental factors despite the constant monitoring of heritage trees in the area by Majlis Bandaraya Melaka Bersejarah (MBMB).


Clean-up for the fallen heritage tree, with plans to plant new tree in the works


MBMB took to their Facebook page today, 17th March, to share photos of staff members cutting the tree and clearing up debris left behind in the aftermath of the incident. 

Fallen heritage tree in Melaka's iconic Dutch Square - clean up
Image credit:
Majlis Bandaraya Melaka Bersejarah

While a sad sight to see, the absence of the tree won’t be felt for too long. According to another Facebook post shared by MBMB, there are plans to plant another tree of the same species in the same spot, so the area is not left barren. 

Fallen heritage tree in Melaka's iconic Dutch Square - clean up
Image credit:
Majlis Bandaraya Melaka Bersejarah


Fallen heritage tree at iconic Dutch Square, Melaka


Malaysia is known for its nature gems – from blue waterfalls and untouched forests, to heritage trees – which explains why many find it difficult to see this heritage tree collapse in Melaka.

Nonetheless, we are glad to hear that a similar tree will be replacing it, so we won’t be missing out on the heritage tree and its barren spot too much on our next trip out to Melaka.

Read more news here:


Cover image adapted from: @xuxixon269 and Imrahn Tam Bin Abdullah

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