National Trust of Guyana

Dutch Heritage Museum (Court of Policy)

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The Court of Policy dates back to circa 1752, when construction of the brick edifice commenced under the then Governor, Laurens Storm van Gravesande who had appealed to the Dutch West India Company for permission to construct a church for the colonists of Essequibo. Measuring some 12 meters (40 feet) in width and 18 meters (60 feet) in length, this brick building was probably completed in 1752 when Gravesande wrote to the Company for funds for the acquisition of furniture and windows. It is believed that this structure served multiple functions: a store, a church, the seat of government, and a sales office (vendue office). Inside the Court of Policy are three (3) Dutch tombs. It is the third oldest built and oldest non- military structure in Guyana and in 1999 was declared along with Fort Zeelandia a National Monument by the National Trust of Guyana and is managed by the agency. It is now home to the Dutch Heritage Museum. The Dutch Heritage Museum was officially opened on February 19, 2007, by the National Trust of Guyana and illustrates various aspects of the nation’s Dutch legacy, in addition to their interactions with the Indigenous tribes and the enslaved Africans. In 2000, the Trust commenced a major restoration project to restore Fort Zeelandia and the Court of Policy. This required the restoration of the roof, new windows, doors, and other infrastructural works to enhance visitors’ experience at this historical site.