Historic Buildings of the Dutch Reformed Church

The Dutch Church at Kalpitya


In Dutch times, Kalpitya was a small port located at the northern extremity of the original Dutch area prior to peace treaty with the Kandyan Kingdom of 1765 when the King ceded the entire coast area up to two miles inland to the Dutch. The port was strategically important for the VOC enabling it to control a considerable part of the external trade of the Kandyan Kingdom which was mainly conducted through the large Muslim (Moors and Chetties) trading community settled in the area.


The VOC maintained a fort in Kalpitya (in Dutch times called Calpentyn) and built a church which had the same character as the Matara church (old meeting house type). When most VOC servants with their Dutch Predikants left the island in the beginning of 1800, church services, until then conducted in Dutch, Singhalese and Tamil, were discontinued. In the middle of the 19th century the church was used by Anglican missionaries. The façade was (unfortunately) rebuilt in English style, which gave it a strange appearance. Original Dutch tombstones in excellent condition still can be found on the floor of the church. Plans are being developed to restore the original façade in Dutch style and convert the church into a community centre.

 

The Church was long time under management of the Archaeological Service of Sri Lanka. In December 2010 the Church was formally returned to the ownership of the Dutch/Christian Reformed Church. Renovation of the building will be part of the religious and cultural development of the city of Kalpitya.