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Malacca was under Dutch rule from 1641 to 1795 and then again from 1818 to 1825, and the buildings along Dutch Square reflect this history, all painted in terra cotta—the square is also often called Red Square, because of the color of the buildings that sit on it. Just behind the square's clock tower, the Stadthuys was built in 1650 as Malacca's city hall; it continued to serve this purpose even after the British took control of Malacca. It's believed to be the oldest Dutch building in Southeast Asia. The large but simple building has white wooden shutters and a tiled roof. Today, the Stadthuys houses several museums, including the History and Ethnography Museum.

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