The National Museum of Namibia has, for many years, been housed in the Alte Feste, an old German Fort in the capital of Windhoek.
In March 2014, the material related to the independence movement moved to the new Independence Museum; however, the National Museum of Namibia still tells the story of the peoples and the land before the war against colonialism began.
Alte Feste is the oldest building still standing in Windhoek and was a German fort during the period in which Germany ruled as a colonial power prior to South Africa’s seizure of the land in 1915. The construction of the building began in 1890, yet was not completely finished until 1915. While it was developed as a military installation meant to maximize contact with two nearby communities, the fort itself never saw any direct action, but served as a powerful reminder of the German occupation of the area.
It may seem ironic to house the National Museum in a structure fiercely evocative of the colonial past, but the celebration of Namibia’s heritage occurs here due to the collection of national treasures and rock art located nearby. Walking around this old fort and enjoying the displays, one can’t escape the ways that Namibia’s story is both heartrending and extraordinarily rich.