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 has 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 was the ruling colonial power, before South Africa seized 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.
This being the case, it may seem ironic to have the National Museum in such a structure, but the straightforward celebration of Namibia’s heritage works well there, providing a good overview of the treasures of rock art that are spread generously around the country. 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.