Gulangyu's former consulate buildings

Updated: 08 Jun 2015
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Photos by the courtesy of Gulangyu Sub-district Office
Foreign consulates are part and parcel of the cultural legacy of Gulangyu Island, which is also known as “Piano Island” and is famous for its sandy beaches, winding lanes, and diverse architecture and culture. 

British troops invaded Xiamen in 1841 after the First Opium War broke out in 1840, and it established Xiamen’s first foreign consulate in 1843, followed by other western powers.

There were 13 foreign consulates on Gulangyu before the victory of the Anti-Japanese War in 1945. The foreign consulates were all closed before the Anti-Japanese War ended. Currently, 8 of them remain in good condition on the island and will be turned into various museums.

The chronicles of the foreign consulates on Gulangyu Island are as follows:

1. British consulate (1843-March 1951)
The consulate was set up on 2nd October 1843, and it was renamed as British Consulate, Amoy in 1878 and upgraded as British General Consulate, Amoy in 1936. The consulate closed in 1941 during the Japanese invasion, reopened in August 1945 and closed again in March 1951.

The building was also used as a fast food restaurant as well as an office building over the past 170 years, and it will soon be transformed into the “Gulangyu Historical and Cultural Museum”, according to the latest plan for the old British consulate.

Add: No. 16, Lujiao Road, near the Piano Pier  (鹿礁路16号)

2. American consulate (July 1844-April 1946)
In July 1844, the United States of America set up a traffic and postal office on the island and the office was changed into the American Consulate, Amoy in 1906.

The consulate was occupied by Japanese troops in 1941, and it was officially closed in 1946 after the victory of the anti-Japanese war.

The old consulate was designed by an American engineer. It is regarded as the “Most Exquisite Consulate on Gulangyu”, and it will soon be turned into a branch of the China National Art Museum.

Add: No. 26, Sanming Road , near the Sanqiutian Pier (三明路26号)
3. French consulate (1846-June 1946)

The original location for the French consulate was on Tianwei Road, which is now covered by forest. The former consulate was destroyed by a typhoon on 23rd August, 1959.

Add: No. 46, Tianwei Road (田尾路46号)

4. Spanish consulate (1850s-October 1909)
The consulate, which was built by Spain in the 1950s, is now a Catholic Church which bears the Latin characters “ECCLESLA CATHOLICA”, meaning ‘Catholic Church’ in English.

In 1948, it was used as a hospital and later was used as the French consulate after Spain closed it in 1909 after being defeated in the American-Spanish War.

The original Spanish consulate is expected to be changed into an Old Photographs Museum.

Add: No. 34, Lujiao Road (鹿礁路34号)

5. German consulate (1870-1918)
The German consulate was built near the British consulate in 1870, but it was closed after Germany was defeated in the First World War (1914-1918). The building was burnt down by British marines in 1918.

Add: No. 12, Lujiao Road (鹿礁路12号)

6. Dutch consulate (1875-1941)
The consulate was established in 1875. It is adjacent to the Gulangyu People’s Stadium, which was known as Fan Zai Qiu Pu (番仔球埔). It was taken over by Japan in 1941.

The first floor of the former Dutch consulate was turned into an exhibition hall for Gulangyu’s humanity and history, and the second floor was used as a memorial hall for Ma Yuehan, a Gulangyu-born sports pioneer in China.

Add: No. 5, Zhonghua Road, near Ma Yuehan Square (中华路5号)

7. Japanese consulate (1875-1937)
The construction on the consulate started in 1875 near the current Union Church, and new office buildings for the consulate were built in 1897. In 1915, a police station, an underground prison and a detention house were established within the consulate.

The Japanese consulate will be turned into the Gulangyu Island History Museum.

Add: No. 24, Lujiao Road (鹿礁路24号)

8. Danish consulate (1869-before 1949)
Denmark built a consulate in 1869, but it sent a representative of the Great Nordic Group instead of a consul. The Great Nordic Group monopolized the telegram business in Xiamen for about 60 years.

The former consulate will be turned into the Gulangyu Telecom Museum.

Add: No.21, Tianwei Road (田尾路21号)

9. Portuguese consulate (late 19th century-before 1949)

10. Swedish consulate (late 19th century-before 1949)

11. Norwegian consulate (1852-before 1949)

12. Austrian consulate (1869-before 1949)

13. Belgian consulate (1890-before 1949)
Several western countries did not build their own consulate buildings on the island, and they entrusted other countries to deal with their foreign affairs or were stationed in other countries’ consulate buildings.

Xiamen, formerly known as Amoy, is now home to three Consulate Generals established by Singapore, the Philippines and Thailand on Xiamen Island. And a consulate area is under construction north of the Xiamen International Conference and Exhibition Center. It includes two 23-floor office buildings, a 15-floor foreign affairs building and eight independent consular villas.

The history of consulate construction on Gulangyu Island was blended with invasion and humiliation, while the consulate area construction on Xiamen Island opens a new chapter of development and opening-up policies.
Royal Thai Consulate-General, Xiamen
Address: Building NO.3, City Hotel Xiamen, No.16 Huyuan Road,Xiamen
Tel: 0592-2027980/ 2027982 

Consulate-General of The Republic of Singapore in Xiamen  
Address: No. 189, Xiahe Road, #05-07/08, The Bank Centre Xiamen 361003
Tel: + (86)(592) 268-4691

Consulate General of the Republic of Philippines in Xiamen
Address: No.2 Lingxiangli, Lianhua Xincun, Siming District, Xiamen
Tel: +86-592-5130355/ 5130366
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