An early mixed-use building in the Orchard Road area was built by businessman Chee Swee Cheng at the junction of Cairnhill Road in 1931. It was named Heeren Building after Melaka’s Heeren Street, with heeren being Dutch for “gentlemen”. It had shops on the ground floor, and offices and apartments on the upper floors.
The original Heeren Building was demolished in 1990 and replaced by The Heeren, which was completed in 1997. To commemorate its heritage, the building’s owners have retained the original Heeren Building’s “torches”, which once stood on the roof. These now flank the rear entrance of The Heeren along Cairnhill Road.
In 2015, The Heeren’s owners marked Singapore’s 50th year of independence by commissioning an artwork by Chong Fah Cheong titled Budak-Budak (“Children” in Malay) that is installed in front of The Heeren. The sculpture features children playing on a giant kamcheng, a Peranakan porcelain jar. The children represent future generations while the jar symbolises the wisdom and culture that are passed down over generations.
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