The Dutch factory at Mouri was burned to the ground in 1610 by the Portugese. Dutch traders then petitioned the States-General of the Dutch Republic to build a fort on the coast. The States-General was receptive of their demands, and sent Jacob Clantius, who was to become the first General to the Gold Coast in 1611. In 1612, the Treaty of Asebu was signed between the Dutch and the chief of Asebu. The Dutch were allowed to built a fort at Moiree.
In 1612, Clantius built a reinforced fort at Mouri, which, due to the unfamiliarity of the Dutch with building in the tropics, was notorious for its unhealthy conditions. In 1624, the Dutch considerably expanded the fort. Fort Nassau served as the capital of the Dutch Gold Coast from its establishment until 1637, when the Dutch captured Fort Elmina from the Portuguese.
In 1868, the United Kingdom and the Netherlands traded some forts in order to create more geographically contiguous areas of influence. The Netherlands ceded Fort Nassau, Fort Crêvecoeur, Fort Amsterdam, Fort Goede Hoop, and Fort Lijdzaamheid, and in return received Apollonia (renamed Fort Willem III), Fort Dixcove (renamed Fort Metalen Kruis), Fort Komenda (not to be confused with the already Dutch Fort Vredenburgh, also in Komenda), and Fort Sekondi (not to be confused with the already Dutch Fort Orange, also in Sekondi). This arrangement proved short-lived, as the colony was completely ceded to the United Kingdom in 1872.