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The Remains of Dutch Colonialism Heritage in Jakarta

Updated on April 7, 2014

Dutch Colonialism Heritage in Jakarta

The remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta. Jakarta is the capital city of Indonesia, the Metropolitan City which is very dense and crowded nowadays. Jakarta has a very long history, long time ago in 1621-1942 during Dutch colonial period Jakarta was named Batavia or what was called ‘Betawi’ by the indigenous until finally Japan came and beat Dutch out, then changed ‘Batavia’ become Jakarta.

However, for it’s a very long period Dutch colonialism had a big influence on the journey of Jakarta history, both socially and culturally. Despite the Dutch colonization had long been ended but the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta influences still remaining in the form of acculturation as well as relics of the physical shape like historic buildings, landmarks and landscape who were the silent witnesses of Jakarta City history process.

Nowadays all those heritages become tourist destinations who attract people come to Jakarta.

One of the most popular historical buildings of the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta is Fatahillah Museum. Fatahillah Museum is one of the most famous tourist destination in Jakarta, robust cannon is the popular icon of this museum.

In 1641 after defeated Malacca, Dutch brought Portuguese robust cannon which have ornament a clenched hand with the thumb protrudes between the index finger and middle finger, ‘mano’ in FICA is the symbol of coitus it’s believed as the symbol of fertility. Now this cannon’s robust is the icon of this museum.

Fatahillah museum keeps and saves some of the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta such as furniture and weapons. This building was built in 1710 that was the reign period of the Dutch East Indies General van Hoorn, at that era this building was functionalized for many things, instead of its main function as the center of the Dutch government.

The building was also used as the court, criminology, execution place, prison, trading and also usually used to held wedding occasion. The societies call this building ‘House Talk’ for its multi-function and that 300-years-old building is still standing firmly until now.

This museum as the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta contains the collection of valuable historical stuffs such as the rocks which were considered as the heritage from Neolithic era, the legacy ‘Purnawarman’ kingdom, Portuguese silver coins and the scales, several Indonesian historic inscriptions such as ‘Tugu’ or obelisk inscription (5th century), ‘Kebun Kopi’ or coffee plantation inscription (year 926/932), and ‘Batu Tulis Bogor’ or Bogor slate inscription (year 1333).

The original furniture of the reign former Dutch such meeting table, lounge chairs, filling cabinet, chamber furniture, and the painting of king Solomon is being saved on the top floor building.

The other function of this museum has the particular space for prison at the bottom of this building; it was semicircular 8x3 meters building.

This space contain the remains of torture stuff like 100 kg weight iron pendulum which was used to tie up the foot of prisoner, 2 m and 1.5 cm wide wooden board with the hole middle size head, 15 cm thick wooden board to herd the executed prisoner.

Sunda Kelapa Port
Sunda Kelapa Port
Syahbandar Tower
Syahbandar Tower

Great Indonesia Travel Guide Books

In the term of monitoring ships that was in and out Batavia City by sea and also for the office of ‘customs’ which collected taxes on unloaded goods at the port of ‘Sunda Kelapa’, the Dutch colonial built ‘Syahbandar’ Tower in 1839.

At the present time this 168 years old Tower is considered as one of the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta, for its old age this building tilted gradually and so ‘leaning tower’ is the other new name for this building.

This building also called as ‘Menara goyang’ or rocking Tower for its position is right exactly in the side of highway Pakin where so crowded by many heavy vehicle such as container truck, and in every time all these heavy vehicle pass the tower was swaying.

Jakarta province government made improvement of this building in April 2007 in the term of old city revitalization program as one of the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta. The attraction of this building is when we having ‘a walk to remember’ by climbing the stairs step by step, tracing it’s every room, and by the time we arrive the summit we will see various ships in Sunda Kelapa port.

The downstairs of this tower is an underground room which was used for the protection and the gate of the tunnel can penetrate up to Fatahilah Museum. But now for the safety reason the gate of tunnel is closed.

‘Ragunan’ zoo is one of the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta, it was built in 1864 and it’s known as the first zoo in Indonesia. It was located in Cikini, in the central of Jakarta. It was named Planten En Dierentuin by the Dutch which was mean plant and zoo.

The name of Planten En Dierentuin was changed become Cikini zoo in 1949, and by the process of long history finally it had its new name ‘Taman Margasatwa Ragunan’ or Wildlife Reserve Parks of Ragunan in 1966.

The remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta there is also form of garden, namely Burgemeester Bisschopplein or now it is known as ‘Taman Suropati’ or Suropati Garden, is one of well known garden in Jakarta.

It was built by Dutch colonial, the name ‘Burgemeester Bisschopplein’ was derived from the first mayor of Batavia G.J. Bisshop who ruled Batavia in 1916-1920. In 1920 this hall is started to be changed as the garden with the flowers and plantations. Lately the sculptors from whole ASEAN decorated this beautiful garden with their works of statues.

It will be such an extraordinary historical tour to visit buildings, landscapes and landmarks which are the remains of Dutch colonialism heritage in Jakarta, all of these heritages in Jakarta did both its functions not only as the mute witnesses but also real evidences of Indonesian History process, that’s what make it so precious.

‘Great nation is a nation who appreciate the history’ as the new generation we have to keep, save and protect all kind of historical relics, it’s one of our way to respect the process of history which influence our life today and carry on with the better process for the better future of course!

Irwan Sukmawan


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    • Irwan Sukmawan profile imageAUTHOR

      Irwan Sukmawan 

      7 years ago from Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

      Glad to hear that Mas.Prasetyo & thanks you so much for your great comment! :)

    • prasetio30 profile image


      7 years ago from malang-indonesia

      Nice information, Irwan. Again, you have done a great job. With your talent here, you can be something than just a writer. Just do the best and I still wait your marvelous hub like this one. I give my big appreciation to you to share our national heritage to the world. You are one of the Indonesian tourism ambassador. I am proud to you.

      As a teacher, you remind us about the history lesson. As Indonesian people we shouldn't forget the history from the past. We can share this to our grandchild, right! Vote up and useful.

      Blessing and hugs,

    • Irwan Sukmawan profile imageAUTHOR

      Irwan Sukmawan 

      7 years ago from Bandung, West Java, Indonesia

      Thank you for a nice comment revky & have a nice trip in Jakarta. :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      it's an interesting information about the history of Jakarta, I like history and all kind of historical things. I'm interested to visit all the place that was mentioned in this article. carry on your great job!


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