November 3, 2011

The "Stadhuis"

The stately building of the Jakarta History Museum was formerly the Stadhuis or City Hall of Batavia. The building was inaugurated in 1710 by Governor General Abraham van Riebeeck (1653 - 1713 ), the son of Jan van Riebeeck , who founded Capetown, the oldest city in South Africa. The square in front of the building has always been the main square of the old city.

Former City Halls of Batavia
The present building is the third City Hall of Batavia. The first City Hall had been built in haste in 1620 on the present Kali Besar Timur just south of the old drawbridge. It lasted only six years and was replaced by the second City Hall (1627 - 1707 ) built on the south side of the town's main square, the same location as the present building. The second City Hall initially had a flat roof , and possibly only one storey, but over the years the building was renovated several time and extended. In the end, however, the old building was no longer considered adequate for such a great and wealthy city as Batavia, and was replaced by the third City Hall.

Construction of the building
The structure of the building is sober but well proportioned in a kind of baroque classicism. The plan was drawn by the head of the VOC's artisan, W. J van de Velde and executed over a period of three years (1707 - 1710) by J.F Kemmer, a German building contractor. It is said that the building resembles the old City Hall of Amsterdam, now the royal Paleis op de Dam. This Palace had been built a century earlier by J. van Campen
History of the building

1707-1710 Building Constracted
1710-1816 City Hall Batavia
1816-1905 Office Residency Batavia
1905-1925 City Hall of Batavia
1925-1942 Office the West- Java Provincial Governor
1942-1945 Japanese Logistic Office
1945-1952 Office of The West-Java Provincial Governor
1952-1968 Headquarter of The Kota Military Command I, later KODIM 0503 West-Java Transferred to the Jakarta City administration
1968-March 30, 1974 Official opening of the Museum Sejarah Jakarta by Governor Ali Sadikin model for the City Hall of Postdam, near Berlin, designed by Boumann (1755)
Use of the building 17th and 18 century

The most important offices in the City Hall were the Board of Magistrates (College van Scheepenen) and the Court of Justice (Raad van Scheepenen) and the Court of Justica (Raad van Justitie). But the City Hall housed many more committee including the committee for the welfare of orphans, for the registration of marriages and so on. Between the years 1622 and 1634 until completion of the Dutch church on the west side of the town square, one of the rooms was used on Prayer meetings. The second City Hall also served as the initial burial place for Jan Pieterszoon Coen (1587 - 1629) until his remains were transferred to the Church, at the side where now the Museum Wayang stands.
Because of all the meetings ad discussion taking place in the building it was nick-named Gedung Bicara, 'House of Talk', or in the Hokien dialect Gedung Bi-cha-lo

The Jakarta History Museum
The Jakarta History Museum originated from the Museum Oud Batavia (Old Batavia) at Jalan Pintu Besar Utara No.27 (Now the Museum Wayang) that was officially opened in 1939. After Indonesia's independence in 1945 this became the Museum Djakarta Lama under the authority of the Lemb aga Kebudayaan Indonesia (Cultural Institute of Indonesia) in 1968 the museum was transferred to the city administration of Jakarta in 1974 the collection was moved to the "Stadhuis" building which subsequently was inaugurated as the Museum Sejarah Jakarta, Jakarta History Museum.
Source adapted from A Heuken 2007 Historical Sites of Jakarta

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