Thursday, November 15, 2012

Internatio Building, the Battle of Surabaya Eyewitness

The wrecked car of AWS Mallaby, in front of Internatio building, behind the republican banner.
 (Source: imperial war museum)
Several days ago on November 10th , all of Indonesian people celebrated the National Heroes Day, due to commemorating the Battle of Surabaya where estimated 16.000 lives of “Arek-Arek Suroboyo” (Peoples of Surabaya) got killed in action. This bloodbath started when the uprising between the people of Surabaya and the Allied force are getting worst during the revolution for Independence.  Then, the incident in front of Internatio building who killed the Allied high rank general, AWS Mallaby later triggering the retaliation from Allied troops who launched high scale military operation recognize as the Battle of Surabaya

The Internatio building on 2011, owned by PT Tjipta Niaga,
but now is no longer used as office, its abandoned!
About the Battle of Surabaya events, well I guess most of us know how its happened from the history book during school time, isnt? But what about Internatio building? Why in the history book, its always be written if AWS Mallaby is killed in front of Internatio building? Eventhough when I’m visiting Surabaya, the building is no longer have a name as Internatio building. Then, I’m just realize that Internatio have a big reputation in the past, so the building name is so popular among the people.

The Internatio is a name of a trading company, one’s of the five biggest company in Indonesia during Dutch-Indie era until early post-Independence era.  Its existed from 1863 to 1970 and the background of the establishment of this company was the wish of the Twente cotton manufacturers to distribute their goods in Dutch-Indies,  which previously held by the Nederlandsche Handel-Maatschappij (NHM, nationalized and now become Bank Mandiri). Twente itself is prime cotton industry region and for long one of the most thoroughly proletarianised region of Netherlands. Then its established on 1863, and have a name Internationale Crediten en Handelsvereeniging Rotterdam. The objective of the company was to open trade market, finance exports in various forms, purchase and/ or rentaling ships and participating in cultural societies.  The company, operating worldwide but the fact, its only concentrated to operate in Dutch-Indie, Java island specifically. Its recorded that Internatio has 60 branch office and 2000 employers in all parts of Dutch-Indie. Some of Internatio possessions in the Dutch East Indies:

The Internatio building in Semarang, located in Kota Lama, 
around 1940.  (source : Tropenmuseum) 
1. Ament's sugar
2. Algemeene Industrial and Mining Directory
3. Agricultural Society Bantool
4. Culture Society Modjopanggoong
5. Culture Society Kenongo
6. Handelsmaatschappij Kehding van Nie
7. Paper Mill Padalarang
8. Rotterdamsche Culture Society
9. Sian Tin Operating Syndicate
10. Sumatra Rubber Company
11. Suikerfabriek Tandjong Tirto
12. Society for the Exploitation of Sugar Tjebongang
,and so on

The current condition of the former Internatio
building in Semarang, its turned into shopping
That’s explain why, Internatio is one’s of the big five trading company in Dutch-Indie beside, Borsumij, Geo Wehry, Lindeteves  and Jacobson van den Berg. After the Second World War and the independence of Indonesia,  Internatio expand their company to  Latin America and later in East Africa, because of the high sentiment of Dutch Company among the people in Indonesia in the middle of 50’s due to the West Papua conflict. Then on 1957, together with others Dutch company in Indonesia, the Internatio being nationalized like the others Dutch trading company and become PT Tjipta Niaga. Then, the glory of Internatio in Indonesia, is end. On 1970, its merged with International Wm. H. Müller & Co. to formed the Internatio-Muller Company.

In Semarang itself, the building of Internatio, which one’s of the largest office in the Old Town area, had been torned down. Actually its also burnt down during the early stage of Indonesian Revolutionary War, in 1945. Currently, the location where Internatio once stand for had changed into a shopping complex and a base for a public transport called angkot.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

De Javasche Bank in Semarang

De Javasche Bank office on Bodjongsche Weg ( now Jalan Pemuda) on 1936 and a Five Gulden issued by De Javasche Bank on 1921 (Source: Tropenmuseum; catawiki  )
This November! There’s a statement issued by the Central Bank of Indonesia, that is Bank Indonesia (BI) to change the face value of Indonesian Rupiah (IDR), through redenomination. The central bank saw the value of IDR is too much considering from its nominal, and like it or not, IDR belong to one’s of the bad currencies in the world, so BI had a plan to simplified the face value, by divide it into 1000, so IDR 1000 will becoming IDR 1,  IDR 10.000 will becoming IDR 10, and so on. Well, I just imagine if this policy has been execute, I’ll buy the cigarettes in the store for only IDR 12 for a pack, haha, sounds weird for me. :D

De Javasche Bank office in Jalan Pemuda, currently used by Bank Jateng. 
Established in 1828, De Javasche Bank is a respond to the chaostic financial condition of Dutch-Indie government caused by the Java War, Lead by Pangeran Diponegoro, a Javanese aristocrat and religious leader from 1820-1825.  Millions gulden are spent for this war, to built the road, fortification, hiring both royal koninklijk army from the nederlands and the mercenaries from all parts of Indonesia. The Dutch-Indie government float a loan to fund this outside their income, that really unsignificance caused the war and all of the economic sector are concentrated in java island. That’s why De Javasche Bank established, is to maintained the loan.  There’s a unique characteristic in De Javasche Bank, where the commissioner are appointed only by the Governoor General, but the CEO are appointed by the shareholders. The Javasche Bank become  Naamlooze Venootschap (NV) or in English we rcognized it as limited liability company (Ltd) on 1881 through the commercial Code issued in Buitenzorg (Bogor).

After the independence of Indonesia, De Javasche bank still have a role as the central bank, since the newly born Indonesian Republic, haven’t the central bank yet. Through the Round Table Confrence, in The Hague, which is resulted the transfer of sovereignity from the Kingdom of Netherland into Indonesian Republic, there’s a point in the agreement to stated that the central bank is still hadled by De Javasche Bank until the government of Indonesian Republic have its own central bank. But in 1953, De Javasche Bank nationalized and still have a role as central bank, as we recognized nowadays as Bank Indonesia (BI).

De Javasche Bank, is the powerful bank and it can be seen from their asset. Just look in every major city in Indonesia, their office is must be luxurious, from Jogjakarta, Jakarta, Surabaya, even in Solo. But I just get confused why in Semarang, its not as luxurious as the others city? Well as we get the info from the colonial map dated 1920, De Javasche Bank office in Semarang located in Heerensrtrat, near Gereja Blenduk. But then when I saw the tropenmuseum collection, the office is located in front of Kantor Pos Besar on Bodjongsche Weg (central post office), but the photos is dated 1936. Its probable moved, from the old location in Hereenstrat to Bodjongsche weg. But now the Bank Indonesia office, is located in Imam Bardjo Street, near the central business district of Simpang Lima, so the office of central bank in Semarang is already moved three times if so.
De Javasche Bank office on Heerenstrat now Jalan Letjend Soeprapto (above) and the current condition of this building, now used as the office of Telkom Indonesia, a state owned telecommunication company (below).