Sunday, January 19, 2014

De Escompto Bank in Semarang

De Escompto Bank office in Hoogendorpstraat or now known as Jalan Kepodang, Semarang, simply recognized by its dome-shaped tower. The year when photos taken between 1925-1930. (source: Leiden University Library)
Nederlandsch-Indische-Escompto-Maatschappij or simply known as NIEM or just Escompto Bank, is the second largest Bank operated in Dutch Indies during the colonial period. Escompto Bank formed in 1857 and continues to operated until 1958, while all of the Dutch companies were nationalized by the government of Republik Indonesia. Then it changes into Bank Dagang Negara (BDN), and following the 1997 economic crisis, this BDN merged with another 3 govenments bank formed Bank Mandiri until nowadays.

A mozaic formed by decorated tiles illustrated the city coat
of arms of Semarang and Surabaya.
In Semarang, in Kota Lama section, the office of Escompto Bank were very luxurious with the tower as its icon. Located in Hoogendorpstraat or now known as Jalan Kepodang, the Escompto Bank building with its tower always appeared rights in the form of photos or postcards. There’s an unique characteristic over the Escompto Bank officebuilding. In its wall, always there’s several city coat of arms illustrated by a mozaic formed by decorated tiles. In Batavia (Jakarta) we’d see the coat of arms of Amsterdam, Semarang, Bandung, Surabaya and Batavia. In Semarang, only 2 city coat of arms are illustrated in its wall, its Surabaya and Semarang. The Escompto Bank building in Semarang, situated in the street that once crowd with the business activity because of along the street in front of it, situated the Head office of Oei Tiong Ham Concern, The Geo Wehry Co., Butterworth Co., and so on.

De Escompto Bank, current condition. The Dome were
dissapeared, but dont know when and why did its happend.
The tower with its dome that so famous as the landmarks along the Hoogendorpstraat were no longer existed. Dont know exactly when its been torned down, but now its changed into a simply roof. This art deco style building seems faced many renovation that changes the appearance of the building that built in 1912. Talking about the Escompto Bank, there’s an interested story about it in the Escompto Bank of Surabaya I got from National Geographic.

A legitimate banknote from the 1941, has been left for until today. The banknotes belongs to NV Carl Schlieper , an importeur for the guild tools from the Remscheid, Germany to the several cities in Dutch Indies. The banknote stated the amount of 400 Yen and that amount must be available on monday,February 17th 1941. The Bank have legitimate it thus the cashier could took the cash for the owner of that banknote. But then, the representatives from NV. Carl Schlieper never return to that place to take out the cash. Even after the Escompto Bank changed into Bank Dagang Negara, the cash still neatly stored in the bank safes. Now, this 400 Yen bills were displayed as the collection of Museum Bank Mandiri Surabaya.

Nowadays this building seems to still belongs to state-owned company property. With a lot of projects to developed the Kota Lama section, we waits, when it will become a Museum Bank Mandiri Semarang? We’ll be waiting for (again) 
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