Saturday, June 28, 2014

Pabrik Rokok Praoe Lajar Semarang

The office building of Maintz & Co. in Kota Lama, Semarang, 1927. Now used as the office and assembling factory of Praoe Lajar cigarettes | Inzet: a pack of Praoe Lajar cigarette (source: Leiden University Library |
A bad news coming for smokers in Indonesia on last tuesday, since the guvernment told cigarette makers on to start putting graphic warnings on cigarette packaging, the government's boldest step to reduce smoking in the world's third-largest cigarette market. Arrrghhh...finaly, these disgusting picture come to the cigarettes pack here. Well, but some people said especially those who joined anti-smoking campaign that the rule was widely ignored. Widely ignored or lack of socialization? 

According to an articles in, Indonesia currently has 672 cigarette companies that consist of 669 domestic companies and three importers. Wow! Such a great number isnt? I thought that the government should have a good willingness to give the socialization to those hundreds of cigarettes company. I guess it gonna take a long long time. Anyway, despite smoking such a bad habbit, but for me, these kinda cultural product that sometimes we have to maintain it. Indonesia, have a one kind of cigarettes that very popular around the world, its cigarettes made with a blend of tobacco, cloves and other flavors, simply known as Kretek. (See also: The story of Nitisemito, "The Kings of Kretek" )

An advertising of Maintz & Co. in Isles of the East,
An illustrated  guide to Australia, New Guinea,
Java, and Sumatra
 book,  published by
Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (KPM) in 1912.
Partly due to favorable taxation compared to "white" cigarettes, kreteks are by far the most widely smoked form of cigarettes in Indonesia, where about 90% of smokers usually smoke kreteks. In Indonesia, there are hundreds of kretek manufacturers, including small local makers and major brands. Most of the widely known international brands, including Sampoerna, Djarum, Gudang Garam, Wismilak and so on, but here in Semarang, we also have our own local brands, Praoe Lajar. Eventhough its not as popular among another major kretek company, Praoe Lajar have a loyal consument that spread over Pantura (eng: north coast of Java). Praoe Lajar office and also its assembling factory is located in Kota Lama, Semarang, made it one's of the iconic place in Kota Lama. The visitors in Kota Lama also could visiting inside the factory and see the production process of Kretek cigarettes, every weekdays from 8 a.m till 12 a.m.

Only a few people realized that Praoe Lajar office and factory once is a office for Maintz & Co.  a private energy company that firstly developed the electricity in  Dutch East Indies. Maintz & Co. produced electricity and had her work in Central and East Java, especially Surabaya, Semarang, Yogyakarta, Pasuruan and Salatiga. Maintz & Co. have some subsidiaries one of it is N.V. Algemeene Nederlandsch-Indische Electriciteits-Maatschappij (ANIEM) that founded in 1909. Maintz & Co. just like the others foreign company in Indonesia, by the late of 50's decade come's to an end through the nationalization policy. Its nationalized in May, 2nd 1959. Likely after that, the office in Semarang used as the office and factory for Praoe Lajar, until now.

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Old Voyager

A photos from Leiden University Library archives depicted MS. Marnix van St. Aldegonde, a Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (SMN) luxury liner with the heavies about 19.000 tons, servicing line between Amsterdam and Batavia. Later used as a troopship in the Central Naval Force of the allied forces during World War II. Tragically, She was torpedoed by German bombers in the Mediterranean on November 7, 1943 and sunk. | inzet: SMN lugage label
Entering Kota Lama from the west sides, from Jalan Pemuda, we'll welcomed by several iconic building lies along Jalan Mpu Tantular. One's of the building is Djakarta Lloyd building, that not so many people pay attention to this. Despite the activity is not as crowd as the building beside it, Bank Mandiri, the Djakarta Lloyd building in Kota Lama once become the office for the largest shipping company from Netherlands. Yap, Djakarta Lloyd building in Kota Lama once is a office for Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (SMN). What we see today is the new building that designed by Thomas Karsten and accomplished in 1930. A luxurious building as the symbol of the glorious of the company, see the videos below from the film titled Zoo reizen wij naar Indie, Java-Bali 1938 that depicting the SMN office in Semarang. The SMN itself later nationalized by the government of Republic Indonesia, and their asset were taken over by several state company, just like in Kota Lama, its owned by Djakarta Lloyd.  

The story of NV Stoomvaart Maatschappij Nederland (SMN),  Amsterdam begin in 1870 while its started to operate a regular steam shipping service between Amsterdam and Batavia. SMN is one of the oldest and largest shipping companies in Netherlands. The SMN established to fulfilled the demand of sea transportation, which is increasing significantly from Asia to Europe after the opening of Suez Canaal in 1869.  

A ship from the SMN leaving  the passenger terminal
of port Tandjoengpriok, taken before 1952 (source: Tropenmuseum)
From 1870 to 1970, together with the Rotterdam Lloyd, millions tons of goods were delivered, especially from the Dutch East Indies. Also hundreds of thousands of planters, businessmen, soldiers, officials and adventurers with and their families moved to the Dutch East Indies as well as others place of Dutch colony. The passenger ships, such as MS Orange, Ms. Johan van Barneveld and Ms. Marnix van St. Aldegonde, were known for their luxury and comfort for that time. SMN ended their operation on January 20th, 1970, while its merded with three other companies to form the Nederlandsche Scheepvaart Unie (NSU). NSU later changed its name into Koninklijke Nedlloyd or simply known as Nedlloyd, until now.