Sunday, December 11, 2016

Bank Mandiri Kota Lama Semarang, former "De Factorij" of Nederlandse Handel Maatschappij

The office of Nederlandse Handel Maatschappij (NHM) in Semarang in 1910. Situated in the "gate" of the Kota Lama (eng: Old Town), made it one of the most famous buildings amongst other buildings in this neighborhood. The entrance under the tower is no longer exist. (source: Leiden University Library)
Ever been to Museum Bank Mandiri, Jakarta? This former head office of Nederlandse Handel Maatschappij (NHM), in the main entrance, its written on the wall “FACTORIJ”. Here in Semarang, once I saw also in the online archives of KITLV, mentioned this word also (factorij) referings  the office of NHM in Semarang. Dutch and English has the same roots, known as the West Germanic language, so the word factorij, I wondering if its also has the same meaning as factory, but I was wrong. In the dutch languages, factorij means an establishment for traders carrying on business in a foreign country, this word also used in the old days by the British but no longer again, as in the oxford dictionary explains. 

The lobby in the 2nd floor after the
renovation finish. Seems all preserved well.
Its make sense, since the NHM actualy established in 1824 by King Willem I of the Netherlands to promote and develop trade, shipping and agriculture overseas. The NHM actually the new version of Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) that went to bankcruptcy in 1799. NHM have a responsibility to expanding existing trade, as well as financing industry and shipping mainly to East Indie (currently Indonesia), the Dutch main trade route. King Willem I of the Netherlands of course have a vision to revitalized its glorious period of trade, like under the VOC period that brought the Dutch into its Golden Age. Then in 1830, the Governor General introduced the new policy called Culuurstelsel. Cultuurstelsel meant that the indigenous people lease 20% of its land to be used for products for the export commodities. These export commodities such as indigo (dye), tea, sugar, and the most favourites at that time coffee! De Amsterdamse koffieveilingen (eng: Amsterdam Coffee Auction) were world famous as the place to get a good quality of coffee. This also later became the background for the story of Max Havelaar that criticize the practice of cultuurstelsel as the indigenous people sufferings from that policy.

As the protest continues to growth, the cultuurstelsel then abolished in 1870. This started the new phase in Dutch Indies, that is the liberation of economy. NHM then engaged in financing and banking operations. Its even later became one’s of the top big five company in Dutch Indies, together with Lindeteves-Stokvis, Borsumij, Geo Wehry and Jacobson van Den Berg. In the late of 19th centuries, almost all of the major cities in Dutch Indies have the NHM branch on it, Semarang of course one of it. 

The view from the balcony above the
main entrance towards the Societeit Brug. 
Peoples oftenly calls it as Jembatan Mberok.
The building of NHM in Semarang located in former sites of Societeit Amiticia (thats why the bridge in front of it called Societeit Brug, brug=bridge). Facing to the west with a tower that visible from one’s of the Semarang major yet important street of Bodjong (now Jalan Pemuda), made it easily recognized from distance. The building start to construct in August 2nd 1908 as its written in the plaque inside the buildings. Designed by Prof. Jacob Frederik Klinkhamer in Netherlands, then He appointed D.W. Hinse to Semarang to became the inhouse architect who as the overseer of the buildings progress. The buildings has a beautiful fa├žade, with a row of wide expresionism style of arch shaped were dominated the view of it. The buildings now owned by Bank Mandiri, the heir of all NHM assets in the whole Indonesia after its been nationalized in 1960. Bank Mandiri  actualy merged from four different banks in July, 1999, such as Bank Bumi Daya (BBD), Bank Dagang Negara (BDN), Bank Ekspor Impor Indonesia (Bank Exim), dan Bank Pembangunan Indonesia (Bapindo). All of that four banks actualy owned the assets from the foreign company nationalization policy in the late 50’s decade. Thus, made Bank Mandiri had plenty of heritage buildings, all over Indonesia. This company anyway, such a good example how the corporation should take care of its asset, which belongs to the heritage sites. Just like their asset in Semarang, this former NHM buildings, just renovated and its re-inaugurated this November, 2016.

Wish the others will follow the steps

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Misplaced of Landraad Semarang

Landraad Semarang in 1904 taken from its backyard. Later the backyard built into Weeskamer building in 1907.
(source: Leiden University Library) 
Something that I love from learning history is that this subject were really dynamic. An acknowledgement about an events, about places, everythings in history could be change everytime when peoples reveals something new. Like a bunch of mistery to solved,We’ll never end to digging everythings related to history, there’s millions of opportunity it will find something new. All of the things actually start with one things, curiousity!

Landraad location depicted in  a 1909 map.
(source: Leiden University Library) 
Just like what I found recently, about the building so-called Landraad, one’s of the court that set by colonial government in the old days.  There’s a building in Kota Lama that known as the former Landraad buildings. Now the building turns into fancy restaurant and one’s of the favourite dinner place in the city of Semarang. The restaurant for sure servings the combination of good food and also 19th centuries antique environments.    

The zoom of the landraad building.
there's a sign in the wall written
"Zaal van den Landraad" and
the dungeon cells its also.
(source: Leiden University Library) 
Landraad basicaly is a superior court for the Non-Europeans peoples. Indigenous peoples under the area ruled by colonial government and other so-called natives and Foreign Orientals, including the Chinese were became its subject.  Landraad have been established in all capitals of Kabupaten (eng: Regencies) and in few other centres. They hold sessions weekly and are composed of jurist, who is the chairman, of the Bupati (eng: Regent) and of such important indigenous chiefs as have been appointed as members by or on behald of the Governor-General. The indigenous persons who make it a profession to give legal assistance were up to short time ago as a rule known very unfavourably. They had little or no knowledge of law and many of them were only there in order to promote litigation or to provoke existing action. Then, its always makes me wonder, that this building is too fancy to be a court, especialy during the old days when the indigenous peoples were treated as derde klasse people’s, as an Inlander

In every map, I hardly found any statement that this place once used as Landraad. Even more, I found that Landraad were located in Boebakan Weg (now Jalan Bubakan), about 500 meters to the souths. Misplaced? Thats what I thought for the first time. But then I strongly believed that its 100% misplaced, after I found out that this building, that once believed as Landraad actually is Landgerecht building, also kind of court but different purpose as well as its subject. Landgerecht is a court for petty criminals that established in 1914 replacing the role of Politierol that abolished in 1901. Landraad Semarang location is nearby the Central Gevangenis (eng: Central Prison) and its have its own dungeon cells also. Its totaly make senses due to people who prosecuted in Landraad  is the peoples with serious criminal case. A famous figures from the nationalist movements, Mas Marco Kartodikromo got His 8 months of jail sentenced here, in Landraad Semarang on 1916. I believes much more peoples from the nationalist movements were prosecuted here, due to Semarang at that time became the most progresives city for the nationalist activism, one's of the reason is the revival of Sarekat Islam afdeeling Semarang. But unfortunately, this building that has an important historical values was gone and even its surroundings totaly changed. The Central Gevangenis, Landraad and also Weeskamer buildings that once in one complex were demolished once its became a theme park called Taman Hiburan Diponegoro, simply known as THD. THD then declining in early 90’s decade and changed into shopping complex until today. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

The Forgotten Alun-Alun Semarang

The North-West part of Alun-Alun Semarang, with Muziektent (gazebo for music performance). Its depicted in the pictures that Alun-alun Semarang crossed by tram lines from the central station of Jurnatan to the west part of Semarang along Bodjong Weg (currently Jalan Pemuda) inaugurated on March, 3rd 1883.
There’s a popular place in Semarang called Simpang Lima means 5-way intersections. This centrum of Semarang having a big lawn in the middle of it, which became the famous rendesvouz for the people in Semarang, surrounded by plenty of hangout place. Most of the people recognize it as the Alun-Alun of Semarang. The location which is in the centre of “modern” Semarang, in the heart of its business district and also there’s a big mosque in the west side of it, made the peoples strongly believes that this was the Alun-Alun of Semarang. Alun-alun is a traditional characteristic of cities in Java. It can be seen in almost all cities in the island, well the existence of alun-alun for a city in Java is really a big deal, seen from its socio-cultural aspects. But actualy, the Alun-Alun of Semarang, isnt in Simpang Lima. 

Alun-Alun Semarang in 1867, occupied about 7 hectares land and in distance
its visible the complex of Kanjengan. (source: Leiden University Library)
Alun-Alun Semarang has long gone existed, likely since 16th century when the Kabupaten (eng: Regency) of Semarang established. The form of Alun-Alun Semarang were unique. Unlike the alun-alun form in general, which have square form. There’s an hypothesis that its related with the bigest uprising under the VOC rules in Dutch Indies, Geger Pecinan. The initial morphology of the cities were devastated, since Semarang became the front city, illustrated in the map that made in 1741. But beyond that, the Alun-Alun Semarang having its Javanese Morphology just like the others alun-alun in Java, its having big Beringin Trees (Ficus benjamina) in the center, and surrounded by notable buildings such as the Masjid Agung (eng: Great Mosque) , Pendapa Kabupaten (regency centre), Prisons and Market. 

Initialy, the Alun-Alun Semarang occupied 7 hectares area, and its not changed until in the end of 19th century. Then the north-east part of alun-alun were taken to built the new Post and Telegraph Office, Telephone office, and later also Central Bus Station were built in 20’s decade. In the South-West part of the alun-alun also taken to built the Stadstuin, the City Park. Then the alun-alun were reduced into 3,8 hectares area only. The Alun-Alun of course became a rendezvous point for people in Semarang. Alun-alun became an ideal place to hangout and socialized amongst people. Several events held in alun-alun recorded in photos of several archieves centre, such as horse racing, theatre, and bazaar. Even the transfer souvereignity from Dutch to Indonesia in 1949, here in Alun-Alun Semarang also became the place of ceremony with Letkol. Gatot Subroto became the representatives of Republic Indonesia government.

Alun-Alun Semarang in 1920. Here We could saw several Beringin trees  (Ficus benjamina) a typical trees that placed in alun-alun and also the fence of Stadtuin. In the distance also visible the roofs of Masjid Agung Semarang.
(source: Leiden University Library)
After the independence, the alun-alun role as open space were declined, its even suffering for desacralization. Mostly, the alun-alun area remains preserved and never been converted considering its outstanding value moreover in the Javanese society. But here in Semarang, its different. Started with demolition of Stadtuin and converted into Pasar Ya’ik Permai in 60’s decade, the South-east part of alun-alun also converted into the extention of Pasar Ya’ik, made Pasar Johar Semarang, the central market lost “its face”. Then the alun-alun area completely gone when in 1977 its built Hotel Metro in North-West part of alun-alun and also STIE BPD. 

Trace back the area now, where once Alun-Alun Semarang existed were completely different. Its even made We forgot that once, we have a place named Alun-Alun Semarang.

Monday, July 25, 2016

N.V. Volkshuisvesting and the Story of Gemeente Kampoeng

Gemeente Kampoeng in Semarang.
The improvement of Kampung/ Kampoeng (residential Area), which inhabited mostly by the indigenous people by the lower class in town or city was one of the concern of the Gemeente (eng: City Municipalty) Semarang. The improvement having serious attention after the Hendrirk Frerk Tillema, the chemist who also having role as Gemeente Raad (eng: City council) criticized the condition of those kampong, which also brought much problems related to the public health issues, such as bad sanitation, inadequate latrines, and also flood. Then the programs so-called Kampoeng Verbetering (Kampoeng Improvements) were launched, and improved the several old kampongs in Semarang such as Pungkuran, Karangasem, Rejosari, Petelan, and so on. But then, Ir. Thomas Karsten, the notable architect at that time, inisiated to build the Gemeente Kampong. Its a housing complex, were established several house in the various type, divided based on economic ability of its residents. The idea were combined the kampong type residencies that were existed for a long time in Indonesia, which is always having a communal space, and also the modern housing related with the materials, running waters, sanitation, street lighting and sewage system. The idea then discussed in “Congres voor Volkshuisvesting” held in 15-17th of April 1922 with one’s of the decision is to ask the “Sociaal Technische Vereeniging” or the Board of Social Engineering to provide the improvement of housing complex in Semarang. Then on December 8th 1925, its established the N.V. Volkshuisvesting with the initial capital 2 million Gulden. 

 The remains of original house in Lempongsari built by N.V. Volkhuisvesting
identified as Type I. Nowadays people still called the original house as
“Rumah Guminte”, dated back in the old days these houses were built as the
programs initiated by Gemeente (eng: City Municipality) 
The first set consisted of 141 properties in Mlaten, comprising of 48 houses “type O.O.” with a rental value of 3 Gulden per month, 51 houses “type O” with a rental value of 4 Gulden per month, 18 “Type I” with a rental value of 6 until 14 Gulden per month, and the houses “Type I” but with its own private lavatory with a rental value 8.50 per months and some tavern. These homes were all completed in 1929 and were immediately rented, as well as the homes of 2nd complex, whose construction started in 1929 which was completed in early 1930 arrived. Then its spread into the others complex such as Sompok, Koendjaranweg (now Jalan Rambutan), Ambengan (Halmaheira), Kintelan, Lempongsari, Kalilangse, and the fancy house in Tjandi Baroe.

House in Koendjaran Weg, currently Jalan Taman Sompok. 
Relations between people in the housing complex and the surrounding older, unplanned kampongs intertwined. People oftenly hired people from the older kampong to do domestic chores, such as driver, servants and security. That interactions, then gone after the Japanese occupied Indonesia, in 1942. The cleanliness, hygiene and order had to be dropped, especialy in the parts that functioned as Interneringskamp (eng: internment camp), like Halmaheira and Sompok. These complexes, once the sites of modern humanity, became places of inhumanity. The kampongs were sealed off from neighbouring housing by a high bamboo fence or barbed wire. Even by January, 1944 Kamp Sompok-Lampersari was the biggest womens and childerns internment kamp in Indonesia, residenced with 7.870 people, 341 of them were deceased.

Social changes continued after Independence of Indonesia. Many of the new residents of these so-called Gemeente Kampoeng were those who works for the city municilpality (Kotapraja). After the 1958 the number of europeans who lived in these kampoeng decreased siginficantly, when Soekarno expelled all of the Dutch descendants as the result of political conflict between Jakarta and Den Haag.
Especialy in Lampersari had many newcomers because the military took over the houses from the Dutch.

Gedenkboek der Gemeente Semarang 1906-1931 
Cars, Conduits, and Kampongs: The Modernization of the Indonesian City, 1920-1960. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

When The Blood Spills at Bugen Syuhada

Mass Grave for 40 victims from Massacre of Bugen Syuhada incident in Giri Tunggal Heroes Cemetery, Semarang.
(photos by: Yeremia Alfa)
Following the Independence of Indonesia on August 17th 1945, soon its also marked the outbreak of Indonesia National Revolution. The struggle lasted for over four years and involved sporadic but bloody armed conflict, internal Indonesian political and communal upheavals, and two major international diplomatic interventions. Dutch military forces were able to control the major towns, cities and industrial assets in Republican heartlands on Java and Sumatra, but could not control the countryside.

Hizbullah militians arrested by the Dutch Troops from
Tijger Brigade, after the raid somewhere in south-east of
Semarang, 1946. (source: Semarang Beeld van Een Stad)
Bugen, a villages in Pedurungan sub-district, eastern part of Semarang whereas one’s of the worst tragedy in the Indonesian National Revolution has happened. About 74 militians is perished during the raid by the Dutch forces from Tijgerbrigade on Thursday, December 5th 1946. During the Indonesian National Revolution, its not only the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) the regular armies were take a part, there’s also plenty of militians. The victims of tragedy which also known as the Massacre of Bugen Syuhada, is the militians from the Hizbullah and Sabilillah. Hizbullah, taken from the arabic words which means the Force of Allah, actually formed under the Japanese Authority, responding the demands from the Islamic factions to form the islamic forces. On December 8th 1944, then its formed the voluntary islamic forces, and became Japanese reserves armies headed by K.H. Zainul Arifin, one’s of the important figures in Nadhlatul Ulama (NU), the bigest Islamic organization in the world till today. If the Hizbullah was formed under the Japanese occupation as a reserves armies, Sabilillah, was not. Sabilillah was formed as the response of the high excalations between the indigenous people and the Allied forces, that came to restore the colonial power after the war. Sabilillah formed under K.H. Masykur, also from the NU organization, responding the declarations by K.H. Hasyim Asyari in October 22nd 1945, that the Indonesian National Revolution belongs to Jihad, the holy war. Sabilillah mostly taken its member from the pesantren , an Islamic boarding schools that very common in Indonesia, a place to learn about basic and Islamic studies,  philosophies, martial arts and meditation. 

The holes in the wall of H. Mustafa house at Bugen, the evidence of the
bloodshed that happened on December 5th 1946. (photos by: Yeremia Alfa)
Back to the Massacre of Bugen Syuhada stories, the Hizbullah and Sabilillah actually just came from Solo, planned assault to Semarang, the centre of the Dutch forces in Middle Java. They assaulted the British American Tobbaco (BAT) factory that turns into miltary headquarters. The assault failed and they retreated to avoiding the Dutch troops chased. They stayed overnight in Bugen village, on H. Mustafa house. Unluckily the Dutch troops captured their location, then a skirmished broke out and 74 militians perished. Most of them killed inside the house of H. Mustafa, as the bullets from the mitrailleur guns penetrated the wooden wall, hits the militians who take the house as a shelter. There’s a stories mentioned that, the Dutch troops later blast a dynamite to made such a big hole, as a place to buried the victims. 

Nowadays, the hole that caused by the bullets in H. Mustafa house still preserved. Actually there’s a plan to patch it, but then its canceled in the middle of the process, because of the owners willings to preserves it as the memory to the events. There’s a monument built nearby the H. Mustafa house, a place where the 74 bodies of the militians were buried but later on 1960, 40 of the skeletons moved into the Giri Tunggal Heroes Cemetery, near the centre of Semarang city. The Bugen village itself now also known as Bugen Syuhada. The people added Syuhada an arabic words for men who died in the way of Allah, to commemorate these massacre. 

  1. Jejak Perjuangan yang Terlupakan (1), Kisah Heroik di Bekas Lubang Peluru by Rukardi Achmadi
  2. Nadhlatul Ulama official sites (

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Semarang-Joana Stoomtram Maatschappij (SJS), the Pioneer of Steam Tram Development in Indonesia

The emplacement of  Semarang Central Station, owned by Semarang-Joana Stoomtram Maatschappij (SJS) in 1920. This central station served the city tram services as well as external lines to the cities to the east of Semarang. Unfortunately, nothings remains from this station after demolished in 80's decade. Source: Tropenmuseum
There was three major railway company in Semarang on the old days, Nederlandsch Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij (NIS), Semarang-Cheribon Stoomtram Maatschappij (SCS) and Semarang-Joana Stoomtram Maatschappij (SJS). NIS was the leading company at that time, its also became the company who built the first railways in Indonesia, or Dutch-Indies at that time. The main office of this company even much famous among the people nowadays, a building called Lawang Sewu means thousand doors. Also became landmark of Semarang city yet popular city destination. How about the rest? The SCS and SJS? Not so many people discussing about this two companies that also served the city of Semarang during the colonial period. After the independence of Indonesia, these company, NIS, SCS and SJS is amongst the eleven private railways company, together with the Staats Spoorwegen, the state railway company merged under Djawatan Kereta Api (DKA) Republik Indonesia on January 1st 1946. Currently the company change the name into PT. Kereta Api Indonesia (KAI).

Halte Genoek, the place where the first Buitenlijnen (External lines) 
of SJS Tram services was inaugurated on July 23rd, 1883. The condition is 
getting worse because of land subsidence that can go up to 14–19 cm/year. 
(photos by: Abdul Hakim Nurmaulana)
Now, I'm gonna explain about SJS first, the source taken from the book titled De Tramwegen op Java, issued on 1907 in order to celebrated the 25 anniversary of SJS. SJS established on September 28th 1881 in Gravenhage, Netherlands. This company headed by Mr. M. A. H. Baron van der Goes of Dirxland. Firstly, this company get a concession to built tram network in the area of Semarang until Joana (Juwana) on March 18, 1881. So, SJS is the pioneer of the tram network in Java Island, as well as Indonesia. Seems like this company get a inspiration from the Netherlands which at that time also developed its tramwegen network, and prove as the good commuter services. The SJS also using the narrow-gauge railway, 1067mm. Its different from the NIS at that time that using standard-gauge railway, 1435mm on their line that lies from Semarang-Surakarta-Yogyakarta and also Kedungjati-Ambarawa. Narrow-gauge is thus often used in mountainous terrain, where the savings in civil engineering work can be substantial.

SJS succesfully inaugurated their first line of city tram on December 1st 1882, in Semarang. The network lies between Station Central Jurnatan until Djomblang Station along 5 km. Then not so long from its inaugurated the inter-city tramway connection, start from Semarang until Genoek Station, on July, 23rd 1883 and in the same year its reached Demak, on September, 27th 1883. All of the lines using steam tram locomotives for the rolling stock, because all the lines were designed for the tram locomotives. SJS using such a Beyer, Peacock & Co. trams, that specially built, or modified, to work on a street, or roadside, just like all of the lines condition of SJS have in the beginning. The tram services by SJS were using the B12 series locomotives, produced by NV. Werkspoor from Netherlands and also the same type produced by Beyer-Peacock, England. This locomotief have classification as 0-4-0 locomotives, which 0-4-0 represents one of the simplest possible types, that with two axles and four coupled wheels, all of which are driven.

SJS tram passing Bodjong Weg or currently known as Jalan Pemuda. In the
left its visible the building of Lawang Sewu, the NIS head office.
(source: Leiden University Library)
According to the book that I was mentioned before as the source of thic article, during the 25 years services of SJS in Java island on 1907, the company already had 389 Km railway track in total, and the services as follows. The first one is, The Semarang city tram services, after the initial line from Semarang Central to Jurnatan, then its completed into Station Saramang NIS, Kleine Boom (harbour), and the last one West Bandjir Kanaal that inaugurated on November 4th 1899. Its interesting to know, that the city tram is also integrated to the another station from different company, like to Station Samarang NIS that already mentioned above and on 1914 it will be also integrated with Semarang West Station, runs by SCS that served railways connection to the west like Pekalongan, Tegal, Cirebon, Batavia (Jakarta), etc. The second one is, Buitenlijnen or external lines, after firstly its inaugurated from Semarang Central to Genoek, then its completed the lines into Juwana, on April 18th, 1884, and extended to Lasem on May, 1st 1900. After that its also developed its services not only from Semarang-Juwana (Joana) like the name of the company but also to Tayu, Welahan, Blora (through Purwodadi), Gundih, Kradenan and Cepu.

The former SJS werkplats in Pengapon Semarang.
(Photos by: Adityo Cahyo
The rapid development of the SJS in the late of 19th century, its seems not such a glorious on the following years. This company obliged to close the Semarang city tram services on 1940, due to the high amount of high operational cost. Its understandable, while another city tram like in Batavia and Surabaya already developed the double tracks and also electrified the tram, in Semarang, SJS still using the single track rails that of course is not accomodate much tram schedule, also still using the high cost steam tram, that using teak wood as its fuel. After the independence of Indonesia, this SJS lines failed to compete with the modern transportation mode, like bus. The type of the SJS rails which is not so wide (only 50mm width) and the position of the tracks which is side by side with the main roads, makes the train couldnt runs in maximum speed. Then now, only Blora-Cepu and Ngrombo (Purwodadi)-Gundih as part of SJS line, is remains in services.

Monday, January 25, 2016

The Englishman in Semarang

Thomas Whittecombe paintings about the Capture of Maria 
Riggersbergen, a Dutch frigate with 36 guns, in the port of 
Batavia as a part of Napoleonic Wars. (source: wikimedia)
The history relation between British and Indonesia have been so long created. In the literature we simply could found about the story about Sir Francis Drake reached Moluccas in 1579 on his circum-globe journey, which supposed to be the first Englishman officialy exploring Indonesia. Then also the story about their post in Banda in 18th century that then its sacked by Jan Pieterzon Coen, the exchanging between Pulau Run and Nieuw Amsterdam (Currently New York) through the Treaty of Breda in 1667, and also during the Napoleonic War, the British taken the DutchIndies, and creating such a notable person, Governor General in Java from 1812-1816, Sir Stamford Raffles with His famous book, The History of Java published in 1817. Then I am wondering as always, how about the story about the British peoples/company in Semarang?

Semarang Map in 1920, issued by NILLMIJ depicted two British Company in Semarang. Their office is situated in Oude Stadhuisstraat (now Jalan Branjangan) in Kota Lama (Old Town) neigborhood, and the company name is MacLaine & Co. and McNeill & Co. According to G. Roger Knight books titled Trade and Empire in Early Nineteenth-centtury South East Asia: Gillian MacLaine and His Business Network, there was a notable English company in Dutch Indies,  Maclaine & Co., an English trading company that established by Gillian Maclaine and Edward Watson in 1822. MacLaine's coming to Dutch Indies in actually earlier, even in 1821 Gillian Maclaine involved in a scheme hatched during the course of 1821 to rent further and very large tract of land for coffee growing from the ruler of Surakarta. After the establishment of Maclaine & Co. the business still related with the coffee, to became an export commodities. MacLaine & Co. beside growing its own coffee in their plantation in Melambong and Getas villages, both nearby Salatiga which also doing a coffee-buying to the others plantation, to accomodate the needs of export. In 1823, they opened their agents office in Semarang. Later Maclaine joined with the Scottisch owned company, McNeill & Co. one of firms that came to comprise the group of Asia-based enterprise that formed core of Maclaine Watson network. Thus, this two company having a same office building in Semarang. Their office even became the British Consulate in Semarang, its also depicted on the same map, as its mentioned before.

The opening of the first Jaarmaarkt in Semarang 1908, an exposition about the business potential in Semarang and its surround.  D.M. Campbell as the Head McNeill & Co. in Semarang sitting in second position from the right.
(source: Leiden University Library)

But then not so far from the MacLaine & Co. and McNeill & Co. office, there is another British company office. The insurance company named Liverpool & London & Globe Insurance Co. established their representation office in Semarang, also in Oude Stadhuisstraat. Date back to 1836, the year the Liverpool Fire and Life Insurance was established, within a few years, through several acquisitions, it became a prominent actor in the insurance sector. Among these companies taken over was the London, Edinburgh & Dublin Insurance Company in 1847. In 1864, following a successful bid for the Globe Insurance Company, a London-based insurer founded in 1803, the company then became The Liverpool & London & Globe. The Liverpool & London & Globe had a strong presence not only in the UK, where it was one of the main insurance companies, but also in the British empire, especially in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and even in the US, where its first branches had opened in 1848. In 1919 the Liverpool & London & Globe was acquired by The Royal, a company based in Liverpool and one of the greatest British exporters of insurance, in what was the largest merger in British insurance history. But then in 1919, the company acquired by the Royal Insurance group until the 1996, when the merger between this company and the Sun Alliance changed the name again into Royal & Sun Alliance Insurance, and started from 2008 its simplified the name into RSAInsurance Group, until now.

An effort to preserved the marble plaque of Liverpool & London & Globe
Insurance in Kota Lama, January 17th 2016. Behind that, still visible
the remains of the remains letter configuration forming Roode Driehook,
that makes the people misinterpretated about the name of the building. 
Still dont know when the company is left from Indonesia, but the big possibilities its also nationalized during the early stage of the Indonesia indepence. The building of Liverpool & London & Globe Insurance  always mistaken as the Roode Driehook, since likely for the needs of the movie set in Kota Lama, the creative team placing a sign name Roode Driehook in the walls of the building. The words sounds so dutch, and the people thoght that its named as Roode Driehook since the establishment of this building. Also, its became one’s of the favourite place to taken photos since the Kota Lama now became one’s of the tourism destination in Semarang. But still, the acknowledgement of the building remains unimportant for most of the visitor, even the plaque that stated if the building is the office of Liverpool & London & Globe Insurance was heavily damaged by the vandalism, but on January 17th 2016, its cleaned by Lopen Semarang History Community. Actually, its already twice We cleaned this marble plaque from the vandalism, wish it will be the last time for Us to clean it up. 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Jatingaleh, The Waterloo van Java

The Waterloo Plein, now known as Lapangan Banteng in Jakarta. Its named after the White Monument with The Lion Statue on the top of it to commemorate the Prince of Orange (later  reigning as Willam II of Netherlands) who take a part on Waterloo Battle in 1815. The monument then torned down during the Japanese occupation.
(source:Leiden University Library)
The British Troops invaded the Dutch Indies on March, 1811 from India as a part of Napoleonic War. The Netherlands had been controlled by France for several years and was already at war with Britain. Thus, Dutch Indies, now is under the French rules and also became the enemy of the Britons. If in Europe its well known the Waterloo as the last battle of the French against the Coalition Army, ending the Napoleonic War in Europe, here in Semarang, actually there’s a Jatingaleh Battle, the last major battle before the Dutch Indies officialy all into the British hands.

The tombstone of Liutenant-Colonel William
Campbell, of His Britannic Majesty’s
78th Regiment in All-Saint Anglican Church
Jakarta. Campbell died on August 28th 1811
during the Siege of Meester Cornelis.
After the failure to repeled the British attack at Meester Cornelis (nowadays Jatinegara, Jakarta), General Jansens and His troops were escaping to Semarang. Semarang at that time is already became the principal central station of the Java Island, belongs as a large town, with a considerable European population. It is defended by a stone parapet and rampart, with bastions, and a wet ditch, but only calculated for defence against a native power. Here in Semarang, Jansens had collected a considerable force, principally from the native prince. Among whoms, were Prince Prang Wedono (Mangkunegara II) who have a strength 1500 men well trained army called Legion Mangkoenegaran. This is the first regular army in western style in owns by native kingdoms, who established in 1808 and its likely inspired by French Grande Armee.

The British troops chasing the Jansens retreat to Semarang, led by Captain Maxwell, this “Red Coats” army were sailed to Semarang on September 10th 1811. On th September 13th the British troops, now under the command of Colonel Gibbs, landed at Semarang, but then realized that the French Troops is already abandoned the city. The Jansens were made a last attempt to repels the British attack in the hilly and difficult terrain in south of Semarang, Gombel Hill. The Jansens has choosed the battlefield were He can takes the advantages of this hilly terrain and the flanks of the position were protected by the extreme difficulty of the approach, and could not be turned in any other way than by a road of many miles through an intricate country. The road toward Gombel  itself  which is part of the main road to Solo, were barried with many chevaux de frise, a medieval defensive anti-cavalry measure consisting of a portable frame (sometimes just a simple log) covered with many projecting long iron or wooden spikes or spears. Jansens also prepared thirty pieces of cannon, regularly placed on platform. Almost impossible the British troops could beat them in such this condition, but on the other hands, a lots of the French army under Jansens were tiresome of the battle. Many of the army were actually the Dutch army that due to their country were occupied by the French, so now they served into the French Army. For them its not make sense to fights to the death against the British Army superiority, because of actually they were not fights for their homelands, but for their country occupants, the French.   

An aerial photos from Leiden University Library archives depicted the Djatingaleh KNIL kampement (now used as military facilities of Batalion ARHANUDSE, an Air Defence Artillery Department ) in 1930-1932. Comparing with the sketch of enemy position in the William Thorns books titled Conquest of Java, the X sign above is the position of French Troops in Gombel Hill, and the X below is the position of Jatingaleh valley (on the sketch is spelled as Jatty Nallee). Now the valley is built a highway that became a part of Semarang Toll Road . 
September 16th 1811, at two o’clock in the afternoon, Colonel Gibbs moved their troops to attacking the French position in Jatingaleh. About 1200 firelock (muzzle-loading firearm) and six guns were prepared for this. The Colonel halted in fornt of the position before the dawn, in order to reconnoitre, which was essentially necessary previous to an assault, as no information,  on which any reliance was to be placed, could be obtained at Semarang. A detachment with two guns, was sent to occupy a hill, which appeared to overlook the left of the enemy line. The remaining guns were brought to throw shot at a great elevation accros the vallet into the French Troops position. Soon as the guns were firing at the enemy position, Colonel Gibbs rushed accross the valley and up to the main road till they nearly reached the summit of the hill. They halted and allow the main body to advance. The enemy was surprised, they even didnt open fire till the British Troops under shelter.The British Troops the crossing the Valley of Jatingaleh, Colonel Gibbs ordering general advance on the enemy position. 

British Redcoat uniforms,
by Cpt. R.H.Raymond Smythies, 1894
The French Troops now distracted their collumns, leaving their guns behind and retreating in all directions. Its all proved that the discipline and the morality of the French Troops in the lowest level during the whole battle in Java. Comparing to the Siege of Meester Cornelis that in total British Troops lost 156 of his men , 788 wounded and 16 missing in August 27th 1811, this battle was nothing. Some sources account that only the Legion Mangkoenegaran maintain their disciplines, but soon its also crushed by the Red Coats. Jansens fleed to the south, to Fort of Salatiga and finding himself totally deserted by His men. He sent the same night a request to the British Troops for a cessations of arms and an offer to treat for a capitulation. The request were sent to the Liutenant General Sir Samuel Auchmuty, that  saw this is the chance for the British Troops to shortened the conquest of Java, even the British Army still preparing to taken the city of Surabaya, another major harbour city in Java. The capitulation finaly taken place at Tuntang, a small city in the west of Salatiga on September 18th 1811. After that, the Dutch Indies, now is officialy under the "Union Jack", and on October 11th 1811, the Lord Minto, the Governor General of India appointed Sir Stamford Raffles as the Governor General of Java.  

Source: The Conquest of Java by William Thorns

Friday, January 8, 2016

Semarang Weeskamer, Served The Cities for Almost Hundred of Year

Semarang Wees- en Boedelkamer buildings in 1910. (source: Leiden University Library)

It was institution named Wees- en Boedelkamers, means the board in charge of orphans and property in trust. Nowadays, we known this institution changed the name into Lembaga Balai Harta Peninggalan, in Semarang, located in Jalan Hanoman 25. This institution is under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, and one’s of the oldest institution that still running its role nowadays. Wess en Boedelkamer or also known as Weeskamer is established during the period of Vereenigde Oost Indische Compagnie (VOC), in the 17th century.  At that times, there is needs for the population, especially among the Dutch people, to takes care of their wealth that about inheritable to their heirs, either here in Dutch Indies, or in Netherlands, for the orphaned childern, and so on.Thus they formed the Wesskamer institution on October 1st, 1624, in Jakarta under the rule of Pieter de Carpentier as the Governor-General of Dutch Indies.

Charles Ferdinand Pahud, Governor General
of  Dutch Indies 1856-1861.
Here in Semarang, the Weeskamer is established in May 17th 1763. Through the Weeskamer, the wealth of every citizens in a city is recorded, as well about their private life, likely a civil administration role at this time. Yap, Dutch people having a good reputation in about these administratie thingy. Here, in the Weeskamer of Semarang, there’s a story about Daniel Abraham Ferdinand Pahud, that became the Head of this institutions in the early of 19th century. His sons, Charles Ferdinand Pahud later became Governor-General of Dutch Indies from  1856-1861. Under His rules in Dutch Indies, the slavery were abolished in 1860.

But where’s the location of the Weeskamer buildings in Semarang? Just like nowadays, the institution is under the Ministry of Law and Human Rights, at that time the Weeskamer commonly situated near the Courts facilities. Here in Semarang, the Weeskamer is located next to the Centraal Gevangenis, the major prison in Semarang, in Jurnatan. Unfortunately, there’s no proof anymore about this building. The building has long time ago demolished, just like my post here before, that Jurnatan, is one’s of the biggest loss in Semarang, related to the Historical sites. Above the sites now is turned into the busy business district. 
Komplek Pertokoan Jurnatan, one's of the busiest business district in Semarang, built above the sites of demolished Weeskamer of Semarang and also the Centraal Gevangenis of Semarang.