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. 

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