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

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