Photo: Back in the day.

Jakarta History Museum

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Jakarta History Museum (Museum Sejarah Jakarta) is housed in what was once Batavia’s Stadhuis, the Town Hall and administrative heart of the Dutch East India Company’s colonial empire.

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The museum traces the city’s multifarious and occasionally flamboyant history, from the prehistoric era to when it was part of Java’s Sunda kingdom, known as the trading port of Sunda Kalapa, through power shifts and name changes to Jayakarta, Batavia and finally Jakarta.

The building is easy to find. Photo taken in or around Jakarta History Museum, Jakarta, Indonesia by Sally Arnold.

The building is easy to find. Photo: Sally Arnold

The commanding, but somewhat austere whitewashed double-storey building with shuttered windows, a neoclassical portico and bell tower, overlooks Fatahillah Square (Taman Fatahillah, formerly Stadhuisplein) in Jakarta’s Kota Tua. The structure we see today began construction in 1707, and was inaugurated in 1710 replacing two earlier incarnations built in 1620 and 1626, and was based on the design of Amsterdam’s Stadhuis (now Koninklijk Paleis Amsterdam). For folks interested in architectural details, an information board in the museum points out comparisons between the two buildings.

As well as the general administrative functions of governance including registering marriages and collecting taxes, the complex served as a court, with a basement prison. Executions were performed in the square and were signified by the ringing of the bell in the rooftop tower. One famous inmate detained here was the Javanese and national hero Prince Diponegoro who led a five-year bloody rebellion against the Dutch known as the Java War (1825–30). After his stint here, he was transferred to Makassar where he later died. As you explore the building, don’t forget to check out the cells facing the back ... Travelfish members only (Around 500 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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Jakarta History Museum
1 Taman Fatahillah, Jakarta
Tu–Su 08:00–17:00
T: (0216) 929 101
Admission: 5,000 rupiah

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