Photo: Remco Vermeulen

DutchCulture: working visit in Jakarta

Remco Vermeulen, country advisor Indonesia, was on working visit in Jakarta and reported daily.
19 november 2018

Saturday 24 November 2018

Shared future
On my last day in Jakarta I had lunch with friends and colleagues, who work as architect, historian, artist or designer. A beautiful group of people, who taught me – and are still teaching me – a lot on their country: language, customs, history, food, architecture, and so on. This is so very valuable. 

Read part 3 of the trilogy I have written, about cultural exchanges between Indonesia and the Netherlands, the impact of personal connections and the shared future we are building together. 

Group photo in Menteng, Jakarta on 24 November 2018 

Friday 23 November 2018

Ghetto in the heart of the city
The Chinese community of Jakarta has been living in its own neighbourhood just south of Kota Tua, the historical inner city. It feels like a village within a city, with narrow alleys, a lot of small shops, market stalls, and places of worship, and a contagious vibrancy. Although the Chinese settled in the archipelago before the Portugese and Dutch, their position within Indonesian society has never been easy: discrimination is still happening

Chinese temple in Glodok, Jakarta on 23 November 2018 

Thursday 22 November 2018

Erasmus Huis as brand

Situated on the compound of and part of the Netherlands Embassy in Jakarta, Erasmus Huis is not just a cultural centre, a stage, a place to read, to learn, to start a conversation. Erasmus Huis actually is a brand, known in Jakarta and far beyond. Here you can read more about the festive reopening this week, after a five-month renovation. 

Read part 2 of the trilogy Remco has written, among other things about the independent Indonesia. 

The exterior and interior of the modernized Erasmus Huis, Jakarta on 21 November 2018 

Wednesday 21 November 2018

'Batavia' is hip

VOC Galangan, Batavia Marina, Bakoel Koffie, Café Batavia, Keukenhof Bistro: restaurants or cafes with names referring to the colonial past or to the Netherlands are abundant in Jakarta. And they are popular spots, not with (Dutch) tourists or as wedding location per se, but especially with (Indonesian) young people. Some of these restaurants are newly built, but a lot have settled in historical buildings. Attractively furnished with old photos or objects that refer to the Netherlands, but just as well with Indonesian portraits or art. Shared history while enjoying a cup of coffee (or 'kopi' in Bahasa Indonesia). 

Read part 1 the trilogy Remco wrote on his personal journey of discovery leading from his own family history to today’s dynamic debate of cultural cooperation, from the Dutch East Indies to Indonesia and the Netherlands. 

The interior of Koffie Bakoel in Cikini, Jakarta on 20 November 2018 

Tuesday 20 November 2018

'Jengki' style

By the end of the 1940s there was no longer room for colonial (New Indies style) architecture in Jakarta, the capital of the new Republic of Indonesia. While president Sukarno was working on monuments like Masjid Istiqlal and the National Monument with architect Friedrich Silaban, closeby the neighbourhood Kebayoran Baru was constructed. Amidst lush green, opulent villas in American-inspired, tropical-modernist 'Jengki' (after 'Yankee') style were built. Several of these houses can still be found, some beautifully restored, others completely derelict.  

Example of a Jengki style home in Kebayoran Baru, Jakarta on 19 November 2018 

Monday 19 November 2018

A bleak sight

On 16 January earlier this year Museum Bahari, the Maritime Museum in Jakarta, was partly destroyed by a big fire. The unaffected wings were opened to the public soon after, but ten monhts later, this part of the seventeenth-century complex still offers a bleak sight. 

The wings destroyed by the fire, Museum Bahari, Jakarta on 18 November 2018 


Urban park 
Last summer, to the occasion of the Asian Games (hosted by Indonesia for the first time since 1962), part of the Kali Besar in Kota Tua was revitalized: from polluted and dilapidated canal to an 'urban park' designed by PT Budi Lim Arsitek with crescent-shaped seating areas, pedestrian promenades and floating platforms.

Urban park Kali Besar, Jakarta on 18 November 2018