Peneleh, the last (re)treat in Surabaya

Erfgoed » Monumenten
Project start: 
23 maart 2011
In the very heart of the busy centre of Surabaya, the second largest city of Indonesia, with its millions of residents, there is a place to retreat. Peneleh, the large shady and oldest (1840) European cemetery, is surrounded by kampongs. Residents take rest on the tombs. Together with goats, chicken and laundry drying in the sun it is an attractive place to reside at least temporarily among those who are there forever in the ruins of grave monuments. Some of them belong to well known people, like governor general Merkus. The present day condition of this 19th century cemetery is rather deteriorating due to the lack of proper maintenance while it is not anymore in operation too. This put forward the question of the future destination of this area located very strategically in the development of the inner city. Due to its Masterplan 2016 the Surabaya city administration is politically committed to a green public space at this location. Even a museum like the cemetery at Tanah Abang in Jakarta is considered to be established here. But also a function to the dense populated areas around the cemetery is in mind. A project was prepared by the Surabaya university (Petra); MAAN Indonesia (a network of Asian Architects) and the City Government of Surabaya in order to redevelop the cemetery in conjunction with the residential area of kampong Peneleh. In October 2011 the city council of Surabaya organized a workshop in cooperation with the Technical University of Surabaya, addressing the future of the Peneleh cemetery. In this workshop was discussed how the cemetery can have a new meaning in the city and the neighbourhood. Following from this workshop, the neighbourhood is in need for a place where recreation can take place. The workshop concluded that the existing structures and features can potentially facilitate present needs for a space for leisure of the surrounding kampong and the city. Besides, a number of the grave tombs are of historical significance since they refer to Surabaya’s recent past. Therefore, it is the aim of the mayer of Surabaya to make Peneleh a place where leisure can go together with the preservation of funeral heritage, showing the distinctiveness of the cemetery of Peneleh, which has both Indonesian and Dutch influences. As a result of this, guidelines were made by A Dutch architect bureau, Strootman Landschaparchitecten, about how the cemetery can be take an integrated place in the neighbourhood. But before drawing a real refurbishment plan for the cemetery the existing conditions should be investigated and documented. For this reason, a second workshop in 2012 was organized. In this workshop the focus was more on the graves themselves; who was buried and in what state the graves were. This could then be used to determine which graves could stay and be restored. The way an inventory should be made was determined at the workshop, though this execution of this inventory still has to be executed at the presence. OBJECTIVES Redevelop the cemetery Peneleh in conjunction with the residential area of kampong Peneleh and make this into a place where leisure and preservation of funeral heritage can go hand in hand. RESULTS Two workshops have been organized, and a framework to make an inventory of the cemetary has been provided, though this still needs to be executed. See also: Leon Bok (Expert)
Contact person: 
Hans Versnel
Involved experts: 
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