Dutch cemetery rich with Jakarta history - Tourism Indonesia




Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Dutch cemetery rich with Jakarta history

Just inside the gates, visitors are greeted by romantic angels, Gothic turrets, sleeping children, marble crosses and heavy tombstones with baroque coats-of-arms, bringing to mind ancient cemeteries in Europe.

But don't expect to find lines of votive candles to remind us the dead still have living relatives who care.

This is an old Dutch cemetery located on Jl. Tanah Abang I in Central Jakarta.

The cemetery was officially opened Sept. 28, 1797, but people were first buried here as early as 1795.

On entering the cemetery, through a Parthenon-like portico (built in 1844), visitors get a rare glimpse of a bygone section of Jakarta's historic populace -- albeit in a neglected state.

Inside the portico is a bronze death knell with an atmosphere of mourning in times gone by.

Bodies of prominent figures were once buried here, including Maj. Gen. J.H.R. Kohler, the Dutch general who tried to conquer Aceh; archeologist W.F. Stutterheim, who wrote a famous book on the Hindu hero Rama; the founder of the famous STOVIA medical school, F.H. Roll; and J.L.A. Brandes, a famous archeologist who actively collected Hindu statues (a collection now in possession of the National Museum of Indonesia).

The headstones of several non-Dutch people can also be found here, such as Olivia Marrianne Raffles (the first wife of British Governor General Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles), activist Soe Hok Gie and the famous 1930s artist Miss Riboet.


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