Taman Cut Meutia 1913

Taman Cut Meutia 1913

Taman Cut Meutia (Entree Gondangdia) in 1913

Construction of new houses in the district of New Gondangdia started off very slowly in the first three years. In 1911 16 houses were built, of which 11 on what is now Taman Cut Meutia (formerly Entree Gondangdia and from 1932 onwards Van Heutszplein). In 1912 34 new houses were delivered, in 1913 66. These new houses were built immediately southwest of the train line next to the new building of De Bouwploeg (now Mesjid Cut Meutia) along newly constructed streets like Nieuwe Tamarindelaan (now Jalan Sam Ratulangi), Tandjonglaan (now Jalan Tanjung), Villalaan (now Jalan Cendana) and the prestigious double-lane “Boulevard Gondangdia” which became Van Heutszboulevard in 1924 and Jalan Teuku Umar in 1950.

De Bouwploeg

Most of these streets were not longer than 100-200 metres in 1913, and would then end in sawahs, fish ponds and coconut plantations, as the majority of New Gondangdia and Menteng still characterised at the time. However drilling work could be witnessed at several locations, to prepare the soil for upcoming building works. Construction of the building of De Bouwploeg itself started in April 1912 and was completed in November 1913. This picture dates from 1913 and shows De Bouwploeg in the distance nearing its completion with some bamboo scaffolding left around the dome. The two trams than ran along the middle section of the double road belonged to the line that connected Tanah Abang with Cikini/Kali Pasir.

Palm trees

This new Entree Gondangdia still had a more less countrified appearance in 1913, however the street would soon be lined with majestic palm trees, also known as ‘koningspalm’ in Dutch or ‘palem raja’ in Bahasa Indonesia, and would give the scene a more prominent and stylish character

source: from a postcard in the collection of Leiden University

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (6)

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (6)

Houses on Jalan Kramat 7 (Laan Wiechert)

From 1947 onwards a number of houses on Laan Wiechert (now Jalan Kramat VII) were occupied by Moluccan/Maluku families. And even today there is a lively Moluccan community in the area. Following the events of Indonesia’s independence in August 1945, many residents from predominantly Christian districts in Indonesia, like Minahasa (North Celebes/Sulawesi), Timor and Ambon, who were traditionally well represented in the Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) were accused of ‘sympathising’ with the Dutch during the bersiap years (1945-1949). Many of them felt unsafe in Jakarta and were threatened and bullied by local residents. After a Moluccan family was terribly killed in Jatinegara and thrown into a well, an estimated 120 Moluccan families fled to Kramat.

Japanese internment camp

As the side streets of Kramat had been part of a Japanese internment camp during World War II, the streets were still partly fenced off and secluded, hence many felt safe to gather in this area. The community installed guards and built the Eben Haezer Church on Jalan Kramat VII in 1948, which still stands today. Following the events of the declaration of the Republik Maluku Selatan (RMS) in 1950, the Kramat area was the scene of many Moluccan protests and gatherings, like on this picture from November 1950taken in front of the house on Jalan Kramat VII 23. The name Jalan Kramat VII was only given to the street around 1960.

Name changes

Following the mass change of street names in independent Djakarta in July 1950, Laan Wiechert changed into Djalan Sofir. Also Jalan Kramat V had an intermediate name: Kramatlaan changed into Djalan Mutiara in July 1950, before it obtained its current name 10 years later.

sources: Google, Moluks Historisch Museum, BBC Indonesia

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (5)

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (5)

Jalan Kramat 5 (Kramatlaan) number 14

When researching the development of architect P.A.J. Moojen’s houses in Kramat, there are unfortunately many gaps. Especially as over the years very few photos were taken. There is a decent series of pictures from 1912, taken just after the completion of the houses on Kramatlaan (Jalan Kramat V) and Laan Wiechert (Jalan Kramat VII). Since then, not a single history book on Batavia and Jakarta published about these architecturally interesting monuments. Hence we are dependent on current and previous residents, their cameras and their well kept archives. Fortunately there are some photos of the house on Kramatlaan (Jalan Kramat V) number 14. This was the first Moojen house on the right side of this street when approaching from the main Kramat road (now Jalan Kramat Raya).

Maria Dermout

One of the first residents were the Van Velthoven family in the 1910s. In 1933 this house was owned by the famous Dutch novelist Maria Dermout (1888-1962) and her family. We see her standing in the middle of the top right photo. Between 1942 and 1945 it was part of the Japanese internment camp Kramat and a few dozen families lived in this house under poor circumstances. During this time many original fittings, especially timber and glass, were removed.


In the late 1950s house number 14 was the office of SOBSI (Sentral Organisasi Buruh Seluruh Indonesia), the largest trade union federation in Indonesia at the time. In the decades after the house has been severely altered, and today there is not much that reminds of the original Moojen design. We are grateful that the granddaughter of Maria Dermout shared the 1933 photo with us. Also a big thank you to Pak Larry Jacob for providing us with the 1950s photo, which was taken from the first floor of the opposite house on number 1, which has been in his family since 1948.

Idul Fitri Tanah Abang Bukit 1970s

Idul Fitri Tanah Abang Bukit 1970s

Tanah Abang Bukit in 1900 (left) and in the 1970s (right)

Since the publication of our book 250 YEARS IN OLD JAKARTA we have been approached by many people from all over the world who, after reading the book, wanted to share their experiences and their childhood stories in Tanah Abang. Some only have vague memories, others know all facts and have photos to prove too. @Zaky Awab from Jakarta kindly shared with us a photo of his late father Awab Al Kuddeh (1934-1984) who is praying with many others as part of Idul Fitri in front of one of the 18th century two-storey houses on Tanah Abang Bukit (formerly Tanah Abang Heuvel). Pak Awab was married to the daughter of Tanah Abang Kebon Dalam resident and landowner Ali Al Djawas.

Van Imhoff

Behind him we see the western wing of the former estate that was built by Governor General Van Imhoff in the 1740s. It was subsequently in possession of the Van Riemsdijk family (late 18th and early 19th century) and the Bik family (mid 19th century to first half 20th century). From 1954 these houses were part of the headquarters of Indonesia’s Air Force (AURI) and from 1969 till 1978 the Air Force Museum (Museum AURI). This photo dates from the 1970s but it is not exactly known from what year.

German consulate

The historic photo shows the same house from nearly the same angle in the year 1900 and was taken by the German biologist K. Giesenhagen who was the guest of German consul Von Syburg, who lived in this house from 1899 till 1903. The two houses were demolished shortly after 1983 and the site is now occupied by concrete ‘ruko’ (rumah toko) blocks of Pasar Tanah Abang Blok E.

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (4)

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (4)

The house of Herman Salomonson at Jalan Kramat 24 in 1924

One of the largest and most beautifully designed houses of architect P.A.J. Moojen in Kramat was the one on Kramatlaan 24 (now Jalan Kramat V 24). It was at the end of the street, close to the Ciliwung River, and together with the house on the opposite side of the road (Kramatlaan 15, also known as the “Haunted House”, see our previous post), it had the largest plot of land. When seated in the spacious garden, residents of this house were able to hear the calming sound of the nearby river. Most of these houses were inhabited by influential Batavia/Jakarta residents at the time, of which a few were members of the Raad van Indië (Council of the Indies).

Herman Salomonson

Between 1923 and 1926 this house on Kramatlaan 24 was the residence of Herman Salomonson (1892-1942), also known under his pseudonym Melis Stoke. Salomonson was a dynamic personality, novelist and editor-in-chief of newspaper Java Bode. He also wrote rhyming chronicles, published in the papers at the time, and this made him a household name in the Dutch East Indies during the mid 1920s. Salomonson left Batavia in 1926 after the founder of news agency Aneta, Dominique Berretty (1890-1934) had asked him to become the director of Aneta’s branch in The Hague.

World War II

The events of World War II sadly cut his life short. Herman Salomonson, a Jew, was murdered by the Germans in 1942. The photo shows Herman Salomonson and his family in better times, relaxing in the garden with the majestic Moojen house at the back. Part of this house still stands today (see the photo in the comment section) but it has been severely altered and despite some characteristic Moojen elements left, the house has lost all of its former grandeur.

source: Gerard Termorshuizen, “A humane colonial, life and work of Herman Salomonson, a.k.a. Melis Stoke”, Amsterdam 2015

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (3)

Moojen’s houses in Kramat (3)

The so-called ‘Spookhuis’ (Haunting House) in Kramat, ca 1912

None of the 22 two-storey houses on Kramatlaan (Jalan Kramat V) and Laan Wiechert (Jalan Kramat VII) were identical. They all had their own unique design, ornaments and fittings. The house on this photo is called “Spookhuis” (Haunted House) and we can only guess why. The photo is from circa 1913 and shows a family with four children, two of their servants and two visitors, probably a couple or extended family. What we know is that this is a house on Kramatlaan (Jalan Kramat V) but we don’t know exactly what house number. There were 14 two-storey houses along the western end of this street and all were unique; 13 houses do still stand today, although most in a heavily altered or deteriorated state, hence it is challenging to determine which of these would nominate.


Most likely this is the house on number 15, closest to the Ciliwung River. This house was designed by Moojen and built in 1909. This particular one is larger than most others in the street due to the extended patio on the right side of the house. It is also one of few houses in this street with four windows and four panels with stained glass windows on the left front side above the entrance and front gallery. What we do know is that this family did not own the house but rented it for approximately 125 guilders per month. The original building company still owned all houses in this street. If anyone knows more about this particular house or this family, please let us know. All photos, and some more, are included individually in the comment section too.

source: Leiden University