In response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge: Symmetry.
The fact that I didn’t submit my entry on time has made me feel uneasy, so I think I should have enough preparation for this week’s theme. But it’s great, this week’s theme isn’t a difficult one, so I didn’t spend much time looking for a photo. In fact, I even didn’t look at my archives because I just happen to deliberately take a photo that contains this week’s theme, symmetry.
This is it: “The 3rd Stadhuis of Batavia.”
Classicism, in terms of building architecture, had been immersing in Jakarta’s old building’s since the 17th century. Nearly all colonial buildings in this once-were Batavia, Queen from the East, used colonial classicism, hence the symmetrical form, as the style of buildings at that time, such as this building, Gubernemen Hotel (Ministry of Finance’s A.A. Maramis I building), Merdeka Palace, Negara Palace, Bogor (Buitenzorg) Palace, and so on.
The usage of this style, in my opinion, maybe because of the aura that would be radiated by the building once it’s been completed, which is glorious, magnificent, and prestigious. Just what the Company wanted to be seen by the city’s inhabitant.
As for this building, I will explain it in short, because I think this one has been well-known to people around the world. This is Jakarta History Museum, which was called Stadhuis or City Hall, located in the old part of Batavia (Oud Batavia, the newer one is Weltevreden or Gambir Area, called Nieuw Batavia).This wasn’t the first city hall Jakarta once had, nor the last, but this was the third city hall, built at the very same place as its predecessors.
Constructed in 1707 at the tenure of Governor General Joan van Hoorn and inaugurated in 1710 by the Governor General Abraham van Riebeeck (the wooden inauguration plate is still can be seen at the first floor of the museum), it was the biggest building in town, and I think this building was possibly intended to have a similar appearance with the Dam Palace in Amsterdam (notice the small tower at the center-top of the building?).
Once a center in the entire Batavia, this building played an important role for the city, as the city hall was home for Raad van Justitie (the city’s court before moved into the site next to this one, now Fine Art and Ceramic Museum) and Raad van Schepenen (the city’s board of magistrate). Everyone with every intention which was related to nearly everything (wedding, law, stay permit, and so on) used to come to this building, and since the city’s people were usually couldn’t write, they would speak to the employee there, hence the building was also called “Gedung Bicara” (Speak Building).
Have you visited this building? If you haven’t, come and visit the museum! It’s open for visitors from Tuesday to Sunday from 9.00 a.m. to 3.00 p.m, closed in Mondays and in public holidays. Entrance ticket is only Rp5,000 (for local tourists) and Rp10.000 (for foreign tourists).
This building is always crowded by visitors, especially at weekends. It’s also a favourite place for… lovers, as they find the museum and the plaza as perfect places to be together, just to spend weekend there.
Well, I guess Sara Specx and Pieter Coertenhoeff can rest in peace now–couples can be together inside the city wall! Woo hoo. Your sacrifices to be beaten (and beheaded) at the front of the city hall weren’t entirely fruitless. Thank you.
The sad love story of Sara and Pieter is just one little tale for this city hall. There are still a lot of stories from this building, but I think I should save it for another post. Happy visiting, and enjoy Jakarta!
Here are some other photos from the Stadhuisplein (the Stadhuis’ plaza), a square exactly in front of the city hall, that has been crowded since the 16th century: