Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower

Amsterdam view from Amsterdam Tower
The view from Amsterdam Tower

Saturday, October 22, 2011



My last visit to museum in Jakarta was to Fatahillah Museum (Batavia Museum).  All my life in Jakarta, I visited this museum twice only.  The first one was during a school trip many years ago.  The second one was during my Dutch friend’s visit to Jakarta.  If he did not request for this specific trip, I would not have thought to go. 

Fatahillah Museum, Jakarta

The official name of this museum is “Jakarta History Museum” (Indonesian: Museum Sejarah Jakarta).  But it is also known as Fatahillah Museum or Batavia Museum.  It is situated in the Old Town (known as Kota) of Jakarta, Indonesia.  The building was built in 1710 as the city hall of Batavia (Jakarta).  Link to Fatahillah Museum: and

It is still clear from my childhood memory that there are underwater rooms underneath the museum.  They are actually cells which located beneath the front portico were used as dungeons.  A Javanese freedom fighter Prince Diponegoro, who was treacherously arrested, was imprisoned here in 1830. Takut banget deh ngebayangin penjara bawah tanah ini....

Cannon in front of the museum

I like the public square in front of the museum.  The square is now known as Fatahillah Square (Indonesian: Taman Fatahillah).  It reminds me of Dam Square in Amsterdam.  Dam Square has frequently been the location of events of all kinds, and a meeting place for many people.  There were some performances like singer/guitar performance, pantomime artists, etc.   Just sitting there, watching people passing by, acting like a fashion police - was quite entertaining.

If we stand in the main gate of Fatahillah Museum and look at the Square, we will see Café Batavia in the opposite side.  It is a nice old building from the colonial past in 19th-century.  First floor is as a coffee shop and upstairs for dining.  This place considered as one of the hottest places to hang out the 90’s.  It is still nice to go there for afternoon coffee after visiting the Museum.

Cafe Batavia at the opposite of Fatahillah Museum

Going back to Fatahillah Museum, during regular weekend, we can rent bicycle (such as sepeda onthel – this type of bicycle was commonly used in most cities in Indonesian until the 70’s) to go around the ‘old town area’ or just to take pics.  In some other weekends, there have been events held in Fatahillah Square.  I think they were held during the Jakarta Anniversary Day or Indonesian Independence Day. Let’s dream big - Jangan mau kalah sama Dam Square, Amsterdam!  Taman Fatahillah itu sesuatu banget lho...

Crowds during a bazaar at one Sunday afternoon

May my personal wish came true as this museum will be closed for two years to allow for conservation work to be carried out on the badly damaged museum complex.  Conservation work will begin in 2012 and is expected to finish in 2014.



As far as I recall, my first visit to museum was when my teacher organized a day trip.  I was maybe 11-12 years old.  I vaguely remembered exactly when and what we did the whole day.  But I remember we visited Satria Mandala Museum or Armed Forces Museum.

This museum is the nearest to our school anyway.  I could even go there by cyclo!  It is located in Jalan Gatot Subroto, one of the main business streets in Jakarta business district.

This museum was opened in 1972 and has collection of arms, including Japanese fighter planes of World War II vintage, Russian and American guns and armored cars.  Dioramas give the visitor an insight regarding the role of the Indonesian Armed Services in this country.

Another part that I remember clearly about this school trip; my mom purchased a small thermos for me, so that I could bring cold water.  Thanks Mom, it took years to say this to you.

Mom..., this little girl has grown up from an ugly little duck to a beautiful swan.

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