Three girls in front of the clockmaker shop J.Groeneweg on Jalan Majapahit in 1947

Three lovely girls having a laugh in front of the shop of clock and watchmaker Mr. J. Groeneweg on Rijswijkstraat 5 (now Jalan Majapahit). This workshop was just south of society De Harmonie, which was on number 1 on this street. In between was the office of the Kadaster (Land Registry) on number 3. The three girls are all three stylishly dressed, the left girl in a typical late 1940s fashionable dress, the other two girls in traditional batik jarik andkebaya, which was a common way of dressing for women in Indonesia, even until well in the 1970s. It’s a pity that this is entirely absent on the streets in modern day Jakarta.


Mr. J. Groeneweg already operated his clockmaker workshop at this address in the early 1930s. In 1951 the name of this shop changed into “Saparoea, formerly J. Groeneweg”, and was operated by Mrs. Th. Groeneweg-Sahaneja, who obviously was family, maybe his wife, or a sister-in-law. We can only guess what has happened. Newspapers and telephone books do not reveal this. The street Rijswijkstraat was known as the Fransche Buurt (French Neighbourhood) from the second half of the 19th century onwards, due to the presence of many French shops and boutiques, of which Leroux Bakery and Oger Frères tailors were the most well-known. It was a stylish and luxury shopping street, certainly until the early 1940s. In 1950 the name of this street changed into Djalan Harmonie, which would have been an appropriate streetname until De Harmonie itself was tragically demolished in 1985, but by 1951 the street already obtained its current name Jalan Majapahit (then spelled as Djalan Madjapahit).


We don’t know how the lives of the three girls continued. It could well be that they are still alive today. If so, they most likely are now in their early 90s.

photo: Cas Oorthuys, source: Netherlands Photo Museum