Lost Jakarta Publishers.

Our first book is now available. 250 YEARS IN OLD JAKARTA by Sven Verbeek Wolthuys is for those who love Jakarta’s history and are searching for its lost past. It describes the adventures and tragedies of a Dutch family in colonial Jakarta (Batavia), with emphasis on the family’s prominent and influential presence in Tanah Abang, the area of Batavia where they settled. 

stories that have never been told before.

Jakarta is changing at a fast pace and historic remnants are also rapidly disappearing. Since the late 1970s the appearance of Jakarta has undergone an unrecognizable metamorphosis following the mass demolition of colonial era architecture and Chinese style shophouses. It has sadly also led to a severe loss of character.

Consequently modern day residents and visitors have no idea how beautiful Jakarta once was, nor are they inspired or motivated to explore its history. Rules are often circumvented and protected architecture pulled down overnight under suspicious circumstances to make way for ugly concrete characterless dwellings. Or as the late doyen of Jakarta’s history, Father Adolf Heuken SJ (1929-2019), put it very strikingly in his masterpiece Historical Sites Of Jakarta (1982):

“What makes Jakarta special should be saved and looked after. Its few old and existing buildings full of charm and color should not fall victim to ‘developers’ who only care about a quick profit. Let’s not sacrifice what for the coming generations is a valuable asset!”

Lost Jakarta provides a peek into the history of Indonesia’s capital. Rare photos, forgotten stories, and precious audio and video. Explore our social media channels and read a sample of our new book 250 YEARS IN OLD JAKARTA.

About

Lost Jakarta Publishers.

Lost Jakarta Publishers is a new and independent publishing company. We focus on the history of Indonesia, and in particular that of Jakarta and the islands of Java and Bali. We are also active on social media where we regularly post rare photos and forgotten stories about the history of Jakarta, as well as atmospheric videos from the era of the Dutch East Indies. Our aim is to ensure Jakarta’s rich history and architecture will not be forgotten.

Sven Verbeek Wolthuys is passionate about Jakarta’s history. This is not surprising as almost all of his ancestors were born in Indonesia or have lived there for a short or longer term. Sven’s great-x6-grandfather emigrated to Jakarta in 1776 (!), nearly 250 years ago.

Since he was a little boy Sven has been fascinated by the stories of his grandparents and aunts and uncles about their time in Indonesia. At high school he started to read Indies literature (think of Couperus, Daum, Multatuli and Szekely Lulofs), and as soon as he was old enough went to Jakarta to explore the traces his family left behind.

Sven decided to research his family’s history and that of the district of Tanah Abang (where the family owned a large estate for nearly a century). This research, over several decades, has resulted in the book 250 YEARS IN OLD JAKARTA.

blogs/pictures/video’s.

Jalan Majapahit 1936

Jalan Majapahit 1936

Renowned architect J.F.L. Blankenberg (1888-1958) was responsible for many modern two-storey houses in Menteng, most notably the ones on Taman Suropati numbers 3 and 7, which are now the official residences of the American ambassador respectively the Governor of...

Kali Besar Zuid 1940

Kali Besar Zuid 1940

The section between Kali Besar and Pancoran these days is called Jalan Pintu Kecil. However in colonial Jakarta this stretch existed of two parts: "Pintoe Ketjil" between Kali Besar and the intersection Asemka-Petak Baru-Petongkangan, and "Kali Besar Zuid" between...

Molenvliet Canal 1938

Molenvliet Canal 1938

An original colour photograph of the Molenvliet canal in Batavia/Jakarta in 1938. This photo is from a rare collection of so-called stereolight views which could be viewed with a stereoscope to create the illusion of a 3D image. Washing ladies along the Molenvliet...

Pasar Baru at night 1941

Pasar Baru at night 1941

Pasar Baru evening lights, 1941 An atmospheric picture of a cosy and bustling shopping street at night in a Jakarta that soon would be invaded by the Japanese. The photographer stands halfway Pasar Baru, looking in a southerly direction. On the right at number 69 the...

Jalan Teuku Umar 1920

Jalan Teuku Umar 1920

The northern side of Jalan Teuku Umar (Boulevard Gondangdia) in 1920 Water spraying at the northern end of what was called Boulevard Gondangdia 100 years ago. We recognise the majestic premises of the building company N.V. De Bouwploeg (now the Cut Meutia mosque)...

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