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.
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.
Prapatan electricity pole left (1941) and right (2020) Thanks to Marc Tierolf who attended us on the electricity pole at the bridge over the Ciliwung River near the Hotel Aryaduta in Prapatan. Despite a few new enforcements, new convectors and different warning signs,...
Jalan Raden Saleh in 1940 (left) and 2020 (right) If you think our obsession for Jakarta's history has reached worrying levels, then you might be right. Who else in the world would get so utterly excited by discovering colonial era relics from the time Jakarta was...
Bank Tabungan Negara (former Postspaarbank) at Jalan Gajah Mada 1980 Cars making a U-turn at the Harmoni intersection in front of the Bank Tabungan Negara 40 years ago. At that time the building was still in exactly its original state, before the newly built high rise...
https://youtu.be/TuMquBUsG5Y President Soekarno in a Dutch interview at Istana Merdeka, 1963 A short but rare interview in Dutch, given by President Soekarno (1901-1970) to Dutch journalist Willem Oltmans (1925-2004) in Jakarta's Merdeka Palace in 1963. Oltmans, who...
View of Gambir train station along Koningsplein Oost (Jalan Medan Merdeka Timur) in 1930 An early morning view of Koningsplein Oost (now Jalan Medan Merdeka Timur) of exactly 90 years ago, with train station Weltevreden (now Stasiun Gambir) on the right side of the...
https://youtu.be/nfpffVFkUoU The very oldest pictures of Batavia/Jakarta in full colour date from 1937. James Anthony FitzPatrick's series "The Voice of the Globe", of which yesterday we posted footage from 1939, already pictured Java with a Technicolor camera in...
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