More than 200 years ago the Bik family left the Netherlands and crossed oceans to seek a new life in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. They were draughtsmen, artists, and government officials, and eventually wealthy landowners. Tanah Abang, the area of Batavia (now Jakarta) where they settled, is an intrinsic part of their story.
250 YEARS IN OLD JAKARTA 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, with emphasis on the family’s prominent and influential presence in Tanah Abang. While 98% of historic buildings in Tanah Abang sadly no longer exist today, the many unique and never before published pictures in this book not only provide a glimpse into a bygone era, but also gives the history of Tanah Abang and Jakarta a deeply personal perspective.
Sven Verbeek Wolthuys (1968), a direct descendant of the Bik family, has been researching Jakarta’s history for over 30 years. In this book he has brought together a vibrant mix of his family’s stories and pictures, from the arrival of his very first ancestor in Batavia in 1776 to the current remnants of his family, the few dozen Bik tombstones still found in and around Jakarta today.