The shape of this characteristic building on today’s Jalan Menteng Raya is still very much recognisable, but an experienced eye will notice some alterations, most noticeably the removal of the lovely balcony on the first floor. This site on number 27 was until 1941 the premises of IMPLA, the import company of pharmaceutical and agricultural articles, and the exclusive importer of Bayer products in Batavia (Jakarta) at the time. In 1952 the company Electro Import NV housed on what was then officially spelled Djalan Menteng 27. Today it is occupied by PT Mega Eltra, a big contractor company in the field of electrical and technical equipment. The building most likely dates back to the late 1920s or early 1930s.
An interesting documentary about the history of insurance companies in Indonesia on Kompas TV this week. Featuring Sven Verbeek Wolthuys of Lost Jakarta whose great-grandfather Wim van Garderen (1881-1943) was Director of NILLMIJ in Indonesia from 1919-1934. NILLMIJ was the colonial predecessor of today’s Jiwasraya. More on this in the book 250 YEARS IN OLD JAKARTA.
Former Batavia/Jakarta residents will immediately recognise this characteristic building as the well-known boutique clothing store of August Savelkoul along Rijswijk 8 (now Jalan Veteran). However in February 1947 it was the temporary ‘main post office’ of Batavia/Djakarta, i.e. the post office run by the Dutch authorities. Interestingly, the original main post office along Postweg (now Jalan Pos) was since 1945 managed by the Indonesian nationalists. While the Dutch regained control over the city throughout 1946, with the assistance of the British army and Nepalese Ghurka militia, the telephone exchange on Koningsplein/Gambir and the post office on Postweg/Jalan Pos were the last two buildings under Indonesian control. Hence there was a situation between the end of 1945 and early 1947 where Indonesian stamps were issued on Postweg/Jalan Pos, and Dutch East Indies stamps on Rijswijk/Jalan Veteran. The situation of dual post offices in Batavia/Djakarta ended in July 1947 when Mr. Catalani, who was the general manager of the Dutch controlled post office and had been the Director of the main post office on Postweg/Jalan Pos since its opening in 1913 (!), moved from the temporary premises on Rijswijk 8 back to the main office on Postweg/Jalan Pos. A newspaper article from 23 July 1947 mentioned that the transition happened peacefully and that “Mr. Catalani received a warm welcome from the Indonesian personnel, of which most of them knew him as they had already worked for him before World War II”. All Indonesian personnel was allowed to stay and keep working in the post office, hence it was a smooth transition.
NV Kledingmagazijn, formerly Savelkoul
Obviously, after the transfer of sovereignty in December 1949, all post offices came again under permanent Indonesian control. Shortly after the temporary post office had closed, the premises on Rijswijk 8 became a clothing store again under the name “N.V. Kledingmagazijn, formerly Savelkoul”. August Savelkoul himself did not return as he had moved to the Netherlands because his wife had become seriously ill. The store was managed by a certain Mr. N. Stoffel, at least until 1954. In 1955 the Indonesian Transport Advisory Bureau was located in the building on what was then no longer known as Rijswijk, but Djalan Segara. Later this street became Jalan Veteran. This lovely building has been demolished, but we do not know in what year.
source: Nationaal Archief, the Netherlands
We have obtained a rare train ticket for the trip from Pandjang (or Paroeng Pandjang, now Parung Panjang in West Java) to Tanah Abang in Batavia/Jakarta. It is not known from what year exactly but comparing the tariff for this trip with those from before World War II, and the ones in the Indonesian language from the early 1950s, it suggests this train ticket must be from the late 1940s. During the 1930s prices of train tickets were much lower as a result of the financial crisis. Train tickets we have seen from the early 1950s are in exactly the same design but then obviously in the Indonesian language and in Rupiahs rather than Guilders. However if any readers recognise such train tickets from their travel experiences in the past and be able to date this more precisely, we would love to hear that.
Tickets bought via K.P.M.
Parung Panjang was an important train stop on the line between Rangkasbetoeng/Rangkasbitung and Batavia/Jakarta. This ticket, with the option to travel first class for the full rate or second class for half rate, has been issued aboard one of the vessels of the Koninklijke Paketvaart Maatschappij (KPM) and suggests that passengers, who travelled between the islands of the Indies/Indonesia, had the opportunity to purchase train tickets before arrival, which probably would have saved them the hassle of queuing in front of the counters on the train stations, so they could go straight to the train platforms. It is surprising that such ordinary and everyday items like train tickets have become so rare. We can only assume because they were usually disposed of after usage.
One of the first aerial photographs of Jakarta, taken on 24 November 1924, moments before the first plane ever touched down in Indonesia. Jan Thomassen à Thuessink van der Hoop (1893-1969) was captain of a Fokker F.VIII which already departed from Amsterdam on 1 October 1924 but took seven weeks to arrive in Batavia, after having experienced several technical issues. Here the plane flew over the area of Hotel des Indes and Postspaarbank (Bank Tabungan Negara) and we are looking eastwards across Noordwijk (Jalan Juanda) on the left of the canal and Rijswijk (Jalan Veteran) on the right side.
On the right front of the photo society De Harmonie. Halfway the photo on the right side we recognise Paleis Rijswijk (now Istana Negara), further up the right Hotel de Nederlanden. Along Noordwijk on the left side of the canal many offices of which those of the ENLVM, NILLMIJ and NHM were the most well-known. On the front left, on the corner of Molenvliet Oost (Jalan Hayam Wuruk) and Noordwijk an empty site where a few years later the construction of Hotel des Galeries would commence.
source: Leiden University, the Netherlands