This road between Jalan Thamrin and Pasar Tanah Abang in Jakarta is officially part of the subdistrict Tanah Abang and has had many names over the years. Around 1800 it was called “Weg van Weltevreede naar Tanna Abang” (road from Weltevreden to Tanah Abang). It basically was the road that Justinus Vinck had built in 1735 to connect the newly constructed pasars of Tanah Abang and Senen. During the second half of the 19th century the name “Kampoeng Lima” started to appear on maps, a name that has existed until the construction of New Gondangdia during the 1910s. As soon as the Nieuwe Tamarindelaan (now Jalan Dr Sam Ratulangi, or Jalan Asam Baru) was opened, the Kampoeng Lima road was renamed into Oude Tamarindelaan (Old Tamarind road).
Jalan Asam Lama
Even after independence it was still known as Jalan Asam Lama (the Indonesian translation of Old Tamarind) until the second half of the 1950s when it was renamed into Djalan KH Wahid Hasjim (in 1972 after the spelling change it became Jalan KH Wahid Hasyim), named after the minister of religious affairs in a couple of Soekarno’s cabinets. He died tragically in a car accident in 1953, only 38 years old. His son Abdurrahman Wahid (or Gus Dur) became the later President of Indonesia. The street name Jalan KH Hasyim Ashari (formerly Gang Chaulan) is named after the father of KH Wahid Hasyim.
Queen Juliana state visit
It was Dutch photographer Joost Evers (of ANEFO) who -in Jakarta during the state visit of Queen Juliana in August 1971- left his hotel during a break, walked from Jalan Thamrin to Pasar Tanah Abang and took dozens of beautiful and razorsharp colour photos. These lovely pictures show peaceful scenes of a street that apparently looks like it could have been in a small town in Central Java. A striking contrast with the four lane noisy Jalan KH Wahid Hasyim of today. When staying in Hotel Kosenda on this street last year I got told by an old Jakarta man that this street is still known by its nickname Jalan Asam Lama.
A rare aerial view of the plain in front of society De Harmonie, taken by a KNILM airplane in 1935. De Harmonie itself is not visible, but a few other historic Jakarta icons of the past are. On the top and top right the complex and main building of Hotel des Indes, which was demolished in 1971. Under and behind the trees left of the main hotel building lies the 19th century dependance of the hotel, which had been in use as a reception pavilion. At the back we see various guest buildings and other pavilions. On the front right Hotel des Galeries where we notice deck chairs on the first floor’s terrace. This building does still partly exist today but has sadly been unrecognisably altered.
Postspaarbank – Bank Tabungan Negara
On the left the head office of the Postspaarbank (now Bank Tabungan Negara), which does still exist today and even has the name ‘Postspaarbank’, initially removed during the early 1950s, back on top of the building since 2018. Besides some tram carriages and the odd car, it is very quiet at this important intersection of the city, probably -as we can conclude from the tree shades- as this picture has been taken in the early hours of the morning.
The archives of the KNILM comprised of thousands of unique aerial photos from all over the archipelago, taken from 1924 onwards. They were stored at the premises of the Topographische Dienst but sadly all destroyed by the Japanese during World War II. The only KNILM photos that exist today are the ones which were sent to archives and museums in the Netherlands before 1940, and ones like these who were published in books. This photo appears in the book Gordel van Smaragd by Dirk de Vries.
A rare glimpse of Indonesia’s capital. JAKARTA 1964, seen from a taxi window and a hotel room. The video shows a city in transformation, with bygone colonial era icons like De Harmonie and Hotel des Indes, but also the just opened head office of Bank Indonesia and Hotel Indonesia. With the sounds of 1964 and unique footage of Jalan Gajah Mada, Tanah Abang, Menteng and Salemba.
Sinterklaas or Sint-Nicolaas is a legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, patron saint of children. The feast of Sinterklaas celebrates the name day of Saint Nicholas on 6 December. It is celebrated annually with the giving of gifts on Saint Nicholas’ Eve (5 December) in the Netherlands and on the morning of 6 December, Saint Nicholas Day, in Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France (French Flanders, Lorraine and Artois).
The tradition has also been celebrated in overseas territories of the Netherlands, like Curaçao and Suriname, and also in the Dutch East Indies/Indonesia. Here Sinterklaas and a few Zwarte Pieten (Black Petes) are driving in a convertible car on Tanah Abang Heuvel on 5 December 1947, with happy children and other spectators enjoying the scene.
A unique view of the bridge over Kali Besar. This drawbridge, fully renovated during the time of Governor Ali Sadikin in the 1970s, dates back to 1628 and was known as Hoenderpasarbrug (Chicken Market Bridge) due to a nearby poultry market. Nowadays it is named Jembatan Kota Intan. It narrowly escaped demolition in 1937 when the Batavia City Council had progressed plans to demolish it. Thanks to a private initiative sufficient money could be raised to save the bridge. Most of the original wooden beams have been replaced by steel ones during the 1970s renovation.
MacLaine, Watson & Co
Equally (or maybe even more) interesting are the original premises of MacLaine, Watson & Co at the back along Kali Besar Barat (West). MacLaine, Watson & Co was one of Asia’s largest trading companies dating back to the 1820s. This elegant building already appeared on pictures from the 1870s, and we have still seen it on a Dutch Polygoon video of 1985. Unfortunately it does no longer exist. Somewhere between 1985 and 1995 the building was demolished and replaced by a nondescript structure.