An almost untouched original Menteng residence on Jalan Banyuwangi 9. This is howMenteng looked like in the 1930s and 1940s. Jalan Banyuwangi is a hidden treasure anyway as this street is quiet during the day as well as at night when they close the boom gate at the entrance with Jalan Moh. Yamin. Especially in the evenings it feels like you are walking in Menteng 90 years ago.
Pak Nur, who is also the caretaker of another original house on Jalan Lombok 1, kindly let me in three years ago. Although the ceiling has disappeared and most of the interior is empty, most original fittings are still there. The house dates back to 1932 and also features on the front cover of the book “Wonen in Indië” (House and Home in the Dutch East Indies), published by TongTong in 2000.
Jalan Banyuwangi consists of 13 houses. Only this one and the house on number 15 are still original. All other 11 houses are now modern dwellings.
We have often posted about Menteng and the demolition of protected cultural heritage. However sometimes we should also celebrate great efforts of preservation. Probably one of the best examples is the house on Jalan Sam Ratulangi 46 (on the corner with Jalan Cemara), which had been empty for a long time, but was beautifully restored in 2017 by the Plataran Group and is now a venue for weddings and special events.
This characteristic house was designed by renowned architect P.A.J. Moojen and when it was completed in 1914 it was amongst the first 50 houses in the new Batavia district “New Gondangdia”. At that time the street was called Nieuwe Tamarindelaan (New Tamarind Lane).
The plaque on the building today mentions that the house was built for a certain Mr. van der Tas. However we have not been able to confirm this via the “Adress Books” and newspapers of the time. The only Van der Tas in Batavia in the 1910s lived on Laan Raden Saleh 38.
What we do know is that at least between 1925 and the early 1930s this house was owned by Johan Christiaan Bik (1877-1934), employee of the firm Tiedeman & Van Kerchem, and a distant relative of author Sven Verbeek Wolthuys.
During the renovation the building has been extended with some additions, however the main building and its features including roof, ornaments and stained glass windows, have all been preserved and are back in excellent condition. It is only a pity that a high wall has been installed so that this historic building can no longer be admired from the street. Obviously this has been done to create privacy and to protect it from the traffic noise of today’s Jalan Sam Ratulangi.
Nieuwe Tamarindelaan became Jalan Asem Baru (“Asem Baru” is Indonesian for New Tamarind) in July 1950, however during a special ceremony on 14 February 1957 it was renamed into Djalan Sam Ratulangi to commemorate the national hero who lived in this street after World War II until he passed away in 1949.
A little gem in today’s Jakarta is Jalan Menteng Raya, in colonial days just known as Menteng or Oud Menteng (Old Menteng). The percentage of heritage buildings that is still present today along this road is much higher than anywhere else in Central Jakarta. On the eastern side of the road are two identical houses of an interesting architecture at number 11 and 13, now part of the Gedung Bina Manajemen.
Architect J.F.L. Blankenberg
The left house at number 11 was in 1941 the office of one of Batavia’s most well-known architects J.F.L. Blankenberg (1888-1958), who was responsible for a number of majestic houses on the Burgemeester Bisschopplein (now Taman Suropati), the house on today’s Jalan Imam Bonjol 1 which is now the Formulation of Proclamation Text Museum and the former NIROM radio studio building on Koningsplein West (now Medan Merdeka Barat). Menteng number 13 was in 1941 the residence of Mr. C.H.R. Landouw. Both houses most likely date from the late 1910s or early 1920s. Apart from some alterations, they are in excellent condition today.
Fuchs & Rens was probably the most well-known car dealer in colonial Jakarta, however Verwey & Lugard were close behind. In 1927 they occupied this characterful building at number 29 on the road that was then called “Menteng”, but what now is Jalan Menteng Raya. In the 1930s the street was often referred to as “Oud Menteng” (Old Menteng). This showroom was just left of Hotel Schomper which was based on number 31 (and what is now Gedung Joang ’45). Verwey & Lugard were mostly known to sell the popular Studebaker car brand, however also sold Rolls Royce, Minerva, Mathis and Austro-Daimler cars, as well as Clydesdale trucks. They started the business in 1910 along Koningsplein West (Medan Merdeka Barat), then moved to Kebon Sirih, and in 1925 to these larger premises on Jalan Menteng Raya. Beforehand Importmaatschappij Janssen housed in this building which probably dates back to the second half of the 1910s.
Verwey & Lugard expanded throughout the archipelago and as we can see from a 1927 advertisement (see in comment section), they also had branches in Medan, Bandung, Jogjakarta and Surabaya. On this picture we see four cars in front of the building, of which one is just being filled with petrol. Verwey & Lugard already moved out in 1928, but this location remained a car dealer and showroom, first by the NV Javasche Automobiel Handel. In 1941 Van Taalingen was based here. After independence, well into the 1950s, the well-known Djakarta business Mascotte Motors, housed on what was then called Djalan Menteng Raja 29. Verwey & Lugard moved in 1928 to the ground floor of Noordwijk 15 (now Jalan Juanda) where insurance company Arnhem was based. Jalan Menteng Raya these days is a school example of how old and new can live together. Around 35% of the original colonial era buildings in this street is still present. However this building has been demolished a while ago and is now the modern 10-storey campus of the Mercu Buana University.