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Daendels

More than half a century after the Chinese uprising in 1740, the Batavian had been forgotten with the murder. Java was not anymore ruled by VOC that was bankrupt in the end of 18th century, but the Netherlands. A new Governor General Daendels arrived in Batavia in 1803.

One of the main tasks of Daendels, in addition to making healthy Batavia, because at that time Batavia really became den of disease, was to reorganize the defense against British. In Batavia, everywhere were a lot of garbage piles and her shallow canals became mosquito breeding. Every sailor who anchored in Batavia definitely wanted to quickly lift the anchor for fear of disease. In that state Daendels came with all the risks that he must carried on.

Daendels successfully developed Batavia towards the south in Weltevreden with various buildings around the Waterloo Plein or now is called Lapangan Banteng. For the construction he destroyed the Castle of Batavia, took the bricks for building a new city.

As he thought that the town wall was not any more effective for defense as the town was already developed outside the wall and he plan to build the great post road for defending Java, he destroyed the town wall of Batavia and other buildings. He moved the government complex to the Waterloo Plein at South of Batavia. The beautiful view of Batavia had been gone. Weitzel, a traveler said:

 "The City of Bata­via is not anymore the famous metropolis of yore. The great majority of all the most important buildings and houses have been pulled down, with the exception of the warehouses. Of the castle only rubble heaps remain. The larger part of the town walls have been razed, the city gates have been demolished. The town is but a village surrounded by wide canals   [ . . . ) the Prinsenstraat being no more than a shaded road along which a few houses can be found near the centre." (Weitzel 1860:8-10).

Daendels’ action was the second time in ruining the old town of Batavia after the town was being burned in the 1740 riots. Now we cannot enjoy the very famous castle and several other buildings. Suppose the construction of the new town of Batavia was not by destroying the old, now is definitely the old city of Jakarta very unique for tourism. Daendels destroyed the remembrance on old Batavia.

In addition Daendels also closed the canals so that the town was no longer a clone of Amsterdam. The waterways turned out to be streets and a lot of buildings was changed its form. Only Kali Besar River was not closed for the flow of Ciliwung River in the city. The action to close the canals continued until 1817.

 

Herman Willem Daendels 1762-1818
Herman Willem Daendels