Skip directly to content

Batavian Shop-house and Terrace-house (2)

on Sat, 12/20/2014 - 08:29
Shop interior in Batavia

Within the walls of Batavia city, the houses were shop-houses and terrace-houses. From the map in 1733 illustrated clearly that all the houses within the walls did not have a yard and directly adjacent to the street. It shows the area within the walls had a high density. That's why VOC officials built new houses along Molenvliet, now named Gajah Mada and Jalan Hayam Wuruk streets.

In contrast to the shop-house in Chinatown that the front door was open as wide as the shop width, in Batavia shop-houses was not opened as wide as the shop width, but the facade had several wide windows and a wide door. They did not open the shop with the merchandise reaching until the street in reams of irregular, but more neat and orderly. In Roa Malaka above the door and the window were ornamented with small boxes ornate made of glass, similar to the houses in Netherlands of that era. Their shop-houses were not narrow in front and elongated into, but wide at the facade.

From the pictures Josias Cornelis Rappard an Infantry Colonel KNIL (Dutch royal army) we can see that the store in Batavia was wide and even divided into two spaces. The shop was not open to the street but the façade of the store had several large windows. The interior of the store was also well laid out and organized than the shop-houses in the Chinatown Glodok. The goods to be sold were not merchandise such as agricultural products, but the porcelain, clocks and products that did not pollute the floor. It showed that the Dutch loved of neatness and cleanliness of the store. Shoppers’ clothes were neatly dressed in a suit and tie.

If we trace further, the house style at the beginning of the construction of Batavia in the east side of Ciliwung River and construction of houses in the west side of the river, after the river was straightened out, is different. The houses in the east built in the era of Jan Pieterszoon Coen are more towards a mix of Dutch and Chinese styles. But at the time of the construction of houses in the west Kali Besar, the Dutch government wanted to eliminate all Chinese-ness style. The houses in Leuweenstraat in the eastern part of Batavia showed a mixture of Chinese and Dutch architectural style due to the Chinese contractor and builders. Meanwhile Gustaf von Imhoff’s house located in the west Kali Besar, totally out of Chinese-ness style, even a very European one. Why?

At the time of house construction at the western part of Batavia, according to the Governor-General Hendrick Brouwer less reflected European style and finally the contract with the contractor Jan Con was aborted. A few moments later, the city development was continued again. However, the architectural style was really in control, should not be "contained" Chinese style, should be the truly European architectural style. Jan Con was Chinese who carried the scent of Chinese architecture, while the Dutch wanted Dutch house style. Unfortunately we are not able to obtain data on the house style in the west of the Kali Besar because in the riots in 1740 the houses were burned down, only the former house of Gustaf van Imhoff and  a row of shop-houses that still exist. Houses pictures in Batavia we find are only from Johannes Rach who painted many parts of Batavia in 1760 or after 1740 riots. The question remains: how was Nie Hoe Kong's house architectural style, a Chinese captain who was jailed after the 1740 riot?