Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Daendels Palace

Red Circle : Deandels Palace (Ministry of Finance Old Building)
Yellow Circle: Formerly WaterlooPlein, Now is the Lapangan Banteng

In 1808, when Deandels decided to destroy the Old Castle and Walled City of Batavia in the north and formally move the Administrative centre of the city southwards, he also needed to build a new governors-general's residence. In theory, governors-general's had lived in the old castle of the VOC since the 1620s, but in practice from the middle of the 18th century they had started to live and work from private residences south of the walled city (Such as at the Weltevreden) because of the increasingly unsanitary conditions behind the walls.
On 7 March 1809, Deandels chose the eastern side of the Paradeplaats / eastern road part of the WaterlooPlain (now Jalan Lapangan Banteng Timur) as the site for his new palace.
Never modest in his ambitions, Daendels undoubtedly envisaged building a grand palace that would be at the heart of the new Batavia he dreamed of creating. He instructed Lieutenant-Colonel J.C.Schultze (who had also designed the Harmonie Society Clubhouse (HSC)) to prepare the plans. The design called for a large central main building with wings on either side. The Palace would be for the exclusive use of the governor-general. Government bureaus were to be in separate buildings and there would also be guest houses and a stable for 120 horses. Work proceeded quickly and foundations for the palace were built from the old materials of the demolished castle. By 1811, when Daendels was replaced as governor-general by Jan Willem Janssens (governor-general 1811), the main building and the wings were half finished.
This photograph looks in a southerly direction across the front of Daendels palace which still stands today and is now used as the headquarters of the Indonesian Ministry of Finance. The white-columned building on the left housed the supreme court from 1 May 1848, but is no longer in use, while the statue of the founder of the Batavia, Jan Pieterszoon Coen, standing on a pedestal is visible in the far right.

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