The Jakarta Post
The Maritime Museum was razed by fire on Tuesday morning, and staff said it would take months to repair the damage. (www.instagram.com/mr_prazto//File)
The Maritime Museum in Penjaringan, North Jakarta, of which some parts were razed by fire on Tuesday morning, is home to artifacts relating to the precious maritime history of the archipelago, from the traditional era of the many Indonesian tribes to the modern era.
Aside from its special collections, the place has also had a fascinating historical journey, as its building and tower were once witness to the glory of the Dutch East Indies Company (VOC), which traded the country's natural resources.
Below are some interesting facts about the museum as compiled by KompasTravel:
Storage of VOC precious treasure
During its golden era in the 17th century, the VOC kept many of the archipelago's treasures in the building, including stocks of spices like coffee, tea and cloves, and precious commodities like steel, tin and textiles.
Warehouse of logistics and weapons
During Japanese occupation, the VOC warehouse was later turned into a warehouse to store Japanese Army supplies, including weaponry and foods.
Most complete maritime collections
Up to 850 items are showcased at the museum, from Indonesian ancestors' traditional boats to the Indonesian Navy's (TNI AL) modern ships. In addition to hundreds of ship collections, it also hosts all things related to maritime subjects, including navigation equipment used during the Dutch occupation era, ship weaponry and replicas, as well as original Indonesian boats, dioramas of maritime events and regular temporary exhibitions at the second floor.
VOC's oldest heritage building
The museum is the oldest building in Jakarta that is still standing. It was built in three phases by the Dutch from 1652 to 1771.
Some parts still original
Not many changes were made to the building, as its walls are very thick and the wooden poles still strong.
Most of the building's components are still original, according to the museum attendant, such as Syahbandar Tower, the spice warehouse and the stone floors in some parts of the museum.
The head of the museum's technical management unit, Husnison Nizar, said some small fires had previously occurred at the place as far back as 1977.
Husnison said the museum had just undergone renovations, which finished on Nov. 30 last year.
"The renovations were conducted in 2017 and finished on Nov. 30, including changing its wooden components and painting the walls," he said, adding that the process cost around Rp 7 billion (US$560,000), and also included the museum's Building C, which was recently razed by fire. (kes)
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