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Jakarta Post

A home truth about the house of a Dutch governor-general

  • The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Tue, July 15 2008   /  10:36 am

(JP/Matheos Viktor Messakh) The house of Reinier de Klerk has its own history that might explain why it is the only buitenverblijen, or 'houses outside' the city, left on Jl. Gajah Mada and Jl. Hayam Wuruk. For a long time during the 18th century, the two roads were the elite quarters of Batavia. They were later replaced by Weltevreden, the area around the present Lapangan Banteng and Medan Merdeka. De Klerk lived in the house for nearly 20 years before dying there in 1780 as a governor general. According to Adolf Heuken SJ in his book Historical Sites of Jakarta (Cipta Loka Caraka, 2000), de Klerk's very rich wife Sophia Francina Westpalm supported him throughout much of his career. The mansion's upstairs is richly furnished with VOC period furniture. (JP/Matheos V. Messakh) When Sophia married de Klerk in 1754, she was already the widow of a fo...