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Jakarta Post

Dutch cemetery rich with Jakarta history

Jakarta   /   Wed, September 10 2008   /  11:02 am

Just inside the gates, visitors are greeted by romantic angels, Gothic turrets, sleeping children, marble crosses and heavy tombstones with baroque coats-of-arms, bringing to mind ancient cemeteries in Europe. But don't expect to find lines of votive candles to remind us the dead still have living relatives who care. This is an old Dutch cemetery located on Jl. Tanah Abang I in Central Jakarta. The cemetery was officially opened Sept. 28, 1797, but people were first buried here as early as 1795. On entering the cemetery, through a Parthenon-like portico (built in 1844), visitors get a rare glimpse of a bygone section of Jakarta's historic populace -- albeit in a neglected state. Inside the portico is a bronze death knell with an atmosphere of mourning in times gone by. Bodies of prominent figures were once buried here, including Maj. Gen. J.H....