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Societeit de Harmonie Harmoni is not just another chaotic traffic junction in Jakarta, but an area of great historical interest, taking its name from a wonderful Dutch building that was built in 1810.

Used as a meeting place for the Societeit de Harmonie, the majestic building stood on the corner of Jalan Veteran and Jalan Majapahit until it was raised to the ground (oxymoron or what?) in March 1982 and the land used as a car park for the State Secretariat.

But it is said that if you go to the carpark today and listen very very hard, you can still hear the voices of raucous Dutch revelers getting rat-arsed on G and T’s with the sound of the band playing on in the background…

Or maybe not.

The Harmoni junction in the 60s…

 Harmoni
… And my photograph from almost the same spot 50 years later...

 Harmoni
If you look very very carefully, you’ll see there is a small statue on the bridge of Hermes who, as you should know, is the trader’s guardian angel (actually it’s a replica as the original has since been moved to the Fatahillah Museum in case it was nicked).

Although the statue may have been placed on the bridge to afford protection to the traders crossing it, no one is really sure where it came from although one credible report says the statue was brought over from Hamburg in 1920 by a store owner called Karl Wilhelm Stolz who placed it in his garden in Meester Cornelis (now Jatinegara).

But then, in his later years, he sold his business and gave the statue to the Batavia government in gratitude of being allowed to run a business in Batavia (how times change eh?). It was then, in the 1940’s, that the statue was placed on the bridge.

And as for poor old Karl Wilhelm Stolz? Well he died in March 30, 1945, as a Japanese POW and is now pushing up daises (or whatever wild flowers they happen to have in this part of the world) in Semarang.

And long may he rest in peace...





2 comments

Anonymous said... @ 28 June 2011 02:34

*Razed to the ground not raised. Second paragraph.

Tempo Dulu said... @ 10 July 2011 11:04

there are probably many more typos if you look carefully!

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