The second in the Tales of Asia series journeys to Jakarta, the capital of the modern nation of Indonesia. For almost 300 years, however, Jakarta was Batavia, one of the oldest port cities in the region, founded by the Dutch in 1619.
While we know Jakarta today as a crowded, sprawling, traffic-congested metropolis, a mere 100 years ago, the city looked very different with its broad boulevards, its distinctive Indies-style architecture, and its canals, echoing the canals of Amsterdam.
Join me as we explore the Old Town of Jakarta – originally a walled fortress-city complete with castle – and hunt down what remains of Old Batavia today. We also journey to the lush, verdant former suburb of Weltevreden – today’s heaving, polluted Central Jakarta – to learn more about the Indische – the Dutch Eurasian peoples – that lived in Batavia, spoke Malay and wore saroeng kebaya as a mark of their being “of the soil”.