Sunday, March 13, 2011

De Zikel (Marba) Building, The First Retail Shop in Semarang

An illustration made by Frits van Bemmel around 1930 depicting the crowd on the old model of self-service stores in East-Indies. (source:
The Kota Lama (eng: old town) of Semarang, always be very attractive for everybody. We could enjoy the old atmoshphere of living, but for sure not only that, for film-maker, this area also have their own values. Some films which need a scenery of the old-fashioned era, always use this area too as their set. An Indonesian film, such Gie, Punk in Love, Ayat-Ayat Cinta and Merah Putih, are using this Semarang old-quarter as their set. In every scene were taken at that area, this building are never missed being filmed. Two stories building, with red bricks and wide windows, Marba building has its own uniqueness and for sure, the stories behind it.

De Zikel Stores on 1920 (source: Leiden University Library)
Built in the mid-nineteenth century, and its located in the front of Srigunting Park, and its quite near also from Koepelkerk (Blenduk Church). This built around in the middle of the nineteenth centuryThis building was originally used as a shipping business office. Later, this building used as a retail stores the leading at that timeA lots of people said that De Zikel is the first retails stores that adopted self-service shopping models in Semarang. Its cut-off the old ways of shopping where the consumers would be helped by the shopping assistant to choose or wrapped their goods. These practices were by nature very labor-intensive and therefore also quite expensive. The shopping process was slow, as the number of customers who could be attended to at one time was limited by the number of staff employed in the store. Thats why the model of self-service shopping getting famous in the early of 20th century but historically, there was debate about the origin of the self-service stores, with King Kullen and Ralph's of California having strong claims. Other contenders included Weingarten's Big Food Markets and Henke & Pillot (source:wikipedia). Later, the building were owned by Marta Badjunet, an Yemenite who was also a wealthy merchant at that time. To marked this, then it was renamed after his name stands, Marba until now. 

De Zikel or Marba Building on 2008.
Well In the past, every city even every parts of the city sometimes marked by the famous stores in the neigborhood . Like in the city where I born, Purworejo, the Toko(eng: stores) Air Mancur, is one’s of the famous stores in 90 decades and here, in Semarang maybe is like Toko Nambie, still existed till nowadays. Those stores are become a such icon in a neigborhood. It could be occured when this business isnt controlled by franchised company that spread out all over the countries. If the franchised company have a standarization then make it as same as the others, but once the stores has its own speciality, make it differs from others and unique as well. 

Yap it supposed to be like that, but unfortunatelly here in Marba the building were neglected. It just used as a warehouse, and an office for a company which engaged in shipping goods. But for the condition of the building, it can be said that this one is better, compared with the common condition of the old building surround it. Well, wish the government or any company who wanna restored this and make it as great as its reputation in the past. As the first supermarket in Semarang, hopefully. 


Friday, March 11, 2011

The Early Hospital in Semarang (Part I) : St. Elisabeth Hospital

Elisabeth Ziekenhuis, or now known as RS St. Elisabeth around 1947 (source:

In the city of Semarang in early 1920's there's only 2 hospitals, Central Burgelijk Zienkenhuis (CBZ), which is a government hospital (now RS dr.Kariadi) and Juliana Zienkenhuis which is a privately owned hospital (now RS Bhakti Wira Tamtama). At that time, both hospitals are no longer able to accommodate the patient who increasing significantly by the presence of various types of disease outbreaks that often hit the city of Semarang and claimed many casualties. Its really need one new hospital to built to overcome the problem.

A Dutch soldier being treated at Elisabeth Ziekenhuis,
the photos taken on 1947 (source: 
According to RS St. Elisabeth official sites its written that the sisters of the catholic brotherhood St.Francis in Semarang strive to accomplish their goals to establish a new hospital in Semarang. Well, the preparation itself is begun a couple years before by collecting funds from the noblemen in Semarang municipal government and from the center of the Sisters of St. Francis. On 3 September 1923 the funds used to purchase land former Chinese cemetery in the area covering 34.000 in the Nieuw Tjandi(Candi Baru) Region, with beautiful landscape, and quiet area(at that time actually, now is so crowd,haha) it’s a best place for a the hospital. Since laying the first stone on March 9, 1926 by Mgr.APF Van Velsen SJ, the development is carried out by three contractors Ir.Karsten, Ir.Zoetmulder, Ir.Peters and Ir. Keliverda. Prices of building materials has increased remarkable during Ir.Kersten development, so that required substantial additional funding. But finally, the building construction is completed on August 8, 1927. Various preparation for the inauguration held among others by placing 50 beds and other equipment. On October 18, 1927, St. Elisabeth Hospital was officially opened by Mgr. Van Velsen, SJ, accompanied by Fr. P. Hoeberechts, SJ and Mr.Van Gulk, the Resident of Semarang City. (Source:St.Elizabeth official page)

A ward on St. Elizabeth Ziekenhuis
The hospital continue to serve the people until the Japanese occupation in 1942, whereas this hospital was taken over and used as a military office. Well, at that time, all of the Dutchman were sent to the Internment camp. In Semarang City itself the Internment camp was established in Lamper Region, Bangkong(on the Sedes Sapientiae Senior High School), Halmahera Region, and so on. The Dutch nuns from the St.Elisabeth hospital also being taken and 9 of them died in the camp. Folowing Japanese surender in 1945, the St. Elisabeth opened again on 1 September 1945 in a state of disarray and lack of energy. But since the Semarang city was controlled strongly by the Dutch troops during the Independence War of Indonesia, the hospital also become one’s of the important hospital for the Dutch troops. After the war was over in 1949, the St.Elizabeth hospital continued to serve da people and together with the others hospitals in Semarang, providing the best healthcare to the society.

Paul Acket (source: wartajazz)
There's a interesting story about this hospital related with Jazz. How come?Well, this hospital become the born place of the founder of Rotterdam North Sea Jazz Festival, Paul Acket. According to the story Mr.Sambudi in Jazzngisoringin session, Paul Acket's parents actually residenced a plantation in Pemalang City, a city 135km to the west from Semarang. When the time to engender is come closer, since, the medical support is not as good as in Semarang city so Paul Acket's parent decided to go to Semarang by train and engender their babies in St.Elizabeth Hospital.

Paul was not alone, beside him, there's also famous jazz figure born in this hospital. In 1950, this hospital also become the born place of Daniel Sahuleka, the famous Jazz artist. 2 weeks later, little Daniel with their families moved to Winterswijk, Netherlands, a land where he grow up and start his career as musician.

Maybe, Paul and Daniel is just one of a thousand stories related with this hospital. Well, do u have any stories too? Lets share :)