Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Van Dorp, The Famous Bookstores

Van Dorp Bookstores and publishers during the colonial era and the current condition on 2013. The inzet depicted the GCT Van Dorp & Co. logo. (source: Masyarakat Indonesia Sadar Sejarah (Mesias) and studiegroep-zwp.nl )
A bookstores is having an important role the societies. Because of books are the window to the World. Its made us able to travel anywhere in this world and beyond in the covers of a book. There is no limit to what we can experience while reading. It's an entertainment we can take with you anywhere, any time. Through readings the books, people will gain more knowledge deeply than others, even in this modern era's when the electronic gadget developed so fast, still on the educational sectors teacher as well as lecturer prefer to ask their students to read the books. Books writed by writers, edited by editors then printed and published by publisher until its "served" on the bookstores.

The ads about the watercolor boxes that
sold in Van Dorp Bookstores.
(sources: koleksikertasdjadoel)
Lately, I found a fact that once in Semarang, its existed the famous bookstores called Van Dorp. The complete names is that G.C.T van Dorp & Co. or simply called as Van Dorp, located in Kota Lama in front of the old Javasche Bank building. Van Dorp beside its sells the book, its also having role as publisher. Felt difficulties to found the records about this bookstores that based in Batavia (now: Jakarta) and has branches in Bandung, Semarang and Surabaya with the distribution all over East-Indies. But Asrul Sani on Arief Budiman's book entitled "Chairil Anwar: Sebuah Pertemuan" recount about His story and Chairil Anwar about its Van Dorp Bookstores. “In Jalan Juanda (Jakarta) once there's two bookstores that now becomes the office of Astra Company. They were Kolf and Van Dorp. The collection was extremely much. Me and Chairil often to stolen the books over there,” Asrul Sani recounts on the books. 

The fate of Van Dorp bookstores later nationalized by the government after the repatriations of the Dutch people following the tensions between Indonesia and Netherlands in West Papua conflicts. The glory of this bookstores found its ends. The new owners seems unable to managed the bookstores until its getting declined and the building taken by Sarinah International, and here in Semarang taken by Ikatan Arsitek Indonesia (IAI) but now were no longer used and abandoned. PK Ojong, the founder of Kompas Daily, one's of the leading newspaper in Indonesia wrote about this. For Him, the lost of Van Dorp Bookstores is one's of the evidences behind the failure of nationalization policy.

GCT Van Dorp building before its change into the art deco style on 1913.
(source: Leiden University Library)
"The soul of a company is not placed on the building, the furniture, the car, the truck, and the archive, but on the leader. What we actually do with this Van Dorp bookstores? The expertise, efficiency, we kick it out abroad. And that we have is only the building, the furniture, the car, and so on. We kick it soul, and the only things we owned just a dead objects", said PK Ojong.     

When the nationalization carried out in an emotional atmosphere, based on hate, based on revenge without a good and professional management, its means nothings. Just like the fate of Van Dorp Bookstores. abandoned, decayed, and no one's recognized it anymore.

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