H.P. Berlage in the Archipelago: The Story of a Dutch Architect who traveled in the Dutch East Indies

Last Monday (9/1), the Department of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia, in collaboration with the Berlage project in the Archipelago and the Jakarta Association of Indonesian Architects, held a talk show entitled “Special Talk Series WANUA: Berlage in the Archipelago”. from Berlage’s roadshow program in the archipelago, which invites us to commemorate 100 years since architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage came to the Dutch East Indies in 1923.

This event was held in a hybrid manner. The offline method is carried out at the Smart Meeting Room of the FTUI Dean’s Dean, inviting and specially attended by resource persons and Architecture graduate students at the Universitas Indonesia. While the online method is carried out through Zoom meetings, inviting the general public and IAI members. The presentation session was delivered by Dr. Petra Trimmer, a source from the Netherlands. In this special talk, Petra takes participants to explore Berlage’s thoughts, works, and sketches through presentations and discussions that will be delivered by Dr. Petra Timmer. This session was moderated by Dr. ing. Yulia Lukito, lecturer in architectural history, theory, and criticism at the Department of Architecture FTUI.

In his remarks, Prof. Kemas Ridwan Kurniawan, ST., M.Sc., Ph.D. as the Head of the Research Cluster on the History of Architecture, Theory, Criticism, Vernacular and Heritage, stated, “The figure of Hendrik Petrus Berlage may not be well known in the realm of architecture in Indonesia, because there are still few historical traces connecting him with the history of modern architecture in Indonesia, including the important heritage of a building. in Surabaya, namely the Lion Building”.

“I welcome the efforts of TiMe, Berlage di Nusantara and various related parties, to make a book and publish the contents of Berlage’s personal journals, diaries, sketches, and a collection of poems during his visit to the archipelago from the original document entitled “Mijn Indiesche Reis” (My Journey to the Indies Dutch). This is an important finding to dig further into the hidden history and at the same time reveal the gray history of architectural change and transformation in the archipelago, especially during the Ethical and Decentralization policy era in the Dutch East Indies,” said the Dean of FTUI, Prof. Dr. Heri Hermansyah, ST., M.Eng., IPU. when encountered on separate occasions.

Hendrik Petrus Berlage (1856-1934), is one of the most famous architects in the Netherlands, a pioneer of modernism and his views on the role of architecture in society. Two Berlage buildings still exist in Indonesia: Surabaya and Jakarta. His visit to the Dutch East Indies in 1923 was one of his greatest dreams come true, and his journals were later published in a book entitled Mijn Indische Reis.

“One hundred years later, Dr. Petra Trimmer and the team invited participants to retrace H.P. Berlage’s manifesto in the Dutch East Indies through a book project entitled “Berlage in the Archipelago” which was adapted from Berlage’s travel journal. This talk show revealed cities and places -the places that Berlage visited, the people he met, his lectures, his sketches, and his experiences. Regarding what his goals were, and what is their relevance for today’s architects,” concluded Prof. Pack.

Dr. Petra Trimmer studied art history at the University of Utrecht and earned her Ph.D. in 2000 at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Petra has worked for more than 20 years as an independent curator, researcher, writer, lecturer, and project manager. Currently, Petra is active in TiMe Amsterdam, an independent consulting agency founded in 2007 to research museums and cultural heritage.


Bureau of Public Communications
Faculty of Engineering, Universitas Indonesia