Last trace of Fort Batavia with a spectacular view
The Uytkijk (watchtower) was the nerve centre of the Kota’s harbour authority. This was the harbour office and also highest point in Batavia. From here the controllers could oversee boat traffic, loading slots and moorings in the busy Sunda Kelapa.
This was Fort Batavia
The tower was one of the 23 bastions of the original city wall of Fort Batavia. The fort and city walls were all demolished 1790 to make way for city expansion: the rubble was used to fill the canals and build the new suburb: Weltevreden. Only thing left is the canons.
Each of the 23 bastions was named after a famous Dutch trading city: Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Enkhuizen and Middelburg. But this towner was called Culemborg, after a little known town in Holland. It was the birthplace of Anthony van Diemen, first Governor-General of the Dutch East Indies.
Nice to know
Legend has it that under the tower there is a door connecting to a tunnel that leads up all the way to the former City Hall at Fatahillah Square (now the Jakarta history museum), for times of trouble…
This was also Batavia’s original ‘zero kilometre point’, the centre of town according to VOC surveyors. But after independence the Indonesian surveyors moved it the National Monument in Central Jakarta, the heart of town.