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City of Bandung

Bandung Indonesia

Bandung was originally established as early as 1641 by Sultan Agung of Mataram. The location of Bandung in these days was further to the South. The city in its present location was established by the Dutch in 1811.

The ‘Groote Postweg' was built to connect Batavia ( Jakarta ) to the West of Java, and the commander in chief at that time demanded ‘a city to be built here before the next time I return'. ‘Here' being a spot to grow into the city of Bandung . The absolute centre is situated on Jalan Asia Afrika, next to hotel Grand Preanger, where a monument commemorates the birth of Bandung .

Because of the potential of the cool fertile plateau that surrounds Bandung , the Dutch were mainly interested in the area for its agricultural purposes. They set about cultivating coffee, tea and rice, and these Priangan (planters) in the early 19th century decided to settle in Bandung instead of Batavia. The Grand Preanger hotel is an example of a hotel that was built in that time to accommodate the priangan, The Savoy Homan and the buildings on Jalan Braga are also relics from that era. The art deco style is characteristic of many of Bandung 's historical architecture with the flowing lines and repetition of abstract patterns.

The Dutch soon took a shine to Bandung and used the fresh climate and green mountainous setting as a retreat from the hot hustle and bustle of Batavia . In 1916, they moved the headquarters of the colonial army to Bandung and there were even plans to make Bandung the new capital of Indonesia . The city was referred to as the Paris of Java because it was the most European city of Indonesia both in climate and in atmosphere. The First World War interrupted these plans and Bandung never became capital, a fact sometimes still regretted by its inhabitants.

With the opening of the ITB (Bandung Technologisch Instituut), the first university accessible to Indonesians opened its doors. The prestige of the ITB is influenced by the attendance of Ir. Sukarno, who graduated in 1926 and soon afterwards became the first president of independent Indonesia . The critical student party he found in his student days later transformed into the PNI (Nationalist Party). Up until now, students of the ITB are infamous for their critical stance.

The most famous historical building in Bandung is the Gedung Merdeka (Liberty buidling), where in 1955 the first Asia-Afrika conference was held. This conference marked the birth of the non aligned countries confederation. The decline of colonialism spurred euphoria amongst the leaders of Asian and African countries to bind their forces and the banner ‘ Bandung 's spirit is building a new world' was testament to the moment that Bandung stood in the spotlights.

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