Bogor Botanical Gardens : The Old Dutch Cemetery

Under the thick bamboo trees in Bogor Botanical Gardens, they rested in peace. The people who , I believe some of them were involved in or contributing to the establishment of the Gardens, passed away while they were far away from their country, from their own family. They should have green or blue eyes with their auburn hair.

Sorry, for being melancholic. I didn't know why everytime I walked around this area, the feeling of loneliness and sadness lunged in my heart. I could not imagine how to face their faith and death in the foreign land, to be far away from their country and the most of all, to be far away from their own family. I have been traveling myself to several countries and the farther I left my country, the more my needs to return home immediately.

 Therefore, I really could not imagine what they looked for or sought in this country.  Could it be their love for science, their love for the environment , their love for  nature , the challenge , the adventure or just simply about power? Was it worth ? Were they happy during their living here? Had they found what they were looking for?

Before you think that I am crazy , let me tell you about what I was talking about.

It was about the old graveyard in Bogor Botanical Gardens. As mentioned before it would be too long to write the Gardens in one story and it would be better to write piece by piece. I have written several other parts of the Gardens previously. You can see The Beauties on the pond , The Mexican Gardens, or Love in Botanical Gardens.  
There are 42 persons buried in this graveyard. Thirty eight of them are with identities but 4 others, unfortunately without any name marked on their tombs. They were not buried at the same century. In fact, from the oldest one to the youngest, the gap was more than two centuries.

The oldest grave is known to be named for Cornelis Potmans , a Dutch Chemist who passed away on 1784 or 230 years ago. His grave is even older than the age of the Botanical Gardens which was formally found by Caspar Georg Carl Reinwardt in 1817. The youngest grave belongs to Dr. A.J.G.H Kostermans, the Dutch Botanist who died in 1994.

Two of the names in the yard are for two young Dutch biologist Heinrich Kuhl and J.C. Van Hasselt. They should good friends because both were buried under the same pit tomb. Both were the members of Netherlands Commissions for Natural Science. In the old cemetry, there are also the tombs of Ari Prins, a jurist and politicus and DJ. de  Eerens, two times Governor General of Dutch East India Company.

The tombs themselves are quite artistic. Many of them were engraved and showing some characters. One of them shows a beautiful lady holding a baby on her hands. The carving should have come from their original culture in Netherlands.

When I visited the graveyard few weeks ago, it seemed that the administrator of the Gardens had taken an action to preserve this old yard. The look of the graves were fresh and better than before when you could see moss clinging on the tombs. It looked very bleak especially because they were surrounded with bamboo trees but with a new white paint on the tombs, it looked much better. 

I know that died people could not feel the difference but I think the remains of these people deserved to be treated well. They were somehow I am certain to have contributed to the Gardens and indirectly given their contribution to the city. They wrote their own chapter in this city history.

Why were they here? for what purpose they came to this land? How did they feel when they were here? Happy? Lonely? Regretful? Perhaps, they just simply loved this city and the Gardens too much and the God decided to give what they wanted i.e. to let them be the part of this city forever. It could be the reason was the same as what Dr. A.J.G.H Kostermans asked  . He wanted to be buried among the nature he loved so much. Eventually he got what he wished and buried in the Gardens as Indonesian Citizen.

I guess I would not get any answer because none of them could tell me their stories. They have slept under the soil of foreign land for more than 200 years and I should not disturb them too much.

So after some moment I left them to continue their slept but was quite sure that I would visit them again. Perhaps I would just want them to know that they had a friend here, so they should not feel lonely. (You may laugh but it was what I always thought).

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About Anton Ardyanto

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  1. wooww, I never knew that this place is exist :((
    dari jaman kecil sering banget nginep di dalam guest housenya kebun raya bogor karna kebetulan kakek saya pernah jadi pengurus besar kebun raya se Indonesia, tapi rasanya ga pernah cerita kalo ada tempat ini lohh

    cuma diajakin muter-muter nyari kenari aja

    1. Oya... memang jarang sih yang mau sampe kesini. Siang saja kadang gelap karena di bawah rumpun bambu. Kalau malam lebih lagi (pernah kesana waktu malam soalnya). Hanya justru tempatnya sepi dan enak buat saya mah