Gedung Merdeka from Time to Time

Gedung Merdeka, located on Jalan Asia Afrika Bandung in 1895 was only a simple building. The building, which its area covered 7500 square meters became a meeting, place for “Societeit Concordia”, a society of Europeans especially Dutch who lived in Bandung and its surrounding.

In 1921, the building that was named as the name of the society, Concordia, was renovated to be the most luxurious, well facilitated, exclusive, and modern “super club” meeting hall in Indonesia by C.P. Wolff Schoemaker with art deco style. In addition, in 1940, for the second time, the building especially the left wing was renovated to be more interesting by A.F. Aalbers with international style architecture. The function of it was a place for recreation.

During Japanese occupation, the name of the building was changed into Dai Toa Kaikan and functioned as a cultural centre. The left wing of the building was named Yamato, a place to have a drink was on fire (1944).

After Indonesia proclaimed its independence (17 August 1945) the building became headquarter of the Indonesian youth in facing the Japanese troops and then became the centre of the municipal government of West Java. From (1946 – 1950), the function of the building again became the place for recreation.

Prior to the Asian-African Conference, the building was renovated and its name was changed into Gedung Merdeka by Indonesian President, Soekarno, on April 7th 1955.

As a result of the 1955 General Election, the Indonesian Constituent Assembly was formed and Gedung Merdeka became the Building of the Constituent Assembly. However, the Assembly was abolished through the Presidential Decree of 5 July 1959 and Gedung Merdeka was used by National Planning Agency in 1959. Later on, this building was used as the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly from 1960 – 1971. In 1965, the Africa-Asia Islamic Conference was carried out in this building.

After the failed coup of G30S in 1965, Gedung Merdeka was taken over by the Indonesian military and part of the building was used as a prison for political prisoners. In 1966, the management of the building was transferred by the Provincial Government of West Java to the Municipal Government of Bandung. In 1968, the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly changed the decree of Gedung Merdeka, which stated that the Municipality was only responsible for the main building, while the rest was managed by the Provisional People’s Consultative Assembly. In 1969, the management of the building was taken over by the Provincial Government of West Java from the Municipal Government of Bandung. In 1980, the whole part of the building was presented as the Museum of the Asian-African Conference.