Bogor Palace : The History of The Heart of Bogor

Bogor Palace is one of six presidential palaces of Indonesia. It is located at the center of the rain city. Its location is side by side with the famous Bogor Botanical Gardens and actually the Gardens are the part of the palace itself.

The palace is on corner of the cross sections of three main streets in Bogor i.e. Sudirman , Juanda, and Jalak Harupat streets. It occupies 28.8 hectare of land. On its vast front yard, there are hundreds of deer living peacefully.

The Bogor Palace can be said as the heart of Bogor, I mean for both Regency and Municipalities. This is not only because of the location but also because in fact Bogor was built using this palace as its nucleus.

the view of bogor palace backyard from Bogor Botanical Garden
Istana Bogor

The establishment of Bogor Palace

Originally, there was no intention from the builder to set up a palace as a palace. The person who instructed to build a palace intended only to build a mansion.

Governor General of East Hndia from Netherland at that time (1744) , Gustaaf Willem Baron von Imhoff just wanted to escape from the crowded and busy Batavia (currently known as Jakarta, the Capital of Indonesia). He felt Jakarta was too hot and too noisy. Then, he searched to find a place for his runaway from the noisy city.

After searching to many places, finally Mr Imhoff found the place. He was so overwhelmed by the panorama and also the quietness of a place named as “Kampoeng Baroe” (the new village). He chose this place to build a place for him to escape from Batavia.

The 3 floor storey mansion was finally built based on his instruction. It replicated the Bienhiem Palace of Duke Marbourough. The mansion was completed one year after i.e. 1745. It was named as Buitenzorg that meant “A Peaceful Place” or “A Place without worry”. Just exactly what he had looked for. That is why people in Bogor sometimes mention Buitenzorg when they want to refer to their city.

The Bogor Palace between 1750 – Indonesian Independent

Von Imhoff died in 1750 and the successor was Jacob Mosse. During his tenure, the Buitenzorg mansion suffered heavy damage. This was caused by the War of Banten that involved VOC (Verenigde Oost Indische Compagnie).

The War of Banten itsels was actually a civil war between the people of Islamic Banten Kingdom and its king i.e. Sultan Haji. Being cornered by his own people, the king turned his head to the colonialist for help. Finally the war was won but with the result the damaged mansion. After the war, the mansion was immediately repaired and renovated.

The mansion fate was changed drastically 50 years after its establishment. On the hand of Herman Willems Daendels (1808-1811), or known in history book of Indonesia as Daendels. He was known for his cruelty and stern attitude.

In the year of 1808, Daendels set up the longest road in Indonesia called as De Grote Postweg or The Great Postway. The road stretched from Anyer in West Java to Panarukan in East java. It stretched approximately one thousand kilometers. The road was built in short time, only in one year.

The road passed through Bogor. Some parts of the Great Postway half circled the mansion. The parts of the road in Bogor are now known as Sudirman , Juanda and Suryakencana Streets.

Bogor Palace
The front view of Bogor Palace

During his tenure Daendels also renovated the mansion. The mansion got additional wings on the left and right side. Its role was also changed as Daendels used this mansion to conduct meetings with high rank officials of East India government. During this period 6 pairs of deer in type of Axis Axis, white spotted deers were brought to fill in the front yard.

In 1817, under Baron van der Capellen, the mansion once again got further expansion and got additional hall. During this period, the mansion was separated from its back yard. The backyard was made as Bogor Botanical Gardens.

Unfortunately in 1834, once again the mansion heavily destroyed. This time , the reason was not because of war. The anger of Mount Salak was the culprit. On Oct 10th, 1834 the mount erupted and almost annihilated the palace.

It took quite a while before Charles Ferdinand Pahud de Montager ( 1856 – 1861 ) took the reign in East Hindia. He re-build the mansion to its current shape.

His successor in 1870 Pieter Mijer decided to officially use the mansion as a permanent residence of Governor General. This was the time, the mansion was changed to be a palace. This continued until the end of Netherland era in Indonesia in 1942.

In total the Bogor Palace had lived under 44 different Governor Generals of Dutch colonialist since its establishment in 1745 until 1942

Bogor Palace 1942-1945

In 1942, during the World War II, Japanese troop entered Indonesia and conquered the Netherland Army. The Palace was handled over to Japanese troop as well.

During this time, the Bogor Palace was used as an office for Kempetai, the Military Police.

Bogor Palace 1945-1950

After the World War II was over, the palace became one place that was the maintarget of Indonesian Freedom fighter to be occupied. Finally in 1948 it was occupied. One year Later , it was handled over to the formal Government Indonesia after the Recognition of Indonesian sovereignty.

In 1950, the Bogor Palace was formally assigned as one of the Presidential Palaces of Indonesia.

Bogor Palace
Bogor Palace seen from Bogor Botanical Gardens

Bogor Palace after 1950

Since 1950, the Bogor Palace has been involved in many important moments of Indonesia. It was the place used to prepare the Asia Africa Conference in 1955.

In March 11th , 1966, it was the silent witness of the fall of Soekarno’s regime. In this palace, the Supersemar (The Order of March Eleventh) was typed. It was the sign of the transfer of the power and the starting point of Soeharto’s regime that lasted for the next 32 years.

In 1994 , the Bogor Palace was used as a place for the meeting of leaders from Asia Pasific Economy Cooperation (APEC). It once again was the witness when the “Bogor Goals” achieved. The goals were important because it was the basis of the Free Trade agreement among all APEC country members.


Originally I would like to make this first post of English Edition of this blog short. However while typing, I could not stop to write. I would like people to know about how important the Bogor Palace for us, Bogor people and also Indonesian.

It was built as a mansion for leisure of one person but eventually it can not be put aside from all books of Indonesia and Bogor history.

Bogor Palace

So if you have a chance to Bogor someday, please do not forget to at least take a glance to Bogor Palace . It is one of a must see place during in Bogor. If you come in June 3rd, you may be fortunate to see the inside of the Palace. It is the founding date of Bogor and the Palace opens for public for few days.

Mari Berbagi

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