The Mandiri Museum is on a roughly ten minutes walking distance from the Jakarta History Museum at Fatahillah Square, Old Batavia. The train station of Kota in between them on your left hand side. You can see the Mandiri Museum when you walk in front of the train station in the same direction as all the traffic goes. Straight ahead you can see the white building with the name on the roof. The Museum Bank Indonesia is located almost next to it on the right hand side. Opposite Mandiri is what looks like a small bus station. You don’t need a bus or taxi to get from Fatahillah Square to Mandiri Museum.
A positive point about the Mandiri Museum is that it’s much more organized and clear than the History Museum regarding a route to follow. There’s just one direction to follow and all topics will pass along that path. A more negative point is that too much info on panels (especially the basement with safety lockers) is only written in Indonesian language. Mandiri Museum is mainly focused on the Dutch colonial time and the VOC, the Dutch East Asia Company. Something that might not be interesting to people of all nationalities who visit. The price for a ticket is 10.000 Rupiah. Double of the price for the History Museum but still below $1 only.
When you come in, you see about five counters with a sign ‘kassier’ and a black board hanging above it with some more Dutch words on it. It’s nice that they kept this place in its original state, but it can be confusing at this point where to get your ticket. From here you follow your way to the right and at the end left.
Topics on the route
You get through a door which leads you to the overall bank business part at the time. Panels on walls show you a map of the different parts and islands and a timeline explanation of Dutch East India Company arrivals starting 1595. What follows is a created wooden bridge with more panels on the wall at your right and human dolls with a waterflow and plants. The next panels show explain the collapse of the Dutch East Asia Company. More panels follow and explain about the Padri War that started in 1803. The Belgian Revolution and the important Dutch individual Johannes van den Bosch who introduced trading policies and later a forced cultivation system.
More panels explain about commodities. Then you get to the part of payment methods. Old cheques and certificates are on display. Pictures of banks at the time and more. After this you might think you’re at the end of your tour because you’re back in the big main hall where you entered and bought your ticket. Only you’re now behind the ticket counter at the other wall of the building. Here you’ll see things which are of a totally different topic than wars, trade and the Dutch. On display are old TV’s, old telephones and old fan’s of different types and time frames.
Opposite on the wall we get back to the former topics of the time. Register books and report books are on display together with shares, bonds, certificates with names, amounts and cooperatives. At the end, which means the leftside wall of the building, a lot of old typewriters hanging on the wall in a sort of art way.
Then you’re still not at the end of your tour. What follows is the basement where you start seeing a lot of old safety lockers and boxes. The place where the money and valuables got stored. All kinds of models safety boxes. Small offices to register. A room where gold bars where stored. Passing this part will bring you to the next, which has displays of old banknotes. A variety of notes from a variety of involved countries and currencies. At the end the boxes of how they shipped all that money away. Then you reach a part that looks more like a prison. Unclear what it’s supposed to be. It looks like nothing in particular and just the end of your tour. Walk upstairs and get to the exit. There you can find a very small place where you can buy a drink or a souvenir.
It might depend on the day you visit but that particular day the Jakarta history museum looked much more popular than the Mandiri Museum in numbers of visitors. In foreigners, Indonesians and students. The topics will be the main reason. A complete history of Jakarta, or only history of trade, spices, Dutch East India Company. Overall the Mandiri Museum is giving a mostly original authentic state, quiet and worth visiting.