City Hall Prison: The Cage within the Batavia City Hall

The overcrowding problem of the detention center was already in place for decades. It was reported in 1845, in the prison of the Batavia City Hall, 85 percent of inmates were died within four months. Most of those were affected by typhoid, cholera, and dysentery due to overcrowded situation in the City Hall prisons. Some of Indonesia’s national heroes ever feel the City Hall prison, including the Prince Diponegoro and Untung Suropati.

The prison cell is located in the basement of the Stadhuis building, it is very small in size so some people called that prison as dark hole and cages. Prison cells received only little light from outside through the little windows with big iron barred, and also function as vents.. The prisoners who undergo severe punishment legs tethered by a chain so he could not run. Prison complex under Stadhuis is divided into two wings, the west wing for the civilians, while the east wing for military prisoners. Throughout the 18th century prison is always filled with the detainees and still functioning until 1856.


In the Stadhuis there is a Death Bell placed on the tower. The first clank was a sign for the prisoner was brought into the courtroom for questioning his identity again. After the second clang, the convicted led up to the puishment stage accompanied by a priest, and on the third clang, judges and other high rank official headed to their places to witness the execution.

While detainee torture device known as Het houten Paard (wooden horse). This tool is a torture device that looks similar piggyback with a sharp spine. The Back of the “horse” in the form of a block of wood with the rough side on the top. The detainee often ordered riding “horse” until many days. Both of their feet hung with a heavy stones or pieces of metal and be watched by the general public to become ridicule. One inmate was placed on it for days with heavy weight on his leg, it was a terrible torture. The wooden Horse was located in the east of the Stadhuis square.

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