Adolf Heuken, a prominent writer about Jakarta’s heritage, passed away at the age of 90 on the evening of Thursday 25th July 2019.
Heuken, a German born Jesuit, was also known as Father Heuken to his friends and colleagues. Over the years, he became a prominent figure in the country’s history with books and articles which often addressed the culturally and historically significant buildings and monuments in the country.
“A city without old buildings is like a man without a memory,” Heuken once said. He started his career by writing about Catholicism. He slowly took an interest in the historical value of old, dilapidated buildings across Jakarta and Indonesia in general.
Heuken dedicated himself to the sites, while gathering information and meeting the right people to help him discover the city’s fascinating past. Some of the books he published include History of Catholic Churches in Indonesia (1971), Historical Sites of Jakarta (1982), and The Original Sources of Jakarta History, vol. I-III (1999).
His works range through a variety of topics, starting from moral education to spirituality. Heuken also authored German-Indonesian and Indonesian-German dictionaries. In 2002, he told The Jakarta Post that if all his works were arranged in line, it would be approximately three metres in length. Historical Sites of Jakarta, in particular, offered a glimpse into the city’s dynamic past to understand its present state.
Heuken’s wealth of knowledge and expertise has made him the go-to person for the city’s history, until his passing.
Source: The Jakarta Post
Image: Media Indonesia