A fire has raged in the National Museum in the Indonesian capital Jakarta. Several storage areas for historical objects are said to have been damaged.
The museum in question would receive approximately 470 works of art in the near future that the Netherlands would return to Indonesia. Those works of art were not in danger. “Only the Singosari statues have been sent to Indonesia and they are safe,” a spokesperson for outgoing State Secretary Uslu said when asked.
The fire started around 8 p.m. local time, probably due to a short circuit, writes CNN Indonesia. More than an hour and a half later, the fire brigade reportedly managed to extinguish the fire.
Minister Makarim of Education, Culture, Research and Technology visited the National Museum after the fire. “Our main priority now is to save as many artefacts or historical objects as possible,” he said. The museum will remain closed for the time being, but it is not yet known until when.
Gold and silver
Outgoing State Secretary Uslu announced at the beginning of July that the Netherlands would return hundreds of cultural objects to Indonesia. Among the works that date back is the ‘Lombok treasure’: large quantities of gold, silver coins and gemstones that were captured by the Royal Dutch East Indies Army (KNIL) at the end of the 19th century.
It is currently unclear whether the art that the Netherlands returns after the fire will still go to the National Museum in Jakarta. The cultural objects will go to Indonesia anyway, says the Uslu spokesperson. “The Indonesian government decides where they are displayed.”
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