Overview stories

01- The grave findings of my ancestor Kan Keng Tiong and the phenomenon of Mandarins in Dutch East Indies

02- The mass grave

03- Djakarta, Jalan Teuku Umar 15, the last house of H.H. Kan

04- The number on the yellow Universitas Indonesia jacket

05- The Amateur Orchestra of Djakarta

06- General Destruction Corps

07- The Chinese Tea Lords

08- The ancestoral altars of the Kan-Han-Tan clan

09- The coffin of great grandmother Thung Leng Nio as an example of a traditional Chinese coffin

10- Tan Goan Piauw and Thung Leng Nio

11- Villa Mei Ling is an historic building for Dutch India

12- Tan Tjoen Lee and Han Tek Nio-

13- Kan Keng Tjong overview

14- Desiree Tan (Hoei Nio)

15- Bommeltje

16- H.L.L.Kan and the opium and salt regie in Dutch India

17- Music in my family

18- Gedong Dalam a Paladio villa in Dutch East Indies

19- Ferry Tan's death and the failed cover-up of the s.s. Insulinde

20-The disappeared Compagnie Seepers of the City Guard of Batavia

21- Han Oen Lee en Kan Oe Nio

22- Ganti Nama,the compulsory name change imposed on Chinese Indonesian citizens and other racial laws in Indonesia




11. Villa Mei Ling in Bandung: a historical building for the Dutch East Indies

duw tekst


On 22-7-1930 the newspaper “Het nieuws van den dag voor Nederlandsch Indie“ published an article called “A millionaires boulevard! New palaces in Bandung” great plans.
It states among other things:

  • That Bandung will have a brand new suburb on the North, near the Dr. de Grootweg, the new connection road between the Dagoweg and the road to Lembang.
  • That Mr. K.B. Han of Parapattan, Batavia, the well-known landlord of Bekasi, acquired a premises of 30.000 square meters  there, after Mr. Hoogland – a connoisseur as few others of Bandung and surroundings  - personally had shown him the attractions of this terrain in view of his intention to build a large estate . The view - one could say a panorama – surely is very magnificent.
  • That engineer Voorhoeve from Bandung has visited the ss Baloeran to precisely study the decorations on the walls and staircases of this beautiful ship, this on instruction of Mr. Han and with permission of the Lloyd.  In the future palace the study of Mr. Voorhoeve will be used and every effort will be made to make the external architecture and the interior as modern and beautiful as possible. It will be a fairytale building!

At the same time as this article was published the constuction of the villa which would later be called Villa Mei Ling was in full swing. According to this article:

  • Already thousands of koelies are engaged in the construction of a connection with the Groot road and soon the construction of the new building will start. A true palace with a beautiful deer park, tennis lawns, lotus ponds etc.  and a complete village of annexes and pavilions will make the place complete.   
Villa meiling

On this postcard one can see how the hills north of Bandung since the 30's of the last century is dominated by two buildings namely Villa Mei Ling (on the right) designed by F.W. Brinkman and Villa Isola (on the left) designed by Charles P. Wolff Schoemaker. Villa Isola is well known, but even the historical role of Villa Mei Ling is unknown.This story is written to nullify this omission and to make this villa more known to the general public

About the architect F.W. Brinkman we could find the following article:

Brinkman   brinkman
In the “Commemorative album of the period 1918-1930“ by the Algemeen Ingenieurs- en Architectenbureau (AIA) it is stated:

“The Algemeen Ingenieurs- en Architectenbureau (AIA bureau) was regarded as a large and well-known architect company in the Dutch East Indies with its own construction company. It was established around 1916 in Batavia (Jakarta) by the former BOW architects F.J.L. Ghijsels (1822-1947) and H. von Essen together with the contractor F. Stoltz. The company extended in 1927 with an establishment in Surabaya. In 1932 followed an office in Bandoeng, under the supervision of architects F.W. Brinkman and G.H. Voorhoeve with whom architectural firm AIA entered into an association."

Below you can see Villa Mei Ling, just after the completion of the building in 1932 from various points of view (Photos from the photo album of Lucy Kan the eldest daughter of my grandfather H.H. Kan).

villa meiling overzicht

Also some photos were taken by my parents in 1935.

On the first and last photo my parents are on a terrace or balcony of Villa Mei Ling. In the background of the first and fourth photo is the pavilion where aunt Hilda, third daughter of H.H. Kan lived.

This villa is named after the wife of the at that moment president of the Republic of China, General Chiang Kai Shek namely Mei Ling Soong (Sung).

kaart villa meiling
luchtfoto to enlarge

Villa Mei Ling is situated between the Lammingaweg presently Jalan Sangkuriang and the Dr. de Groot weg, presently Jalan Siliwangi.

Exterior and Interior of Villa Mei Ling

My grandfather Hok Hoei Kan (H.H. Kan) and his brother Han Khing Bie (K.B. Han) could not have suspected that the building by architect F.W. Brinkman would play such an historical role.
Desiree Tan

Their purpose was a beautiful villa with a splendid view on a cool spot away from hot Batavia.
The Art Deco architect Brinkman designed not only the building but also together with his partner engineer Voorhoeve the interior, the furniture and the stained glass windows. Examples of these designs are in the photos taken by my father Louis Kan of my mother Desiree Tan around 1935. Unfortunately the photo albums with more interior samples of Villa Mei Ling were lost during World War II.


What is left of the interior nowadays was photographed by my brother during his visit together with my sister to Villa Mei Ling in 2001.

villa meiling
villa meiling

To accentuate the Chinese character of Villa Mei Ling some Chinese panels were integrated into the walls.

After the marriage of Princess Juliana and Bernard, Villa Mei Ling was inspected by several governmental departments their purpose was to use it as a place to stay when the married couple would visit the Dutch East Indies. Because of the increasing threats of war this visit was cancelled.
In time Villa Mei Ling was continuously embellished and all antique and art objects of the two brothers Kan and Han were concentrated in this villa. The idea was to make Villa Mei Ling a Kan-Han museum. Under supervision of Lucy Kan and my father Louis Kan, new art and antique objects were acquired. Of the antique objects in the villas of H.H. Kan and his brother are only a few photo’s left.


One of the Ming vases with Cicilia Kan, second daughter of H.H. Kan

bruiloft hilda  

The wall screen in eight parts on the occasion of the wedding of Hilda Kan, third daughter of H.H. Kan with Jesse Sung, son of the Chinese Consul in the Netherlands Indies. Their daughter from this marriage was also called Mei Ling.


Behind the table on the 3rd photo more wall screens.

Also it was said that there was a cinema in the cellar and a swimming pool (according to Tan Eng Swie)
zwembad   zwembad

In the photo album of Lucy Kan there are indeed  some photos of a swimming pool. According to her daughter Tan Bie Giok you could reach the swimming pool via a large stairway.

zwembadtrap   zwembad   Sioe Lee
    click to enlarge   click to enlarge

There were also photo's of my father in and my brother Sioe Lee near the swimming pool.


In the garden of Villa Mei Ling is a very prominent and large pergola in the form of half a circle. This pergola can still be seen on Google Earth.


On the above photo's is aunt Hilda, her daughter Mei Ling and my brother Sioe Lee near the pergola.

History of Villa Mei Ling

Villa Mei Ling was built during the years 1930-1931.

In 1942 the Japanese troops landed on Java.  Batavia was declared open town on 5th March 1942, which meant that all high officials left Batavia and the Stadswacht (civil defense) had to submit to the Japanese who conquered Batavia without one gunshot. And because lieutenant general H. ter Poorten had declared Bandung a “not to be conquered fort” the high officials and military withdrew to Bandung. Also Governor General A.W.L. Tjarda van Starkenborgh Stachouwer (7-3-1888 – 16-8-1978) and his adjutant H.J. van Mook went to Bandung.
My grandfather H.H. Kan being a loyal citizen offered Villa Mei Ling as their residence.
On 7th of March Mr Van Mook flew to Australia, however Mr Tjarda stayed. On 8th of March Tjarda and Ter Poorten left after an ultimatum to Kalidjati. Here Ter Poorten assigned the military command of the Dutch East Indies to lieutenant general Imamura. This was the end of 350 years of Dutch domination in Indonesia.

As from 8th of March 1942 Villa Mei Ling was a sort of concentration camp for high officials.

“burgerkamp voor hoge functionarissen”.

After the capitulation of the Japanese my grandfather and his brother did not retrieve Villa Mei Ling, but instead the Supreme Commander of the English forces took residence. When this English staff left Villa Mei Ling, they took 34 lorries full of art and antique objects from Villa Mei Ling as being “war booty”, even the Art Deco door handles were taken. Protest by the Dutch East Indies government did not yield anything, because the English were “the liberators”.
Even then my grandfather and his brother did not retrieve Villa Mei Ling. Namely general Spoor of the KNIL with staff settled in this building. Clearly the Dutch flag on top of the roof can be seen.

villa meiling
villa meiling

After the transfer of Sovereignty in 1949 again Villa Mei Ling was not transferred to my grandfather and his brother but to the Indonesian Military Forces.
In 1958 we visited Villa Mei Ling together with family Soetedjo (family in law to be). Apparently they were doing a large renovation, so we were not allowed inside.

villa meiling

This building is nowadays used by the psychological service of the Military Force of Republic   Indonesia (Dinas Psikologi AD)  .

The outside of Villa Mei Ling was photographed by a friend of my sister in 1988. He was not allowed by the military to enter the building.

1988 foto

In 2001 the outside of Villa Mei Ling was also photographed by my brother. Today with street view of Google Earth one can get an impression of the present day look of the outside of Villa Mei Ling. 
Interesting to see, that in 1988 there were no conifers at all, and how much the conifers in front of the building have grown between 2001 and 2018.

 villa meiling
Villa Mei Ling
In 2001

villa meiling 2017

In 2018


Villa Mei Ling was witness to several historical events.
Some questions remain unanswered such as:

  • What is known about architect F.W. Brinkman?
  • Was there a cooperation with Charles P. Wolff Schoemaker or were they competitors?
  • Could there be some of the original designs and drawings left of Villa Mei Ling?
  • Why is Villa Mei Ling known in Indonesia by the name Villa Ang Eng Kan?
    a family relation between Ang Eng Kan and Hok Hoek Kan is not known to us, or is it
    simply a confusion of “Han and Kan”?

Thanks to all family members who have provided information and the Dinas Psikologi A.D. (Dispiad) for their permission to photograph the interior.

Berkel, February 2018


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