Betawi Cultural Village is the embryo of Betawi cultural center, which preserves Betawi culture, traditions, customs and arts, in a naturally well-conserved area.

An initiative to establish a Betawi cultural center was first sparked in 1990s, but was only eventually followed-up by the Bamus Betawi (Betawi Consultative Body) of the period 1996-2001. The initiative was then manifested in a working program plan called “Building Betawi Cultural Village Center”.

With strong supports from Betawi community, leaders and scholars, together with Bamus Betawi as an organization with the capacity of coordinating and guiding all activities within the Betawi organizations, finally a consensus and commitment are reached. As such, without exceeding duties and authorities given by the Jakarta administration, in 1998 Bamus Betawi proposed the establishment of Betawi Cultural Village at Setu Babakan, Srengseng Sawah, Jagakarsa district in South Jakarta. This has been all parties’ responsibilities in providing motivation, guidance and task to preserve Betawi’s traditions and culture.

Prior to the proposal however, the South Jakarta Tourism Agency took part in promoting the Betawi Cultural Village, by organizing a “Festival Setu Babakan/ A Day at Setu Babakan” on September 13, 1997. The event was warmly welcomed by the people. The event successfully introduced people to the rich culture of Betawi, as can be seen in clothing, homemade products, fruits, and others. At the same time, BAMUS Betawi called on the people and formed a task force, called Satgas PBB, to maintain the then-established Betawi Cultural Village.

In 2000, Jakarta’s Governor issued Gubernatorial Decree No. 92/2000 on the arrangement of Betawi Culture Village vicinity at Srengseng Sawah, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta. Based on the decree, the Village’s embryo was built on September 15, 2000.

On January 20, 2001 BAMUS Betawi held a post-Ramadan gathering or halal bi halal with supporting organizations and the Betawi community. At that moment, former Jakarta’s governor Mr. Sutiyoso signed an inscription of the Betawi Culture Village while BAMUS Betawi former Chairman, Mr. H.Abdul Syukur rendered the Satgas PBB task force a mandate to actively play a role in preserving the Betawi Cultural Village, particularly the one at Setu Babakan and Setu Mangga Bolong.

One thing to bear in mind is that the Betawi Cultural Village is not meant to preserve the Betawi people themselves, nor to only serve for tourism purposes. More importantly, it is meant for preserving, developing, and enhancing the Betawi Culture.

The Betawi Cultural Center gained more and more public’s attention, however the legal basis (the Gubernatorial Decree No. 92/2000) had yet to fully accommodate the interest of the Village. Various parties therefore, suggested to deliberate another regulation on the Betawi Cultural Village. In response to that, on March 10, 2005, the Jakarta administration issued Regulation No. 3/2005 on the establishment of Betawi Cultural Village at Srengseng Sawah, Jagakarsa, South Jakarta.

Through this regulation, the village is expected to be better coordinated and planned.

(Indra Sutisna)