Tree Becomes Train Station

VIVAnews - The whir of the locomotives thumps the ears. The sound of the train wheels on the railway track combined with the rushing of the crowd build a typical harmony of a train station called Gambir.

Who has never heard of Gambir? Almost every person in the capital knows Gambir as the largest train station in Jakarta. Constructed in the 1930s, the station serves routes to almost every main city in Java.

In the beginning, Gambir did not imply a train station but was referred to as a night market held to commemorate the enthronement of a Dutch Queen Wilhelmina (the grandmother of Queen Beatrix). Wilhelmina was crowned as queen on August 31, 1898.

Gambir market had been in existence since the 1920s. It was situated around the present Gambir train station or the National Monument field. "It is called Gambir market because they said there were numerous gambir trees in the area," a local elder from around Gambir, Harsono, told VIVAnews.

Gambir tree or Uncaria Gambir has substance called catechins. The catechins, a natural anti-oxidant ingredient, is used for medication.

The Gambir market was one of the famous markets in Batavia (later Jakarta) during the Dutch colonization. People from all corners of Batavia mingled in the market. Therefore, it was natural that people then called the surrounding area as Gambir. It also affected the naming of a station nearby the market.

Today, apart from being known as a train station, the name Gambir is also utilized as an administrative village in Central Jakarta, the location of Gambir train station.