Old colonial dancehall, now an independence landmark
From party place to powerhouse
In the colonial days, this was dancehall Concordia. Kitted out with Italian marble floors, wooden furnishings, and crystal chandeliers, this was the place for the rich and famous to party. In 1926, the dance hall was completely revamped in the then-fashionable Art Deco style by Dutch architects Van Galen and Schoemaker.
In 1955 history was made here: the first-ever Asian African Conference brought together leaders of 29 Asian and African countries, most of which had recently emerged from colonial rule. The newly independent states signed the Bandung Declaration of nonaligned movement, a clever move to avoid taking sides in the Cold War. Ever since this significant moment in world history, the building is called Gedung Merdeka: Independence Building.
The free museum features a reconstruction of the signing of the Bandung Declaration, complete with figures of all the prominent heads of state present including Zhou Enlai (China) Nehru (India) and Ho Chi Minh (Vietnam).