The museum was formerly a cemetery, built by the Dutch colonial government in 1795 as a final resting place for noble Dutchmen. Several important person that was buried in the cemetery area are Olivia Mariamne Raffles – the first wife of British governor general Thomas Stamford Raffles – and Indonesian youth activist Soe Hok Gie.
Colour lithograph from an original watercolor by Rappard. The European cemetery Kerkhof Laan in Tanah Abang with the monument of the priest Van der Grinten in 1881-1889
The cemetery area is the oldest of its kind in Jakarta and may have been the oldest modern cemetery in the world by comparison with the Fort Canning Park (1926) in Singapore, Gore Hill cemetery (1868) in Sydney, Père Lachaise Cemetery (1803) in Paris, and Mount Auburn Cemetery (1831) in Cambridge, Massachusetts