This book combines the work of twenty-one authors from East and West, some of whom are long-time residents of Jakarta and all of whom have lived and studies there for shorter or longer periods. They have in common that each of them has become fascinated by certain characteristics of Jakarta’s many-sided life. The subjects they deal with range from conditions in VOC Batavia to particular national or ethnic communities to administrative developments. The essays on early colonial Batavia yield new insights into the demographic situation bases on archival research, and those essays dealing with more modern topics make use of special sources, including maps, that are not easily accessible through libraries. Reading through this volume one encounters striking parallels between the past and the present, because many aspects of present-day Jakarta are deeply rooted in the history of the city: demography and urban morphology, environmental absurdities, traffic, and floods as well as ritual and symbolism. Historians, anthropologists, sociologists, administrators, and town planners may well draw inspiration from this kaleidoscopic picture of Indonesia’s capital. Kees Grijns (1924-1999) was Senior Lecturer at the University Leiden. In 1991 he published Jakarta Malay: a multidimensional approach to spatial variation (Leiden, KITLV Press). Peter J.M. Nas (1944) is Associate Professor at the Institute of Cultural and Social Studies, University Leiden. He has published extensively in the fields of urban and applied sociology and anthropology.