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Tjong A Fie Mansion

History of The Tjong A Fie Mansion

A prominent home located in the heart of Medan City at Kesawan Square, this beautiful mansion is full of characters and cultures behind its history in Medan. Now, for limited time only, the mansion is opened to visitors for an inside look at the true history of Tjong A Fie, a historic man.

Tjong A fie Medan

The Tjong A Fie Memorial Institure

Open to Public: 18 June 2009 – 18 August 2009

The History of Tjong A Fie

Tjong Fung Nam, born from Hakka family and more popularly known as Tjong A Fie is born on 1860 in the village of Sungkow, Moyan or Meixien.  He was raised from a simple home, with his elder brother Tjong Yong Hian.  Both have to give up schooling from a young age to help their father in his shop.  Even with limited education, Tjong A Fie quickly learned the business and trading skills and soon pursued his dreams to become independent and successful, hence leaving his village in search for a better life.

Tjong A fie

Tjong A fie

In 1880, after sailing for months, he finally arrived at the port of Deli (Medan).  At that time his brother Tjong Yong Hian had already been living in Sumatra for 5 years and had became a respected merchant in Sumatra.  However, the independent Tjong A Fie wanted to find his own living and went about finding his own work.  Tjong A Fie started to learn and develop business skills from working for Tjong Sui Fo. He developed his social skills interacting with people of all races, Chinese, Melayu, Arab, India, including Dutch.  He began by learning the language Bahasa Melayu which became the national language used in Medan Deli.

Tjong A fie Medan1

The Entertaining Hall

Tjong A Fie grew and became a well respected person in Medan Sumatra, where he stayed away from gambling, alcohol and prostitution in the developing town of Medan.  With his strong sense of leadership and fairness, he became the mediator for the Chinese. The Dutch also seek his help when their plantations have problems with labor issues.  His ability to solve these issues earned him to become the Chinese lieutenant. With his outstanding performance, he was elected to become a Captain (Kapiten).

Tjong a fie mansion medan1

The various rooms

Tjong A Fie was known as a respected businessman who has good social networks and has build good relation with the Sultan Deli, Makmoen Al Rasjid Perkasa Alamsjah and Tuanku Raja Moeda.  As they became good friends, Tjong A Fie became his trusted person and helped dealt with many business matters.

Tjong A Fie also became the first Chinese to own a tobacco plantation. He also developed and expanded to tea plantation in Bandar Baroe and large coconut/palm oil plantations.

Along with his elder brother Tjong Yong Hian, Tjong A Fie joint partner with Tio Tiaw Siat also known as Chang Pi Shih, his uncle as well as consulate of China in Singapore and set up a railway company known as The Chow-Chow & Swatow Railyway Co.Ltd. in China

Tjong A fie bedroom

The Bedroom

Tjong A Fie, a very active social contributor, donated much of his wealth building many facilities for the welfare of the poor regardless of race, cultural beliefs or nationality including many places of worships such as Chinese & Hindu temple, Mosques and Churches.

As a well respected person in Medan who owns many plantations, palm oil and sugar factories, banks and railway companies, he employed more than 10.000 workers. As recommended by Sultan Deli, Tjong A Fie was appointed member of gemeenteraad (city council) and cultuurraad (cultural council)

4 February 1921, Tjong A Fie passed away from apopleksia or bleeding in the brain, in his home at Jalan Kesawan, Medan.  It shook the city Medan, thousands flock to pay respect from all over including Sumatera Timur, Aceh, Padang, Penang, Malaysia, Singapore and Java. He became a legend known by many in Medan till today.

Four months before his death, Tjong A Fie wrote his will in the presence of notary Dirk Johan Facquin den Grave. Written in his will, he wanted all his wealth to be managed by Yayasan Toen Moek Tong which was established in Medan and Sungkow at the time of his death. The Yayasan based in Medan has been given 5 missions. Three of them are to provide financial help to young talented people that wished to complete their education, without no cultural or racial choice. Yayasan will also help the disabled who are no longer able to work including the blind or those with fatal illness.  Thirdly, the Yayasan will also help victims of natural disaster of any race or nationality.

For a more concise History in Bahasa Indonesia read at Tjong A Fie Indonesia

The Tjong A Fie Memorial Institure
Jl. Jend A. Yani No. 105 Medan
North Sumatera – Indonesia

Open to Public: 18 June 2009 – 18 August 2009

Tel: 081 3960 29769


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15 Responses & Reviews to “Tjong A Fie Mansion” Share Your Thoughts

  1. Donah on July 24th, 2009 1:45 pm

    Tjong A Fie died in Medan a year before I was born… He could have been a good friend of my father, known as the Tuan Besar Carel (J.C.N.) van Loon of the NIGM (Nederlands indische Gas Maatschappij).. But we arrived in Medan in 1930…. Nevertheless, dad had many Chinese friends supplying me with (free of charge) “cubic meter crates” of Chinese fireworks.. I needed 5 to 7 of them to be able to burn all night of New Year´s Eve…. Dad supplied the store owners in Kesawan and anywhere else with enough electricity (not running thru´the meter !!) for hundreds of “moving” light bubs like neons…. “Only For His Friends”…. during the festivities…. for the 6 of 7 years we lived in Medan…. 6 !! because the last 2 years I was attending the PSV (Planters School Vereninging) in Berastagi I had flunked class and was one year restricted from coming home for vacations… Dad was very generous but also very strick. I learned a lot !!

    Now who was the Tuan Besar Panloon…. ?? Born off a North American Navajo Indian (chief´s daughter) mother and a Commodore Julien Jean deVallon, an original French Huguenot (royalty) Naval officer serving with the French Navy in Den Helder (Holland) who was later installed as the Governor of Sumatra´s West Coast province in Fort de Kock, and renamed by the Dutch to “van Loon”…. Carel (Charles), my dad was born on Stateside, raised in FdK. joined the US Navy to become a “saylor” like all the first sons of the deVallon line….. Dad met mom in Batavia where he was “on shore leave” from his war ship. Mother was “engaged to be married” to some lazy brat ( as she recalled her fiancee) and eloped with her new “flashing” USNaval “saylor,,, Cdr. Jean Charles N. deVallon, US Navy.. I was born on his ship in Hawaiian waters.. 4 minutes after they were married by the Captain.. Mom was Dutch… descendant of the Gersen Pot Müller families of Royal Dutch Grain traders and one princes from the Jogjakarta Kraton in mid Java, her grandmother….. Mom and dad split in July 1936 and mom. my younger brother MIC and I went to Holland for further education.. Dad stayed behind, got captured by the Japs who beat him up for his ham radio connections with his USNaval buddies… He never told them, escaped from the transport train en route to his final destination by jumping off – wounded as he was (I´ve seen the marks on his body) – got lost in the wilderness, survived by being treated, fed, healed, etc. etc. by Javanese women and stayed under cover as a common Javanese kulie on a rickety bicycle without rubber tires…. selling baby clothes made by the inmates of the Dutch women camps near Semarang….. He returned to Medan after the war from where he rebuilt all 38 electrical power plants from Medan all the way up to Kota Radja, protected by his Aceh chauffeur Junus from way back in 1930… Those 2 were inseparable except for the years under Jap occupation.. I came to visit dad in 1948 on leave from 322 Sqdn “Spitfires” when Junus picked me up in Labuan Deli from the ferry from Batavia… dropped me of at the Medan Hotel for a meal, drinks and sleep for Junus to drive me up the mountains to Berastagi where my dad was rebuilding the company´s electrical power plant….. We toured the vicinity, the Batak, Toba and Minankabau Heights.. I´ve been back to Prapat and Harangaul and Losemaweh where I had my horses at the race track. The PSV was burned down.. as were both our houses… the Japanese shalet my dad won in a Jap poker play (his Jap friend harakiried in 1935) and the NIGM bungalow with the “atap” roof he bought from the company. Indonesia had confiscated and nationalized our property, paid the land value in 40 million US dollars which they send us via the Dutch Government…. We never saw the money…. The Dutch picked it in for the benefit of “rebuilding” Holland after the war…. further claiming that we owed them 4.3 million florines in back taxes during Jap occupation !!…. We never paid !! Never mind.. I joined the British RAF in WW2, went Stateside way in 1957… took my new wife (Sephardime Jew) I had saved earlier in ´46 from a Dutch “hair cutting ceremony” – she had a German officer for a friend (she was 17) during the war – and my newborn baby girl and left Holland to the Dutch who had never been good or even friendly to us…. My 2 girls are on US soil with their families… My wife died of cancer and I remarried a “young” widow of 51 (7 years younger) who died 2 years ago here on the island where we settled after my retirement from the US Navy and the International oil/chemical industry…
    I´m 90 minus a strike or some, live by myself with a big Presa Canario dog which once in a while protects me by taking a chunk of meat from “nasty” males… I noticed he´s not too friendly with anykind of african negro…. I didn´t educate him.. so I figure that Mr Obama ´d better stay clear of my property… for not being a US (Hawaii) born black but a descendant of pure Arab ancestry and “dropped” by his white Ami mother in Kenya where she happened to be visiting Sarah, the Luo woman who took care of Obana Sr when his own mom died.. Sarah is the 4th “legal” wife out of 14 (10 un-legal not carrying the name Obama) Islamic wifes of grand father Barak Hussein Obama the First, Arab slave trader under the British… This present Potus has been put in the saddle by powerful niggers like Oprah with billions and billions of money behind them…. Obama is a nice boy… has no US birth certificate, was flown home to Hawaii with his mom (Ann Durham) and was registered as being “born alive” … just like my daughter Sue who imigrated into the US with my then wive Tosca (the Sephardim)…. Potus Obama is no Niggah and not US born… He does not have a law degree…. he was a student at Harvard paid by a rich nigger uncle… he lectured Constitutional Law at Harvard School of Law (thankx to his “uncles”) and he learned how to talk…. Like Sukarno, like Hitler.. like Castro… And he has a full staff of tutors, his wife Michelle not the least one… But I´m watching out for Hillary…. Bill and her are the best America ever had… Tell it to them religious jerks and niggers !! Thankx for letting me get rid of some “air”….. Donah…. //

  2. Donah on July 24th, 2009 4:11 pm

    Alll I can further ad i that Mr Tjong A Fie appears to have been a great man and a true asset to Medan and it´s longtime Chinese imigration and culture… ´Too bad he didn´t live to be 600 s did Methusalem (vodeffahizzname) ….
    From my time on Sumatra I learned a lot about social cultures whether Chinese, Malayan, Javanese, Islam, Borobudur, Batak, Minankabau, Aceh and other cultures… but then I was lucky to have parents others never had…. I grew up in “all” classes…. as one of the very few (original) Americans having that opportunity…..
    I would like to visit my old playgrounds fagain.. but am affraid not being able to make it…. too fragile for reasons my age is too frail for takeing the strain of “going on a rampage” again on my old stamping grounds…. Thankx to Yunus who later turned Pemuda but stayed loyal to “his Tuan Bezar” i learned to steer a big, heavy 1930 something Chrysler Imperial Landauer up and thru´the 70 hairpin curves to Berastagi at an early age. And thankx for having practically grown up on the concrete floor of electrical power plants between turbines and diesels and generators and 36,000 volt cables I became wnat I am….. I wasn´t bent on doing “a” job or “having” one.. All that thankx to the multitude of cultures and influences …. and thank you Medan !!….. Donah//

  3. Pearly on July 24th, 2009 9:20 pm

    Thank you for sharing this story. I have a book written by his daughter called “Memoirs of a Nonya” Queeny Chang.

    She wrote her life in Medan she loved and the father who gave her everything.


  4. agongkia on July 24th, 2009 10:20 pm

    Very comfortable to know that there are great people around who pledge to provide financial help to young talented people to complete their education especially during those days where making a living is very tough for many..
    No more chance to ask my late talented father who was born 1 year before Captain Tjong passed away why he did not approach Yayasan Toen Moek Tong for financial help and have to give up his study due to poverty.

  5. on July 24th, 2009 11:08 pm

    Will you share some of her thoughts with us here? Thanks

  6. China Carnival #5: Travel tips, Silk market, Shenzhen | - The China Blog on August 23rd, 2009 12:07 am

    [...] presents Tjong A Fie Mansion History posted at Kota Medan Guide, saying, “A prominent home located in the heart of Medan City at [...]

  7. fahrizal fahmi on September 13th, 2009 7:28 pm

    Senang sekali ada orang Seperti Donah yang satu tahun setelah Tjong A Fie meninggal mengetahui banyak kehidupan Tjong A Fie dan kota Medan.

    Perkenalkan saya staf peneliti Tjong A Fie Memorial Institute. Saya sudah banyak membaca perjalanan Tjong A Fie. Menurut saya Tjong A Fie adalah seorang saudagar kaya tapi juga dermawan yang jarang sekali ada di tengah kehidupan kita sekarang. Memang harta peninggalan Tjong A Fie sudah banyak yang lenyap tapi semangatnya saya kira masih ada di tengah-tengah kita. Peninggalan yang bersifat fisik bisa hilang, dijual, atau banyak yang diambil masyarakat tapi intengible heritage-nya tetap ada dan harus kita teruskan serta lestarikan. Tjong A Fie banyak sekali berbuat kebajikan tanpa memandang dia dari kelas apa. Banyak infrastruktur yang sudah dia bangun. Mesjid, kuil, gereja, sekolah, rumah sakit, bank, hotel, jembatan adalah perbuatan yang tidak bisa dilakukan orang lain di zamannya atau sekarang. Dan banyak lagi yang tidak bisa disebutkan dari peranan dan apa yang telah dilakukan Tjong A Fie. Yang jelas Tjong A Fie telah meletakkan dasar pembangunan bagi kota Medan.

    Sekarang Tjong A Fie mansion merupakan saksi kebesaran dan munument peninggalan Tuan Tjong A Fie yang harus kita jaga bersama. Monument itu tetap dalam kondisi aslinya dan terbuka untuk umum. Tinggal kita sebagai generasi penerus bagaimana melestarikan bangunan bersejarah tersebut.

    Salam Fahrizal Fahmi

  8. Christine on April 12th, 2010 8:11 am

    Interesting reading. My father was born in Medan and was a POW during the war. His father managed the tobacco plantation ~ I don’t believe there is anything left as the Indonesians looted everything during the Japanese occupation.

    Donah, thanks for some of the info about the area, my dad doesn’t talk about it. He was 13 when he went into the camps.

  9. Christina on September 22nd, 2010 7:05 am

    I grew up in Medan but never had the chance to visit this mansion at all. I am very much interested now especially i have several Aussie friends that will be visiting Medan.

    My question is, is it still open for public? As the article only mentioned the opening time was for last year. Do I need to make a booking or can i just do a walk-in?

  10. Harry Zegwaard on September 28th, 2010 4:44 pm

    Lieve Tjong niton en Tjong Ni Soen,

    Zag de website en dacht even te reageren omdat ik met Ni-Soen in de klas heb gezeten nl. op de concordante MULO-in Medan ( Bas )in de jaren vijftig.
    Eigenlijk waren we een beetje verlied op elkaar en misschien nu nog een beetje.?
    Met de auto met chauffeur, gingen we naar Pantai-cermin, ook met anderen en lonkten naar elkaar, flirten een beetje zo op onze manier toen!
    Haar Oma op de Kesawan keek altijd een beetje bezorgd. Haar kleindochter met een Totok die ik niet ken ?
    ook gingen we naar de bioscoop, heel goedkoop want papa of opa was eigenaar van die div. bioscopen!!
    Heb in Holland contact gehad met zus Ni-ton en haar jongere zusje die thans in Singapore woont…… Nicht Veronica heeft op die bewuste dag lekker voor mij gekookt. Ik voelde me net een sultan die meerdere vrouwen om zich heen had.
    Ook zusje die in Engeland woont hield ons gezelschap en heb genoten van hun aandacht en verhalen.
    Ni-Soen schijnt op Bali te wonen en ik hoop haar in oktober te bezoeken als ik met m’n vrouw en andere vrienden van Medan daar een drie weken naar toe ga met vacantie. Hoe kom ik aan haar adres en telefoon ? Heb nog mooie foto’s van de tabaksondernemingen in Pulau Brayan(? ) en ook van het mooie grote familiehuis, maar dat is inmiddels gesloopt?

    Goed, ga het hierbij laten en hoop via deze weg een reactie op welke manier dan ook te ontvangen van een van de Tjong A Fies. Op Internet veel te lezen over deze beroemde familie en zeer interessant.

    Salam en veel liefs van Harry Zegwaard, totok maar met een Indisch sausje overgoten hoor.

    n.b. zie boven. Mocht niet verlegen zijn, maar dat ben ik nooit geweest hoor.

  11. Panorama of the Day - Tjong A Fie Mansion, Medan, Indonesia on December 4th, 2011 12:51 pm

    [...] I had 5 days in Medan, Indonesia, to see some of the highlights of this city. I met my friend, Suwandi, who I worked with back in the States but lives here now. Together we perused some great local eateries as well as some must-see sites. I was lucky to have a friend who grew up in the area give me a guided tour of some great places. One of these was the Tjong A Fie mansion. [...]

  12. Robin Donald deVallon... aka Donah..// on December 17th, 2011 6:17 am

    Today, Friday, Dec 16, AD 2011 I am roaming the web and came to this old site… reading my input to the Tjong A Fies back 2 1/2 years ago.. I am scrutinizing Medan and Medan Glugur (on Google maps) where we lived back in the 30s.. but there is nothing to go back to… The NIGM electrical power plant… where we lived in Medan…the houses.. Berastagi… the PSV…. both our chalets.. don´t exist no more… it´s some 75 years ago… Evrything looks different now..
    And I´m wondering where all the “tôtôks” went… Lost all over this world… I found one of the kids at the PSV back here in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria,,, That´s Islas Canarias, Spain.. His name is Theo Pellinkhof… became a Lt ter Zee 2 from the Royal Dutch Navy .. He is in his 80s while I am leaving octogenarianship next year 2012.. He is on cyber (don´t know his e-mail address) but the fone number is 0034 928 274 070, ´lives on Leon y Castllo 379, Las Palmas. GC. Esp.. GIVE HIM A BUZZ so he doesn´t feel that lonely that much… Me..? I am not Dutch … but American born… dad was original Navajo tribe w/ French Huguenot… but living with the Dutch as well as in the former Dutch East Indies and Europe I am still fluent in Dutch… Thankx for finding some in history back…. Donah.. Cdr USN (ret) like my dad…..

  13. Robin Donald deVallon... aka Donah..// on December 26th, 2011 3:12 am

    It´s Xmas 2011 and Holy Day in most of the Western World…. and some years later then THEN when I wrote my essay about the 1930s and the House of Tjong A Fie in the Sagasta, Kota Medan….
    ´Peaceful too.. here in the Islas Canarias where I live (the last 31 years)…no street violence.. no poleece car chases.. no war of protest activities.. and no terroristas..!!

    I went back on Google.. back to find waht´s left of “then”… Nada.. No trace of “anyting”.. but Medan and Indonesia live on… for whatever is…
    Where are my father´s Indonesian Van Loon Kids… a daughter and twin sons ?? They lived in Medan Glugur.. but where now.. I don´t know wether they have computers and could eMail me at “”.. I´d be tickled pink if I could communicate ..
    Back in the late ´60s, early ´70s I was approached to take care of their condition.. being the eldest of my father´s breed (adat wise)- he had died some time before I was informed much later… when with the US Navy… and I proposed to have the 2 boys educated and trained in Holland.. (at my cost).. so the twins could return to Indonesia for a better future… but never heard their response… Adat is adat.. they say.. and you as the eldest of yur father´s breed have to provide for his younger ones…. That would be an endless 1000 US every month… for a bunch of hungries not willing to work but fleecing my welfare…

    So where are they..?? I have the foggiest idea… Fill me in.. Donah..// Merry Xmas and a Happy (bettre) New Year 2012….

  14. Juliana on May 15th, 2012 12:47 pm

    My mother is haunted by her past in Medan. Please see my notes in a picture I drew for mother’s day My great-grand father was a royal that is little that I know.
    We were listed in the national papers Lee Xiaou Mei, and my Brother Tseur Chiang, when Grandmother Died. She was the one with ‘Royal’ ancestry, and had an arranged marriage with I’m guessing the Lee family of a political connection – to protect her during that time of communist upheaval.
    Her name was Wilhelmina. They were in love with the Dutch Royal Family, hence my english name is Juliana… They took dutch names to protect themselves, switched religion to muslim to hide, and mum was sent to communist school back in China.
    If anyone knows who my great grandfather is, it will conclude my search. I remember seeing photographs my mother kept of her time living in their mansionas she grew up in Medan. She used to ride her bike through the huge halls. She talked about verandas on the outside 2nd stories where she used to throw stones up at some old guy.
    She used to make jewellery in a jewellery shop owned by the family, and work in the boutique too.She told me Auntie no. 5 was the only one that treated her as one of them. Mother was one of 7 children in the family and outcast but brought back and never fit in..
    Her past she has never come to terms with, she feels that she is owed all this inheritance, and yet doesn’t seem to understand how the government took everything back. She recounts images of her grandparents who scared her because he in particular wore the funny hat, long hair, and her grandmother had bound feet. Luckily her mother – Wilhelmina – escaped that ritual, because they were seeing the end of those traditions…
    Can anyone help me find out who these people were? my ancestry. My mother’s pride and pain….

  15. Donah on June 8th, 2012 1:10 am

    We are abt 6 months in 20 and 12.. and I haven’t´t heard from anyone…
    What happened… did everyone perish ??? Is all of Medan doornail dead ???
    Am I the only one living ..?? from history..??
    Let me know per above mail address or by 0034 928 200 994 phone or fax…
    I´d appreciate your efforts… Donah.., From the GripeVine..//

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