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Let’s Witness the History of Indonesia Through 4 Best Museums in Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia

by Vina Krisna Yanti
Museum in Semarang

Semarang, the capital city of Central Java, Indonesia has long historical stories of the struggle for Indonesia’s independence. The city itself is the witness of how Indonesian tried to stand up for their country against the imperialism and colonialism.

The most prominent one is the Five Days Battle in Semarang, a heroic battle where Semarang youngsters fought against Japanese troops to stand for Indonesia after the independence proclamation in August 17th, 1945 for 5 days straight from October 14th to October 19th, 1945.

The battle is comemmorated every year through ceremonial and theatrical events. To witness this history of Indonesia, besides attending this ceremony, you can also visit museums in Semarang that preserve the equipments used in the struggles along with their heroic stories.

Just like the museums in Banten, the museums in Semarang can also broaden your historical knowledge about Indonesia. They can also be one of the reasons why you should visit Semarang. As a guideline, here is a list of 4 museums in Semarang that can help you witnessing the history of Indonesia.

1. Mandala Bhakti Museum

Mandala Bhakti Museum

Mandala Bhakti museum is located in Barusari village, Semarang city. It is a museum which comemmorizes the struggle of Indonesian national soldiers who fought for Indonesia’s independence.

The collections vary from war weapons, the former uniform of the national soldiers, important documents, to the photos of Indonesia’s national heroes.

Being inside the museum and look at its collections will bring you back to the moments of when Indonesian tried to get back their independence. The collections include the ones from the Five Days Battle in Semarang.

Even though the collections are about historical things, you will not be bored as the museum is quite modern by exhibiting the collections with 3D paintings. This will be great if you bring your kids to this museum.

Mandala Bhakti museum opens Monday-Saturday at 8 AM-6 PM. You will not be charged anything as the entrance ticket is free.

2. Lawang Sewu Museum

Lawang Sewu Museum

Lawang Sewu museum is located in Central Semarang, Semarang city. The building was firstly built in 1904 by Dutch colonial government. After the independence, it was then used as the office of the Indonesian Republic Railway Department.

The building was the center of the Five Days Battle in Semarang between Indonesia’s Youth Railway Force and the Japanese troops. Considering its historical background, the government finally preserved Lawang Sewu as a museum and historical building.

The museum is situated on the first floor of the building. It exhibits the trains and rail pads used long before and nearly after the independence. The evening view of the building is greater as it is illuminated by beautiful lighting, making it looks classic and majestic. This can be a great attraction of nightlife in Semarang, Indonesia.

Around the museum there are some local food vendos offering Semarang culinary specialties. You can visit some of them to have an idea of what to eat in Semarang next time when you visit again.

Visiting the museum will be a great choice as you can learn the history while also enjoying the colonialism architecture. It opens everyday from 7 AM-9 PM. The entrance fees are relatively inexpensive with IDR 5,000 for students and children under 12 years old and IDR 10,000 for adults.

3. Ambarawa Train Museum

Ambarawa Train Museum

Located in Ambarawa regency, Semarang, that was used as a military city by the Dutch colonial government. They built railway station there to transport their troops easily. Ambarawa Train museum preserves and exhibits numerous old locomotives used in Indonesia that mostly came from the colonial era.

The museum tells about the history of trains and their tracks in Indonesia. It exhibits the replica of train parts that come from different eras and the trains themselves that are parked on the museum courtyard.

The main attraction that attracts many people is riding old steam locomotive. There are two routes that you can choose, the Ambarawa-Bedono and Ambarawa-Tuntang stations routes, with three departure schedules, which are at 10 AM, 12 PM, and 2PM.

On your way, you will enjoy the sensation of riding old steam locomotive that is very rare while also enjoy the beautiful scenery that is very refreshing. It is definately amazing to take your kids there as they will be so excited.

It opens everyday from 8 AM-5 PM with IDR 10,000 for adults and IDR 5,000 for children as the entrance fee.

4. Ranggawarsita Museum

Ranggawarsita Museum

Ranggawarsita museum is situated in West Semarang district that was built in 1975 and has more than 60,000 collections that are related to the cultural aspect of Java.

The building has 4 floors which are numbered as building A, B, C, and D that exhibit and preserve the collections of prehistoric stuff, currency, and many other ancient objects. No wonder the museum is popular as students study tour destination.

Building A exhibits collections related to geology, geography, and plaentology. Collections of Hindu-Buddhist and Islam periods are housed in building B. Building C exhibits items related to the struggle for independence period, including the military weapon.

Building D is the house for arts in Central Java. One of the arts is Wayang, Indonesia’s traditional puppets used to deliver messages and values.

The museum opens everyday at 8 AM-3 PM with IDR 4,000 for adults and IDR 2,000 for children.

The museums show that the history of Indonesia in Semarang includes the social and cultural aspects of the society from time to time. On your next vacation, you might also need to add the cultural, religious, and natural aspects of Semarang on your list of things to do in Semarang.

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