Semarang (formerly Dutch: Samarang), is a city on the north coast of
the island of Java, Indonesia. It is the capital and largest city of
the province of Central Java.
It has an area of 373.78 square kilometres (144.32 sq mi)
and a population of approximately 1.8 million people, making it
Indonesia's fifth most populous city after Jakarta, Surabaya,
Bandung and Medan. The built-up (metro) area had 3,183,516 inhabitants
at the 2010 census spread on 2 cities and 26 districts. Greater
Semarang (a.k.a. Kedungsapur) has a population of close to 6 million
Semarang section), and is located at 6°58′S
110°25′E / 6.967°S 110.417°E / -6.967; 110.417. A major
port during the Dutch colonial era, and still an important regional
center and port today, the city has a dominant Javanese population.
1.1 Classical Indische Town (1678–1870)
1.2 The modern city (1870–1922)
1.3 Japanese occupation and early independence
4 Flood control
6 Sights and landmarks
6.1 Tugu Muda
8 Sport centres
11 Adipura Award
12 Greater Semarang
13 Notable people born in Semarang
14 Sister cities
16 External links
Demak Sultanate 1547-1554
Kingdom of Pajang 1568-1587
Mataram Sultanate 1587-1705
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company 1705-1799
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies 1800-1942
Empire of Japan
Empire of Japan 1942-1945
Template:Country data Republic of
In 1678, Sunan
Amangkurat II promised to give control of
Dutch East India Company
Dutch East India Company (VOC) as a part of a debt payment. In
Semarang state was founded by the Dutch colonial power. On 5
October 1705 after years of occupations,
Semarang officially became a
VOC city when Susuhunan
Pakubuwono I made a deal to give extensive
trade rights to the VOC in exchange of wiping out Mataram's debt. The
VOC, and later, the
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies government, established tobacco
plantations in the region and built roads and railroads, making
Semarang an important colonial trading centre.
The historic presence of a large Indo (Eurasian) community in the area
Semarang is also reflected by the fact a creole mix language called
Javindo existed there.
Classical Indische Town (1678–1870)
The early VOC settlement of
Semarang with its prominent pentagonal
Semarang was handed by the Sultan of Mataram to the Dutch East Indies
in 1678. The city was pictured as a small settlement with a pious
Muslim area called Kauman, a Chinese quarter, and a Dutch fortress.
The fortress has a pentagonal form with only one gate in the south and
five monitoring towers to protect the Dutch settlement from rebellion
actions, segregating the spaces between Dutch settlement and other
areas. In fact, the city of
Semarang was only referred to the Dutch
quarter while the other ethnic settlement were considered as villages
outside the city boundary. The city, known as de Europeesche Buurt,
was built in classical European style with church located in the
centre, wide boulevards and streets skirted by beautiful villas.
According to Purwanto (2005), the urban and architectural form of
this settlement is very similar to the design principles applied in
many Dutch cities, which begun to concern on the urban beautification.
Due to the long and costly
Java War, there were not much of funding
Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies government, effecting the development of
Semarang. The majority of land was used for rice fields and the only
small improvement was the development of surrounding fortress.
Although less developed,
Semarang has a fairly arranged city system,
in which urban activities were concentrated along the river and the
settlement was linked to a market where different ethnic groups met to
trade. The existence of the market, in the later years, become a
primary element and a generator of urban economic growths.
An important influence on urban growth was the Great Mail Road project
in the 1847, which connected all the cities in northern coast of
Central and East
Java and made
Semarang as the trade centre of
agricultural production. The project was soon followed by the
development of the
Netherlands Indies railway and the connecting roads
into the inner city of
Semarang at the end of 19th century.
Colombijn (2002) marked the development as the shift of urban
functions, from the former river orientation to all services facing
The modern city (1870–1922)
Sâm pó lúng
saam1 bou2 lung5
Improved communication, as the result of the Mail and Railway
projects, brought an economic boom to the city in the 1870s. There
were hospitals, churches, hotels, and large houses built along new
main roads; Bojongscheweg, Pontjolscheweg, and Mataram street,
densified population in the ethnic settlements and created the urban
Urban growth densified the urban kampong, reaching 1,000 inhabitants
per hectare and degrading the quality of living conditions. In the
early 20th century, mortality rate were high due to the overcrowding
and lack of hygiene that triggered cholera and tuberculosis
outbreaks. Cobban (1993) noted the ethical movement of
kampongverbetering led by Henry Tillema in 1913 and the concern of the
Advisor for Decentralisation for kampong improvement through the
betterment of public toilets, drainage, and the planning of public
In 1917, a healthy housing project was implemented in the Southern
Semarang called Candi Baru. Thomas Karsten, the advisor for
city planning, transformed the concept of ethnic segregation that
divided previous urban settlements into a new housing district plan
based on economic classes. Although practically the three ethnic
groups were also divided into three economic classes where the Dutch
and rich Chinese occupied the largest lots in the housing district,
Karsten had effectively emerged the developed district by integrating
the road network, introducing newly improved public washing and
bathing, squares and sporting facilities that could be used
communally. Following the Candi Baru, there were three other
housing plans between 1916–1919 to accommodate a 55% population
increase in Semarang; 45,000 Javanese, 8500 Chinese and 7000
Europeans. Karsten marked a new approach to town planning with
emphasis on the aesthetic, practical and social requirements,
articulated not in terms of race but economic zones.
Driven by economic growth and spatial city planning, the city had
doubled in size and expanded to the south by the 1920s, creating a
nucleus of a metropolis where multi-ethnic groups lived and traded in
the city. The villages in the suburbs such as Jomblang and Jatingaleh
steadily became the satellite towns of Semarang, more populated with a
bigger market area. Before the invasion of
Japan in 1942,
already become the capital of
Central Java Province, as the result of
trade and industrial success and spatial planning.
NIS company head office (Gedung Lawang Sewu), Semarang, Dutch East
A Chinese house in
Semarang at the turn of the 20th century.
Aerial picture of Old
Semarang area in 1920s.
0-6-0 locomotive next to the
Lawang Sewu building.
Japanese occupation and early independence
The Japanese military occupied the city, along with the rest of Java,
in 1942, during the
Pacific War of World War II. During that time,
Semarang was headed by a military governor called a Shiko, and two
vice governors known as Fuku Shiko. One of the vice governors was
appointed from Japan, and the other was chosen from the local
Indonesian independence in 1945,
Semarang became the capital of
Central Java province.
Semarang is located on the northern coast of Java.
Semarang features a tropical rainforest climate that borders on a
tropical monsoon climate (Am). The city features distinctly wetter and
drier months, with June through August being the driest months.
However, in none of these months does average precipitation fall below
60 mm, hence the tropical rainforest categorization.
average sees approximately 2800 mm of rain annually. Average
temperatures in the city are relatively consistent, hovering around 28
Climate data for Semarang
Average high °C (°F)
Average low °C (°F)
Average precipitation mm (inches)
Source: Weatherbase 
Semarang ethnic is Javanese, followed by minorities of
Chinese, India, Arab, and others (including local ethnics such as
Sundanese, Batak, Madura, etc.).
About 4-5 % of the city's population is ethnic Chinese, many
residing in a
Chinatown in the vicinity of Gang Pinggir. The Chinatown
is called “Kampong Pecinan Semawis” and expresses many aspects of
traditional Chinese culture including foods, rituals, and houses of
In August 2011, a 421 metres (1,381 ft) tunnel dodger at Kreo
river has been finished and Jatibarang Dam construction can begin,
with completion targeted for July 2013. The dam is planned to ease 230
cubic metres (8,100 cu ft) per second of flood water and
will generate 1.5 Megawatts of electricity, provide a drinking water
resource and a boost to tourism.
Semarang's Achmad Yani airport is served by a number of operators
including Air Asia, Garuda Indonesia,
Sriwijaya Air and Lion Air.
The primary means of public transportation is by minibus, called
"bis." Semarang's largest bus terminals are Mangkang and Terboyo.
A bus rapid transit serves Semarang, called Trans Semarang.
Semarang has a toll road, the
Semarang Toll Road. The
Semarang–Solo Toll Road
Semarang–Solo Toll Road is under construction.
Semarang is on
Indonesian National Route 1
Indonesian National Route 1 that connects it to Merak
and Ketapang (Banyuwangi).
Indonesian National Route 14
Indonesian National Route 14 toward Bawen
Semarang Old Town.
Semarang was connected to
Surakarta (Solo) by a rail line in 1870.
There are two large train stations in Semarang:
Semarang Poncol and
See also: Port of Tanjung Emas
The main seaport is the Tanjung Mas seaport.
Mosque of Central Java, the largest mosque in the city.
Sights and landmarks
Further information: Dutch architecture in Semarang
Tugu Muda (English “Young Monument”) is a monument built to
commemorate the services of the heroes who have fallen in the Battle
of Five Days in Semarang. The height of
Tugu Muda is 53 meters. Tugu
Muda is located in front of
Lawang Sewu at Pemuda street. It depicts
Tugu Muda fighting spirit and patriotism of
especially the youth who are persistent, self-sacrificing in high
spirits maintaining the independence of Indonesia. The laying of the
first stone took place on October 28, 1945, by Mr. Wongsonegoro
(Governor of Central Java) at the originally planned location is near
the square. 
Blenduk Church, the oldest church in Central Java.
Sam Poo Kong, the oldest Chinese temple in the city
Sam Poo Kong
Sam Poo Kong temple is the oldest Chinese temple in the city.
There are 593 elementary schools, 220 junior high schools, 106 senior
high schools, and 88 vocational high schools, both public and private
There are 20 universities in Semarang, 12 of them private and 8
public. The most renowned universities of
Semarang are Diponegoro
University and Soegijapranata University.
Dipenegoro University (UNDIP) is one of national or state-owned
universities in Semarang, founded in 1956. The university has 11
faculties: Faculty of Economics and Business, Faculty of Social and
Political Sciences, Faculty of Humanities, Faculty of Law, Faculty of
Medicine, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Fishery and Marine
Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, Faculty of
Public Health, Faculty of Animal Agriculture, and Faculty of
Psychology. The university also offers a postgraduate program.
Soegijapranata Catholic University (UNIKA) is one of the private
universities in Semarang, founded in 1982. There are 8 faculties in
UNIKA: Faculty of Architecture and Design, Faculty of Law and
Communication, Faculty of Engineering, Faculty of Language and Arts,
Faculty of Economics and Business, Faculty of Agricultural and
Technology, Faculty of Psychology, and Faculty of Computer Science.
There are several sport centres in Semarang. Jatidiri sport centre or
Jatidiri Stadium is one of the biggest sport centres in Semarang,
located in Karangrejo, Gajah Mungkur. The centre comprises a soccer
field, in line skate track, tennis filed, climbing wall, swimming
pool, and many others. The capacity of the centre is about 21.000
Knight Stadium is a futsal and basketball centre in Semarang, located
in Grand Marina complex. There is a café and fitness centre in Knight
Like Singapore River,
Semarang is constructing
Semarang River at
Banjir Kanal Barat (Garang River) near Karangayu Bridge. In the middle
of July 2011, gardens in river banks and some traditional boats are
available to use. The project will be finished in 2013 with river
gardens, trotoars, garden lighting, water activities, art sites, sport
sites and balconies and stairs for sightseeing.
Semarang is widely known for its Bandeng presto (pressure-cooked
milkfish), Lumpia, Wingko, Tahu Gimbal, and Ganjel Rel.
also been called 'The city of Jamu' because it is an important centre
for the production of jamu which are a wide range of Indonesian herbal
medicines that are very popular across Indonesia.
Dugderan (id) is an annual festival in
Semarang desecrated to
welcome the Ramadan month (a fasting month for Moslems). The word
“dug” describes the sound of bedug (traditional Indonesian musical
instrument). The word “der” describes the sound of fireworks.
The icon of the festival is a special puppet dragon-like animal called
Warak Ngendog. The word “warak“ stands for “holy” and the word
“ngendog“ expresses a reward for Moslems. Warak Ngendog’s feet
are chained, representing people’s desire that should be postponed
during this holy month. As Dugderan is a festival unique for Semarang,
it represents an important attraction for both local and
Semarang has got Adipura Award for 6 times in a row since 2012.
Adipura Award is given for achievement in cleanliness and greenery at
parks, streets, markets, shop buildings, premises, schools, even
cleanliness of water ways and rivers.
Semarang was initially defined by the government as Semarang,
Semarang Regency, the newly carved
Salatiga city, Kendal Regency, and
Demak Regency. Despite the definition, this includes a lot of
rural areas and the urban cores remain distinct; they have not
amalgamated into a characterless metro area as in Greater Jakarta.
Population '000s (2000 Census)
Population '000s (2010 Census)
Population '000s (2015 Census)
Population density (/km²)
Sources: BPS Jateng
Notable people born in Semarang
Agung Laksono, politician and former Chairman of the House of
Anindya Kusuma Putri, Puteri
Indonesia 2015 and Top 15 of Miss
Anne Avantie, fashion designer.
Conrad Emil Lambert Helfrich, Dutch admiral.
Daniel Sahuleka, Dutch musician.
Fuad Hassan, politician, former Minister of Education and Culture.
Hubertus van Mook, Dutch politician.
Liem Bwan Tjie, architect.
Oei Tiong Ham,
Chinese Indonesian tycoon.
P. F. Dahler, politician, member of Investigating Committee for
Preparatory Work for Independence (BPUPK).
Purnomo Yusgiantoro, politician and current Minister of Defence.
Raden Saleh, painter.
Rob Nieuwenhuys, literary historian and author.
Sutiyoso, chief of Indonesian Intelligence Bureau (BIN).
Tukul Arwana, comedian and television personality.
Willem Einthoven, medical doctor, invented electrocardiography (ECG),
Nobel Prize winner.
Stella Cornelia, singer and actress, ex-member of JKT48
See also: List of twin towns and sister cities in Indonesia
Semarang is twinned with:
Da Nang, Vietnam
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Wikimedia Commons has media related to Semarang.
Official website (in Indonesian)
Semarang travel guide from Wikivoyage
Official website (in Indonesian)
Regencies and cities of Central Java
See also: List of regencies and cities of Indonesia
Indonesian cities with a 200,000+ population
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