Friday, March 11, 2011

The Early Hospital in Semarang (Part I) : St. Elisabeth Hospital

Elisabeth Ziekenhuis, or now known as RS St. Elisabeth around 1947 (source:

In the city of Semarang in early 1920's there's only 2 hospitals, Central Burgelijk Zienkenhuis (CBZ), which is a government hospital (now RS dr.Kariadi) and Juliana Zienkenhuis which is a privately owned hospital (now RS Bhakti Wira Tamtama). At that time, both hospitals are no longer able to accommodate the patient who increasing significantly by the presence of various types of disease outbreaks that often hit the city of Semarang and claimed many casualties. Its really need one new hospital to built to overcome the problem.

A Dutch soldier being treated at Elisabeth Ziekenhuis,
the photos taken on 1947 (source: 
According to RS St. Elisabeth official sites its written that the sisters of the catholic brotherhood St.Francis in Semarang strive to accomplish their goals to establish a new hospital in Semarang. Well, the preparation itself is begun a couple years before by collecting funds from the noblemen in Semarang municipal government and from the center of the Sisters of St. Francis. On 3 September 1923 the funds used to purchase land former Chinese cemetery in the area covering 34.000 in the Nieuw Tjandi(Candi Baru) Region, with beautiful landscape, and quiet area(at that time actually, now is so crowd,haha) it’s a best place for a the hospital. Since laying the first stone on March 9, 1926 by Mgr.APF Van Velsen SJ, the development is carried out by three contractors Ir.Karsten, Ir.Zoetmulder, Ir.Peters and Ir. Keliverda. Prices of building materials has increased remarkable during Ir.Kersten development, so that required substantial additional funding. But finally, the building construction is completed on August 8, 1927. Various preparation for the inauguration held among others by placing 50 beds and other equipment. On October 18, 1927, St. Elisabeth Hospital was officially opened by Mgr. Van Velsen, SJ, accompanied by Fr. P. Hoeberechts, SJ and Mr.Van Gulk, the Resident of Semarang City. (Source:St.Elizabeth official page)

A ward on St. Elizabeth Ziekenhuis
The hospital continue to serve the people until the Japanese occupation in 1942, whereas this hospital was taken over and used as a military office. Well, at that time, all of the Dutchman were sent to the Internment camp. In Semarang City itself the Internment camp was established in Lamper Region, Bangkong(on the Sedes Sapientiae Senior High School), Halmahera Region, and so on. The Dutch nuns from the St.Elisabeth hospital also being taken and 9 of them died in the camp. Folowing Japanese surender in 1945, the St. Elisabeth opened again on 1 September 1945 in a state of disarray and lack of energy. But since the Semarang city was controlled strongly by the Dutch troops during the Independence War of Indonesia, the hospital also become one’s of the important hospital for the Dutch troops. After the war was over in 1949, the St.Elizabeth hospital continued to serve da people and together with the others hospitals in Semarang, providing the best healthcare to the society.

Paul Acket (source: wartajazz)
There's a interesting story about this hospital related with Jazz. How come?Well, this hospital become the born place of the founder of Rotterdam North Sea Jazz Festival, Paul Acket. According to the story Mr.Sambudi in Jazzngisoringin session, Paul Acket's parents actually residenced a plantation in Pemalang City, a city 135km to the west from Semarang. When the time to engender is come closer, since, the medical support is not as good as in Semarang city so Paul Acket's parent decided to go to Semarang by train and engender their babies in St.Elizabeth Hospital.

Paul was not alone, beside him, there's also famous jazz figure born in this hospital. In 1950, this hospital also become the born place of Daniel Sahuleka, the famous Jazz artist. 2 weeks later, little Daniel with their families moved to Winterswijk, Netherlands, a land where he grow up and start his career as musician.

Maybe, Paul and Daniel is just one of a thousand stories related with this hospital. Well, do u have any stories too? Lets share :)

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