De Locomotief was the first newspaper published in Semarang. It was established in the middle of 19th century and led by Pieter Brooshooft, an ethical political activist. The daily was originally named Semarangsch Nieuws en Advertentieblad. In 1863 it was renamed De Locomotief, after the passage of the first train in Semarang. The paper was closed, but in 1947 De Locomotief was re-opened again. According to Rukardi Achmadi, a notable Semarang historian In 1957 due to the Indonesian confrontation with the Dutch related to the Papua Barat (eng:West Guinea) issue , the newspaper was closed and the building was taken over by Tempo Media Group, and there they runs the newspaper named Suluh Marhaen until its banned by the government under Soeharto regime on 1966 due to its political affiliations.
|De Locomotief office condition, shortly after I got information about the exact|
place of this from Indische Literarire Wandelingen but its already in ruins.
Trace back De Locomotief office, Senarai Bangunan dan Kawasan Pusaka Kota Semarang (List of the Heritage Building and Area in Semarang) issued in 2006 stated that the building currently used as Bank Mandiri KCP Kepodang. Its a national bank branch that situated in the crossroad between Jalan Kepodang and Jalan Suari. Then in wikipedia.org, also stated that place is supposed to be the location of De Locomotief Hoofdredactie. But if we check through the photo’s archive of KITLV and Tropenmuseum either. The building that currently used as Bank Mandiri KCP Kepodang isn’t the De Locomotief daily office. Its a Nederlandsch Indische Handelsbank, a Dutch private bank that established in 1863 and nationalized by the Indonesian government in 1957 and renamed into Bank Umum Negara (BUNEG). BUNEG then changed its name into Bank Bumi Daya and following the major restructurisation of the national banking company in 1999, Bank Bumi Daya mergered with three others bank, Bank EXIM, BAPINDO and Bank Dagang Negara formed Bank Mandiri. Thus the asset now belongs to Bank Mandiri. So its became clear that building isn’t De Locomotief office.
|Inside the ruins of De Locomotief building. On the|
opposite is the former office of one's of the largest
export-import company during the colonial period
Geo Wehry & Co.
In the headlines of De Locomotief its written that the address of the office is in Hoogendorpstraat 20-22, Semarang. Currently the place that used to be named as Hoodendorpstraat is changed into Jalan Kepodang, but the problem is, is it the numbering of the building still following the numbering during the colonial period? Then in June 2015, I got the answer! A website named “Indische Literaire Wandelingen” doing the documentation of several building in Kota Lama (eng: old town) Semarang. Its seems like they do it in the 90’s decade (seen from the photos and comparation of the condition of the building), and there, they written about De Locomotief office is located in Jalan Kepodang 20-22, so the numbering is just the same as during the colonial period.
Unfortunately, when I got there to make a documentation, the 2nd floor part is already collapsed! What a pity! The owner took the teak wood of the 2nd floor, because of some of its got stolen before. Its became a fatality due to the construction of the building still in the old ways, that floor is also use a function as wall holder. Then during our wet season, the wall getting fragiled and collapsed. Only the 1st floor is remained, like a ruins in World War 2 film scene. Luckily i have a documentation about this building in 2007, but I take it from a bit far distance. At least, I can show to the people how’s look like, De Locomotief office. A place where ethical politics figure like Conrad Theodore van Deventer struggled for the better condition of the indigenous people of Indonesia through the newspaper. Without De Locomotief activities, I simply cant imagined about how the history of Indonesia would written. Surely its a really important building as a part of our struggle for independence, but now its forgotten and slowly perished.
NB. This article firstly published on November 9th 2012, but then due to these new fact about the exact position of the De Locomotief office, so I completely change the old version of the articles.