Lawang Sewu: The Thousand Doors Mansion, Semarang, Central Java, Indonesia

Lawang Sewu is a mansion located in Semarang, Central Java, was built by Dutch 1904 to 1907 as Nederlands-Indische Spoorweg Maatschappij, Dutch Indies Rail Company. Local people call this building Lawang Sewu or Thousand Doors, as this building has plenty of doors, but sure less than one thousand actually. It has tall and wide windows, that local people call the window as doors. This big, beautiful yet sad building stand out in the area.

After Indonesian Independence day, this building was function as Republic of Indonesia Railway Office, now called PT KAI, after that used as Military office, Communication office. During the gaining of Independence, this building was an important site where 5 days combat from 15 October to 19 October 1945. As a dumb witness of the fight between Angkatan Muda Kereta Api (Young Generation of Railway) against Japanese Kempetai and Kidobutai.

Local govt protected this building as one of preservation sites in Semarang, with on going revitalization has been done by preservation service. This building was designed by Prof. Jacob F. Klinkhamer (TH Delft) and B.J. Ouendag, two architects resided in Amsterdam. All the design finished in Amsterdam in 1903 and then transported to Semarang. All this work was signed in 1903 in Amsterdam. When designing the building the two architects had made a careful study of Semarang climate and yield in a design with dominated by galleries that was inspired by the front and rear galleries (voor en achter galerijen) of Indies style houses and louvered doors.

Lawang Sewu is known for its spooky stories. Local people believe that this old building is haunted due to the Kempetai interogation that took place here and also the battle in October 1945. This ghost stories make this building more interesting for people besides making them afraid too. Tours to the tiny basement of the building and prison where prisoners tortured are quiet popular, but sure tourists do not wish to meet any ghost, or probably yes. The guides have plenty of ghost stories to tell visitors about this building.