Balai Pemuda (Simpangsche Societeit), Surabaya, East Java

Located in Jalan Pemuda, Surabaya East Java. Looking this building will set an image that this building is an old colonial one. The red dome looked protruding, and even the fence is decorated with the same dome decoration as the building.

This building was built in 1907, that was called as Simpangsche Societeit or Simpangsche Club, local people call it Rumah Kamar Bola (Ball Room)or Bioskop Londo. This building was a place to billiard, and this original table is still kept in the building.

Simpangsche Societeit was designed by architect Westmaes, by careful research on Surabaya weather. The most eye catching about the building is the dome, that was designed after the crown of Holland Queen. Hall way encircle the building that make the building fells cold. The windows are tall surround and big, so are the doors. Referring Dukut Imam Widodo book, this building was ablaze at night, by gas lamp on chandeliers, gardens also decorated with colorful lights and engraving pillars. And cars dropped white people here every night.

Indigenous Indonesian was prohibited to enter the building, there was a board that said ” VERBODEN VOOR INLANDER”. Only White people can enter this entertainment building and if there were Indonesian, they were waiters. In the old times, waiters were instructed to wear white long-sleeves top and trousers and wrapped their waists with jarik and udeng.

Small size orchestra played while people enjoy eating and partying, 3 violists, one cellist, played Waltz and Polka. It said that Johan Strauss pieces are the most wanted music played in the party of Dutch.Mamsell Ubermut and Die Lustigen Kahlenberger were very popular too.

In October 1929, Ducth in Surabaya established Vaderlandse Club, a club of rich Surabaya people. They made atmosphere resemble in their faraway country. On every meeting, they sang Holland anthem, Wilhelmus, with piano accompaniment. The big piano is still remain intact and playable.

After Indonesian Independence day, Dutch left and Simpangsche Societeit name was replaced with Balai Pemuda. This building is utilized as art center, also exhibition venue.