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Provincie Midden Java






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In the 7th century A.D. many kingdoms arose in Central Java. The Kalingga Buddhist Kingdom of Jepara, ruled by Queen Shima emerged in 674. Between the 8th and 10th centuries Hindu-Javanese culture flourished under the Sailendra and Mataram I kings. In that era Java's most remarkable religious monuments were built. The Borobudur, the biggest and most magnificent monument to Mahayana Buddhism in the world; the enormous Hindu temple complex of Prambanan, dedicated to Shiva and built by the rulers of the Sanjaya Dynasty, and the ancient site of the oldest Hindu temples in Java on the magnificent, heights of the Dieng Plateau. All of these and more are a testimony of the ancient power and influence of the region.

The first Islamic kingdom in Java saw its beginnings in 1511 in Demak, not far from the capital, Semarang. Here one can find one of the province's greatest Islamic structures, the Grand Mosque of Demak, which is said to have been built in a single night by one of the nine early leaders of Islam in Java. Symbolic of the way the new faith was introduced, the mosque displays a curious combination of Islamic and Hindu architectural influences and is still revered and worshipped in by Javanese pilgrims who regularly visit the area.


Surakarta, better known as Solo, situated in the east of the province, is the cradle of Javanese culture. The courts of Solo, although no longer the seats of power they once were, are still regarded as the bearers of values, which the Javanese have treasured for generations. Descendants of the royal houses are regarded as leaders of Javanese culture and traditions, which uphold standards of sophistication and bearing.


The Dutch presence in Central Java lasted for about 350 years until 9 March 1942  when the Japanese occupation forces landed and occupied the colony for three and a half  years.

The province of Central Java was a territory of the Republic of Indonesia proclaimed on 17 August 1945. It also comprised the former self governing sultanates of Surakarta and Yogya.   The province became the province of Jawa Tengah on 2 March 1949.  It was incorporated into the Republic of Indonesia on 9 March 1950 by law No. 10/1950. The sultanate of Surakarta, deprived of its autonomous status, became a part of the province. The sultanate of Yogya could retain its autonomy.






At the end of the 15th century on the spot of today’s Semarang a village and a school was founded by a certain Kyai Pandan Arnag. On 2 May 1547 he was promoted to the first bupati of Semarang by Sultan Hadiwijaya of the Kingdom of Pajang, a successor of the Kingdom of Demak.




Kuluk from Demak, 16th century.

Demak, the first Islamic state in Java, was the strongest polity to emerge in the Central Java region after the decline of the Majapahit empire in the 16th century. It remained dominant until the rise of Mataram in the 17th century.

The form of this ceremonial headdress or Kuluk clearly derives from the islamic fez. The form has persisted in the headdress of Central Javanese rulers of the 19th and 20th centuries. A similar headdress for example, was worn by Sultan Pakubuwono X (1893-1939) of Surakarta. [1]

Coll. Royal Tropical Institute, inv. no. 124/1



In 1678 Sunan Mangku-Rat II (1677-1703) of Mataram ceded Semarang to the V.O.C. to pay a debt. In 1682 the State of Semarang was established by the Dutch administrators. On 5 October 1705 Semarang became a V.O.C.-city as a compensation for the debts of Pakubuwono I (1713-’19) of Mataram to the Company. In 1708 it became the capital of the Dutch territory of Central Java.

In WW II Semarang was occupied by the Japanese and administered by a military governor called Shico.

After the proclamation of independence in 1945 Semarang became the capital of the Indonesian province of Central Java.


In the Java-war (1825-’30) by which Surakarta and Yogya were conquered, the militia and volunteers of Semarang had lended so many and good services that Commissary-General Du Bus de Gisignies rewarded the city with a coat of arms by decree of  29 May 1827, no. 20.


The blasoning in the decree reads:


“een azuur veld, bevattende in het midden en op den voorgrond eene maagd van zilver, het hoofd met eik en lauren gekroond, rustende met de rechterhand op den kop van een achter haar liggenden leeuw van goud, in dezelfs voorpoot vasthoudende negentien pijlen en met de linkerhand op een anker, met de legende: Semarang er onder geplaatst; het veld met een kroon van vijf burchten gekroond.”


The arms show the Dutch Virgin and the Dutch Lion with the bundle of arrows but without its sword. The anchor is the anchor of the Dutch Navy.


Arms of Semarang as on a calendar-page of the twenties of the 20th century.

Photo Royal Tropical Institute Amsterdam


Arms.: Azure, a standing virgin Argent , crowned with a crown of oak and laurel Vert, her right hand resting on the head of a lion couchant Or, in his dexter claw a bundle of arrows Argent, her sinister hand supporting an anchor Argent.

Crown: A city crown of five towers Or.


The use of this coat of arms was continued by the Community of Semarang. [2]

In the Republic of Indonesia these arms were abandoned and replaced by a new one:



Photo H.d.V. 1980

Arms of Semarang

at the Town Hall of Semarang



Present arms of Kabupaten Semarang


The revised arms of Semarang shows the Tugu Muda monument in the centre of Semarang, erected to commemorate the struggle for Independence.


The present arms of Semarang shows the Sundoro and the Sumbing, the highest volcanoes on Java  (3151 & 3371 m).









II. PROVINCIE MIDDEN JAVA /Central Java Province*


Capital: Semarang


In 1940 an achievement for the province was adopted  [3]. It is:


Arms: Parted per pale Argent and Gules, a Garuda counterchanged, its head to the dexter, earring and collar, armrings and skirt Or, standing  on a  three-topped hill Vert growing therefrom two ears of millet on the dexter Vert and two ears of  rice on the sinister Or.

Crown: Of five leaves

Supporters: Two Lions Or, langued and unguled Gules.


The Struggle for Independence






In the time of the struggle for independence the Dutch had Brigade T in Semarang. The Indonesian  4th Division Senopati was in the North-east of the province. In the centre was the 2nd Division Diponegoro of the TNI. Today this last division, renamed Kodam IV/Diponegoro, controls Central Java.


Divi. 2 TNI Diponegoro / Kodam IV/Diponegoro






Banner Kodam IV/Diponegoro



Arms: Vert, the silhouette of the Borobudur Sable, before two volcanoes Or, the base Azure three waves Argent and over all a bamboo-rod per pale Or.

Crest: A five-pointed star Or.

Garland: An ear of rice with seventeen grains on the dexter and a branch of cotton of five flowers  to the sinister, in chief a lintel of the national colors red and white.

Motto: JAWA-TENGAH on a cartouche Or, supported by another cartouche Gules.


š See illustration in the head of this essay.






The arms of the regional police (POLRI) of Jawah Tengah shows, on the usual shield per bend sinister Or and Sable, a disc Azure, the silhouette of Borobudur Temple Sable.



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© Hubert de Vries 2010.10.15

[1] ) Ibbitson Jessup, Helen: Court Arts of Indonesia. The Asia Society Galleries. New York, 1990. No 35, Fig. 169, p. 242.

[2] ) Rühl, Dirk: Nederlandsch-Indische Gemeentewapens. Geschiedenis, Legenden en Besluiten. 1933.  Pp 41-42. Gouvernementsbesluit 1932 No 13.

[3] The granting of the arms was announced by “Besluit van den Gouverneur-Generaal van 20 September 1940 No. 19 houdende toestemming aan de provincie Midden Java tot het voeren van een wapen. In: Javasche Courant Bijlagen 24.IX.1940 N° 77, p. 944. It was published by:  Rühl, Dirk: Het wapen van de Provincie Midden-Java. In: De Indische Navorscher. 1941, pp. 8-10.

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