Bank Indonesia museum to be Surakarta’s newest tourism spot

Surakarta in Central Java will soon have a new tourism spot, as the former representative office of Bank Indonesia (BI) in the town is being transformed into a museum.

“The transformation will be completed at the end of the year, and it will be open to the public in January 2019,” said Surakarta Mayor FX Hadi Rudyatmo on Tuesday.

A heritage building in a European style, it was built in 1867 as the office for De Javasche Bank Agentschap Soerakarta. Situated on Jl. Jenderal Soedirman, the building stands near the main post office, Surakarta town hall, Vastenburg Fort and the new BI building.

According to Rudy, the plan to transform the building into a museum came up in 2015, followed by a conservation phase and an auction for interior-designing services.

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“Like a museum, the building will also be a means for education. It will complement other historical tourist sites in Surakarta,” said Rudy. The museum plans to showcase a collection of currencies issued by De Javasche Bank, such as the wayang series of the Netherlands Indies gulden.

Bandoe Widiarto, representative for BI Surakarta, said tourism had a large multiplier effect in boosting the area’s economy. “There is promising tourism potential in Surakarta, especially on the historical and cultural sides,” he added.

Bandoe added that the building’s exterior was restored in 2012. Three years later, as the idea of turning it into a museum became official, the interior restoration followed suit. It cost Rp 9 billion (US$ 592,605) and was financed by the central BI.

“All three floors in the building will function as the museum, comprising a gallery, library and meeting room. Visitors will also get the chance to see antique money-printing machines and the building’s architecture, which is over 100 years old,” Bandoe said. (wng)