The Old Dutch Fort at Ungaran
Since Semarang regency has been separated from Semarang city, the town of Ungaran some 15 km south of Semarang is the capital of the regency with the same name.
At Ungaran can be seen Benteng Willem II, one of the oldest Dutch forts on Java, erected in 1786 by the VOC (Dutch East India Company). Sometimes it is referred to as Benteng Diponegoro, because the resistance hero against Dutch colonial rule, Prince Diponegoro, was held here in captivity.
The fort must have replaced an older one, because in 1750 an Ungaran fort played a role in a war between the VOC and Prince Mangkubumi of Surakarta, in which war the Dutch governor Van Imhoff died.
Nowadays the fort is ia sorry sight. From 1950 to 2006 it was used to house the families of the local police force, and legally it is still owned by the police department. The parking in front of it was used to store wrecked cars from the busy Semarang-Bawen road. But in 2006 the 16 families living there were bought out, and for the time being the fort is empty and locked up. The parking has been neatly rescaped, and passers-by can take a rest in the shade under the adjacent banyan tree. The ultimate purpose is to convert the fort into a museum annex art and culture centre. It seems that the Rp 1,5 billion budget for that purpose still needs to be approved.
Directions: On the main road in Ungaran center, some distance south of the market.