Sunday, June 28, 2015


For more than 100 years the coal mining dominated the growing city of Sawahlunto, West Sumatra, Indonesia,  but the decline of the coal mining from 2001 on, forced the local government to search for alternative sources of income.
The year 2004 is a turning point of heritage conservation when several efforts have been taken to research an economic potential of former coal mining as a catalyst of city development. One of the efforts was a survey done by Dutch experts to identify and make an inventory of historical buildings and sites including the railway road.
In the following years, Sawahlunto Municipality has managed to transform the former coal mining into tourism attractions which stimulate other components such as accommodation and recreation facilities, local transportation network, revival of the railway road, opening of several museums and promoting the city through various mediums (films, books, postcards).

Nevertheless, a case of Sawahlunto is an exception in Indonesia with huge potentials of its industrial heritage inherited from the Dutch-Indies period. Most of these industrial heritage sites are under authority of the Ministry of State Owned Companies divided into 13 strategic sectors as follow:
  1. Agriculture, Forestry and Fishery
  2. Mining
  3. Processing Industry
  4. Electricity, Gas, Steam/Hot Water and Cooling System
  5. Water Supply, Waste Management and Recycle, Disposal of Waste and Garbage Processing
  6. Construction
  7. Major & Retail Trade, Reparation and Maintenance of Cars & Motorcycles
  8. Transportation and Storage
  9. Accommodations and Food & Beverage
  10. Information and Communication
  11. Financial Service and Insurance
  12. Real Estate
  13. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
Some industrial sectors are in transitions to adjust themselves into modern era and some stay as they are since the Dutch-Indies period without being capable to keep up with current demands. Assets of these industrial sectors are in abundant from large area of plantations, factories and offices in urban areas. It is important to address this issue before these assets disappear unnecessarily of decay and neglection. 
The Pansumnet 2015 Gathering : Industrial Heritage at Stake will address issues of industrial heritage in Indonesia with a case study of Sawahlunto. During a three days gathering, experts, policy makers and researchers will exchange knowledge and experience how to get the best of industrial heritage potentials of Indonesia.
A case study of industrial heritage of Sawahlunto becomes main theme since it is not much discussed and applied yet in Indonesia. Many of industrial sites from the Dutch Indies period -mostly are plantations, mining and factories- face difficulties in adjusting themselves into modern times. There are a lot of questions from heritage networks in the country about this issue. How to find balance between conservation and economic benefit? What is the right way to reuse industrial site for current needs? What kind of expertise needed to explore an industrial site? Where to begin to exploit such a large industrial site?   

Friday, June 19, 2015


Heritage movement in Sumatra started since 1998 with the establishment of Sumatra Heritage Trust in Medan, North Sumatra and Pan-Sumatra Network for Heritage Conservation or Pansumnet. There are 14 organizations join Pansumnet as institutional partners, they are from Aceh, Medan, Nias, Padang, Bangka Belitung, Bengkulu, Jambi, Riau,  Palembang and Lampung. Pansumnet is the only regional network that exists in Indonesia and becomes an example for other regions.
Pansumnet organizes  regional gatherings and trainings to maintain contacts and cooperation which normally attended also by heritage organizations from other areas in Indonesia and from neigbourhood countries in Southeast Asia like Malaysia and Singapore. Since its establishment, Pansumnet Gatherings and Trainings were held:
·         In 2000, Medan, North Sumatra
·         In 2001, Bangka, South Sumatra
·         In 2002, Padang, West Sumatra
·         In 2004, Bengkulu, Central Sumatra
·         A two years capacity building training with a start training in 2004 in Bukittinggi, West Sumatra and a closing in 2006 in Bangka, South Sumatra.
The regional gatherings and trainings play important roles in keeping heritage movements alive especially in the region and in Indonesia generally. They function as well as means to attract local young professionals to get involve and improve knowledge and capacity in dealing with challenges to save local heritage.
Up to now, development of heritage conservation in Sumatra has had a significant progress although it is far from perfection. Several cities have published local regulation with a  list of protected historical buildings, establish new museums, attract private investments and become active members of the Indonesian Heritage Cities Network.
Sustainability of the network is important and the more active stakeholders, the better for continuation because capacity and possibility are more available including from financial point of view. Members of Pansumnet are institutions that were established and survive without subsidies, like any other heritage societies in Indonesia. It is almost a natural understanding and logical consequence that everyone has to be able to generate its own funding. With this condition, Pansumnet members were able to organize previous gatherings. All previous gatherings were always funded partly by its members by mobilizing local resources. Local hosts managed to arrange financial and in-kind contribution for accommodation, meals, excursions and most logistic needs. Sometimes the gatherings were humble only for members and sometimes the gatherings were expanded with some extra programs.
In 2015 Pansumnet will gather again in Sawahlunto, West Sumatra. Hopefully this gathering will trigger leaderships for heritage movements in the region.