If you only have a day to learn about Surabaya’s past, then the Heroes Monument and Museum of November 10 Surabaya would be your go-to place.
Built on November 10, 1951, the Heroes Monument is the main icon of Surabaya; it has been recognised as one of Indonesia’s 10 best holiday destinations by Indonesia’s Ministry of Tourism.
As the name suggests, Heroes Monument aims to commemorate the heroic battle between Surabaya and the allied forces on November 10, 1945. The 41.15-metre-high monument is designed to look like a reversed nail, showing Surabaya’s power to repel the invaders by putting a big inverted nail in the heart of the city.
In 2000, the Museum of November 10 was opened to the public to showcase the historical collection from during the war. Situated seven metres underground, the museum is inspired by the architecture of the Musee du Louvre in Paris, France – with its iconic triangle domes and classic glass pattern. But it is not just a unique building. Step inside and you will discover a surprisingly modern, two-storey, 3,700 square metre exhibition space with over 350 artefacts and multimedia displays, as well as an auditorium to host meetings. There is even a kids’ corner, a café, and nice souvenirs to take home. Nearby, you can also find a complete library and a small mosque.
Permanent Exhibitions at the Museum of November 10 Surabaya
The museum is divided into four zones; the first one tells about Indonesia on Independence Day on August 17, 1945 including the formation of police, armed forces, and government. It also showcases the historical items used during the event, such as old camera, typewriter, first-aid bag, and calendar. Meanwhile, the second zone is about the events post-Independence Day in Surabaya, for instance the flag ripping tragedy at Yamato Hotel, the attack at the Keinpeitai Headquarters, and the British invasion of Surabaya. This zone also displays Bung Tomo’s old radio which plays the speech he gave during the war to ignite the spirit of Surabayan people in fighting the British troops.
Next, the third zone is a large space on the second floor with various collections of old weaponry as well as interactive, visual displays and an immersive video installation showcasing the chronology of the war. Finally, the last zone downstairs exhibits the personal collections of Mayor General H. R. Muhammad, old pictures of Simpang Hospital, and miniatures of Keinpeitai Headquarters, an evacuation route map, and Simpang Hospital. Do not forget to complete your museum tour by watching a short film about the war for free every Sunday or any national holiday. You can ask the information centre for the complete schedule.
There are even more things to do at the Heroes Monument complex beyond the monument and museum. Read on to find out what else to do there.
Free Guided Tour
If you are not the type of person who reads every placard next to each display, joining a free tour with museum experts is your best way to absorb all of the information and have your questions answered. A tour is available at the information desk in Indonesian and English; the duration of the tour will depend on which galleries you visit.
Learn more about Surabaya’s history in a fun way by watching a theatrical performance twice a month, every other Sunday morning at the Heroes Monument Park. The show will be performed by local communities with attractive costumes and interesting storylines. Follow @museumtupal on Instagram to know the schedule of the drama plays.
After watching the theatrical performance, you can also enjoy a musical performance by local buskers at the museum. The performers are varied every Sunday.
Pro-tip: Request your favourite song and sing along with other visitors!
Selfie Spots and Camera Rental
Capture your best moments at the Heroes Monument complex by renting a professional camera for only Rp50,000 per hour. If you are coming in a very big group, there is a photographer at the entrance of the Heroes Monument ready to take pictures of you and your group. It can be printed instantly and you may choose which pose you like the most. However, this service requires an additional fee, depending on the number of pictures taken. You can also take selfies at several selfie spots in the museum. There are artistic murals and iconic selfie spots at the exit that you can pick to be your selfie background.
Entertain your children at the Kids’ Corner where you can play with them for free. There are lots of games available, such as board games, traditional games, educational games, as well as dolls and squishies. It will be nice, quality time with your entire family after a long day at the museum!
Still curious about the history of Surabaya? Come to the library of the Heroes Monument and the Museum of November 10 Surabaya. Discover hundreds of books about the history of colonialism in Surabaya as well as the battle of November 10. However, you must read the books at the library as bringing them home is prohibited.
There is a small souvenir shop near the exit which stocks a fun take on Surabaya-themed souvenirs, such as T-shirts, mugs, keychains, flags, and even books about the battle between Surabaya and British troops. Moreover, you can also find fish food for fish feeding at the fish pond around the museum. The store is open daily from 8am to 1pm.
Take a break at a small café at the Heroes Monument complex called Pahlawan Café, which serves authentic Indonesian foods, such as pecel, rawon and fried noodles. Don’t forget to try their signature snacks, such as fried banana and fried tofu too! They also have lots of different beverages to choose from, such as tea, coffee, and milk. The café is open Tuesday to Sunday, from 8am to 4pm.
The Heroes Monument and the Museum of November 10 Surabaya Information
The Heroes Monument and the Museum of November 10 Surabaya is located at Jalan Pahlawan, 60174, Surabaya. You can contact them on (+62) 3135 71100 if you have any further questions. The museum is open daily, from 8am to 4pm every weekday and from 7am to 3pm every weekend and on national holidays. There is free access for students by showing a student card but you will have to pay Rp5,000 fee if you are not a student. There is a reduction of 10 percent for a group of 30 people and 15 percent for a group of 100 people. Come and enjoy the Heroes Monument and the Museum of November 10 Surabaya, it is totally worth it!