Psychiatric Passage Home Semarang

After the establishment of the 4th large psychiatric hospital at Sabang, it became clear that building these expensive hospitals and arranging for more beds did not solve the problem of an ever increasing demand of care for psychiatric patients. The annual discharge percentage was about 6 %, so there could be admitted every year only 420 new patients, while the real need was tenfold. This resulted in a large number of patients who because of their behavior were imprisoned. In order to reorganize the mental health care in the NI, three new types of psychiatric facilities were introduced in the 1920s:

  • the psychiatric nursing home (Psychiatrisch verpleegtehuis) for long-stay patients. The health statistics of 1938 mention 6 psychiatric nursing homes (Palembang, Padang, Bandjermasin, Manado, Bangli and Soekolilo).
  • the psychiatric passage home (Psychiatrisch doorgangshuis) for the treatment of acute cases for up to six months. The health statistics of 1937 mention 6 ‘doorgangshuizen’ (Batavia (Grogol), Semarang (Tawang), Soerakarta (Mangoendjajan), Soerabaya (Pegirian), Medan (Gloegoer) and Makassar).
  • Agricultural communities could take care of long-stay patients who did not need intensive nursing. An example of these ‘Landbouwkolonies’ was the experimental one at Lenteng Agoeng that was set up near the Buitenzorg Hospital for 200 ex-patients. The Salvation Army started a ‘Landbouwkolonie’ at Donggala (Sulawesi).See for a discussion on the organization of psychiatric healthcare in the Netherlands Indies the 1937 editions of the Geneeskundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indie (GTNI). Three authors (P.M. van Wulfften Palthe, J.C. van Andel and W.F. Theunissen) discuss the merites of the chosen system of 4 very large and expensive main hospitals and 12 secondary institutions. Van Wulfften Palthe (speaking as head of a psychiatric department of a central civil government hospital) and the directors of the large psychiatric hospitals have totally different points of view: vWP emphasizes that the present system is far too expensive and leads to continuance of the practice of keeping most psychiatric patients in prisons, as there is no place in the psychiatric institutions themselves. vWP argues that the present system ends in shoddy work. Hardly a home is established at Makassar (that in due course is completely crowded) or Bali wants its own institute and Sumatra’s Eastcoast cannot stay behind. “it looks as if we empty the ocean with a tea-spoon.”

See for an overview of the singularities of psychiatry in NI, the article by Hans Pols in the publication “Geneeskundig Tijdschrift voor Nederlandsch-Indie”. This              publication was translated in English: The Medical Journal of the Dutch Indies 1852-1942, A Platform for Medical Research. The article was entitled: ‘Psychiatry and the care of the mentally ill.’

The establishment of the so-called ‘Doorgangshuis’ (Psychiatric Passage Home) was. preceded by the conversion of the psychiatric department of the military hospital at Semarang into aan auxiliary psychiatric hospital, destined to support the new psychiatric hospital at Buitenzorg.

The Koloniaal Verslag 1878 mentions that the construction of the central mental asylum in Buitenzorg was regularly continued, but in connection with the work still to be established for water supply, gas relief, etc., it will take until 1879 before a first part of the asylum. , namely the men’s section, will be in use. The transition of the two auxiliary asylums under civilian management, still attached to the military hospitals at Surabaya and Samarang, was unexpectedly delayed by the death (in January of this year) of the two civilian physicians who acted as special doctors for the insane since December 1876 and March. 1877 were employed therein, and with whose cooperation, in accordance with the proposals of the principal psychiatrist at Batavia, it was necessary to be able to make the two institutions come into operation as independent relief institutions in the course of the next year. “) The takeover under civilian management will now probably have to wait until the vacant positions (which are now observed by the city doctors) are finally fulfilled, for which purpose two special doctors have been sent from here about half of this year, one of which a few years ago already worked in the Indies as an officer of health, seconded to the Dutch army. The improvement of the locality, furniture, etc. at the foundation in Samarang, referred to in the previous report (p. 137, note 3), was established in 1877. 

In 1937 the normal capacity of the Semarang psychiatric passage home was 294 beds. By the end of 1937 the number of patients present was 297 (Mededeelingen DVG XXVIII (1939) 109-110).

Nowadays (2018), the psychiatric hospital at Semarang is called Rumah Sakit Jiwa Dr. Amino Gondohutomo. This psychiatric hospital is part of the provincial health establishments of the province of Jawa Tengah.T The hospital is situated on Jalan BrigjenSudiarto no. 347 at Semarang (Coordinates: Latitude:-7,01 and Longitude: 110,46) The hospital is classified as a category A hospital ( 3374123) and has 363 beds. The hospital employs 317 persons, of whom 25 medical doctors, 4 psychologists, 206 nurses, 9 midwives, 23 pharmacy assistants and 50 other functions.

The website of the hospital is: From this website we copied some historic facts (Google translated and abbreviated):

Hospital Profile Regional Mental Hospital Dr. Amino Gondohutomo is a regional mental hospital located in Pedurungan, Semarang City. This hospital was founded in 1848. At that time it was a so-called ‘Stadsverband’ (City Dressing station). In the 1920s a so-called ‘Doorgangshuis’ (Passage Home) was established in Tawang (Semarang). In 1936 it was reported to house 294 patients. On February 9, 2001 the hospital changed its name to Central Mental Hospital Dr. Amino Gondohutomo Semarang. Dr. Amino Gondohutomo is the name of the first psychiatrist in Indonesia.