The construction of Lawang Sewu began on February 27, 1904 and was completed in July 1907. The first building that was built as a guardhouse and a printing building, then continued with the main building. After Lawang Sewu was used for several years, the expansion of the office was carried out by making additional buildings on the Northeast side in 1916-1918.
Since July 1907, Lawang Sewu functioned as the NIS Administration Head Office and in 1942 – 1945 the building was taken over by Japan to become the Riyuku Sokyoku Office (Japan Transportation Service). Then in 1945, Lawang Sewu functioned as the DKARI Office (Republic of Indonesia Railroad Department) and in 1946 it functioned as the headquarters of the Dutch army, so the DKARI office activities moved to the former de Zustermaatschappijen office.
After avowal of the sovereignty of the Republic of Indonesia in 1949, Lawang Sewu was used by the Kodam IV Diponegoro. In 1994, the building was handed back to PERUMKA which then merged into PT. KAI (Persero). In 2009, the Lawang Sewu building was restored until it finally became a tourist destination in Semarang city.
Since it was built until now, Lawang Sewu has a different image in the community’s sight. When Lawang Sewu was used as a NIS Office, the community’s sight of Lawang Sewu was one of the magnificent noble buildings. But the image of the building changed when Lawang Sewu was used by the Japanese and functioned as a Japanese army office. At that time, Lawang Sewu was known as a building that was filled with sadism, because the Japanese government used the building as a location to slaughter their enemies.
In the following year from 1949 to 1994, Lawang Sewu had not changed its image because at that time the Lawang Sewu building was only used as an administrative office by the Kodam IV / Diponegoro and the Central Java Transportation Regional Office. In 1994, Lawang Sewu was not used, and since then Lawang Sewu’s awesomeness and mystical issues developed in the community until now.
(Wibawa, Bebet Adi. 2015)