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Looking through the history of House of Sampoerna from pictures

house of sampoerna museum surabaya - featured-image

I have heard about House of Sampoerna museum for quite a while. And lucky me that I finally visited the place during my stay in Surabaya at the end of last year. I went inside of the House of Sampoerna, just before I did the afternoon walk to nearby area to see the old buildings in Surabaya.


The House of Sampoerna museum in Surabaya

Why would I want to enter this museum, as I, myself, is not a smoker?

My answer is curiousity. What would I find in this museum? What kind of collection? And so on …

The House of Sampoerna has several guides that can explain and give more information about the collection. I did not get a guide, as I just want to look at the museum briefly and take some pictures haha. However, there are some notes containing information on most of the collections.


One of the collections inside House of Sampoerna museum

So, as I don’t know details about the history, then I can only give you the photos of what I saw inside House of Sampoerna museum 😉

What can you see at House of Sampoerna?

About the founder

The founder of Sampoerna is Liem Seeng Tee. Sampoerna — or you might recognize it as PT. HM. Sampoerna (Hanjaya Mandala Sampoerna), was founded in 1913, so it will have its 104 anniversaries this year! It was not an easy childhood for Liem Seeng Tee who was migrated from China with his father and sister. His father passed away when he was still a kid, and he was raised by a Chinese family in Bojonegoro until he was 11 years old. He then tried to earn money by selling snack on a train of Surabaya – Jakarta route for a straight 18 months. During this time, he learned how to mix tobacco and sold it at the train station.


The founder of Sampoerna, Liem Seeng Tee and the wife


The old bicycles of the founder

He got married in 1912 with Siem Tjiang Nio, and in House of Sampoerna, we can see the replica of the small warong where his wife sold some groceries or spices, while Liem sold cigarettes where he mixed the ingredients of the cigarettes by himself.


The replica of the warong that was used by Liem Seeng Tee in the past


The tobacco sample

The symbol

Hmm, okay, this was the only part where I asked the guide, like what’s the meaning of the symbol and the words ‘Anggarda Paramita’.


Anggarda Paramita …

The translation of ‘Anggarda Paramita’ is ‘towards perfection’, which correlates with the company’s name ‘Sampoerna’ or ‘Perfect’. Then above of these two words, there are two lions that hold a globe and its cub. The lion that holds a globe represents ‘a man that creates a foundation, while the one with the cub is actually the lioness that represents ‘a woman that guard the foundation from inside’.

Then, we can see that the lions hold a circle with their feet. Does it represent something too?

You might see it somewhere at House of Sampoerna, in another form, i.e. the three hands that point outward, just like the picture below. So what does it mean? Apparently, the founder of Sampoerna has thought 3 important factors in a business. Those are the producer, distributor, and consumer. So thoughtful he is!


These 3 hands represent something important on Sampoerna’s business

That is why, he wants his tobacco business to produce a perfect cigarette, and to be the king of cigarette business in Indonesia. If you know how to read Chinese characters, you can see this Chinese characters at the entrance doors of House of Sampoerna museum. It was made by 4 simple lines, where the 3 lines is at the horizontal position, while the last one is crossed the three line vertically. It’s called ‘Wang’ or ‘Ong’, which is also translated as ‘king’ — CMIIW, as I don’t understand Chinese characters.


Wang or Ong, that translated as ‘King’ as Sampoerna wants to be the king in cigarette business in Indonesia

The matchbox and the lighter

There are plenty of matchbox and lighter collections that are stored inside the glass cabinet. Seems some of the collections are the limited ones, but there are other matchboxes that was produced in the old days. Perhaps some of you recognized some of these? 😉


Matchbox collection in House of Sampoerna


Another old collection of the pictures on the old matchbox


This one is the aquarium lighter from Alfred Dunhill


The coffee table type of cigarette lighter from Alfred Dunhill


The matches place with the shape of plane


Another interesting matches place collection

The cigarette

Even though the founder learned how to mix the ingredients of the cigarette by himself, Sampoerna also does some further research to accommodate smoker that prefer the low tar and nicotine (LTLN) one. These cigarettes fall into the ‘mild’ cigarette, and we can notice that Sampoerna has two brands on this category, i.e. A Mild and U Mild.


Some of the research and development equipment

The other important thing on a product is the packaging, including the cigarette pack that was produced by Sampoerna. We can see in this museum some variations of the packaging, and they also keep some of the early editions of the cigarette pack. There is this edition of the Vice President’s Palace edition (?), and other brands, including A-Mild, also Tegar. I think this is the first time I saw the brand Tegar hehe. Alongside with this old and current packaging, we can see the printing plates to print the picture on the outer side of the packaging.


Tegar brand from Sampoerna 🙂


This one is ‘Istana President’ cigarette pack edition


The printing machine


A printing plate for cigarette pack


Another old printing plates

The House of Sampoerna is a 2-two-story house, but the second floor is only for the souvenir shops, where I could see some of the beautiful batik fabric from silk. Well, you can guess the price of this expensive yet beautiful batik fabric hehe. It’s unfortunate that I can’t take any pictures of these beautiful fabrics. However, there is another interesting sighting from this floor. It’s the inside of the factory! 🙂


A view of the factory from the second floor of House of Sampoerna

Hopefully you love my pictures in this ‘Looking through the history of House of Sampoerna from pictures’. Please also share it on your social media 🙂


Do you still remember this advertisement from one of Sampoerna’s brands? 🙂

Mixed Up Already

The things that I love are movies, music, and travel. I have an extended family in the movies world, called MoviegoersID, and we love to hang out and watch the movie together. How about music? Well, do you know The Corrs? Yep, they are a very talented family/musician that I deeply love since high school! If you love them, then we might get a long well ;-) . My love to music then grow to Sugarland, Christina Aguilera, The Script, and of course the one and only Anggun. Travel is the love that grows in me very late. At around 2011, I fell in love with travelling, and I tried my best to travel each month since that time. You can contact me at .




  • cumilebay

    Kalo main kesini, suka banget liat proses pelintingan nya trus bau2 tembakau ini bikin sakau

    • Timothy W Pawiro

      Yaahhh dulu pas aku ke sana, ga ada kaakk :-/

  • Koreknya jadul banget. Jadi inget dulu pernah nonton tayangan orang yang koleksi korek api kayu kayak gitu. Wajib nih main ke Rumah Sampoerna.

    • Timothy W Pawiro

      Wajib ke sini, Oom … Asik aja ngeliatin yg jadul2 gitu 😀

  • bena

    aku pernahhhh kesini…
    pernah bangetttt…
    ka timo juga jalan2 pake bis yg di sediakan itu nggak?

    • Timothy W Pawiro

      Ikutan dong naik bisnya … Tapi sayang lagi macet, jdnya ga full rutenya :-/

  • Natalia

    Quite informative although I’m not Familiar with this place but I enjoy reading your article.

    • Timothy W Pawiro

      Thank you!

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