Dr. Soetomo, Founder of Boedi Oetomo


IO – The founding figure of the Boedi Oetomo, an organization whose date of establishment was designated “National Awakening Day”, was Soetomo, who was then a medical student. 

Dr. Soetomo or Soebroto was born in Ngepeh, Loceret, Nganjuk, East Java, on July 30, 1888, and died in Surabaya, East Java, on May 30, 1938, at the age of 49 years. Soebroto changed his name to Soetomo when he entered middle school. 

In 1903, Soetomo studied medicine at STOVIA (School tot Opleiding van Inlandsche Artsen), Batavia. Together with friends from STOVIA, Soetomo founded an association called “Boedi Oetomo” in 1908. After graduating in 1911, he worked as a government doctor in various regions in Java and Sumatra. In 1917, Soetomo married a Dutch nurse. 

From 1919 to 1923, Soetomo was awarded a scholarship and continued his specialist medical studies at the University of Amsterdam. During that time, Soetomo was actively involved in Indische Vereeniging. Soetomo also served as chairman of the Indische Vereeniging period in 1921–1922. In 1923, Soetomo returned to Indonesia and became a teacher at the Nederlandsch Artsen School (NIAS). 

In 1924, Soetomo founded Indonesische Studieclub in Surabaya. Its main activity was political discussion and examination of public issues. Most of the members were students. This model was then followed by Sukarno in Bandung with his Algemeene Studieclub. After running the establishment for about six years, Soetomo developed the Indonesische Studieclub into a political organization. As of October 16, 1930, the name was changed to the United Indonesian Nation Party (PBI). Then at the end of 1935, PBI and Boedi Oetomo fused to become the Great Indonesia Party (Parindra). 

Not only politics, but Soetomo’s Parindra is also engaged in economic empowerment through banks, cooperatives, and farmer organizations. In addition, he initiated the establishment of several orphanages and hospitals. (rp)