Ambarawa was an important connecting rail link providing a cog railway connecting through Central Java as far as Yogyakarta via Magelang. The Semarang-Ambarawa-Magelang line was fully operational until 1977 . It is the site of the Museum Kereta Api Ambarawa (Ambarawa Railway Museum).
Japanese interment camps
Ambarawa was the site of Japanese interment camps where up to 15,000 Europeans had been held during the Japanese occupation during World War II. Following Japanese surrender and the subsequent proclamation of Indonesian independence, fighting broke out in the Ambarawa area on 20 November 1945 between British troops evacuating European internees and Indonesian Republicans.
- "Introducing Ambarawa". Lonely Planet. Retrieved 12 September 2013. "Ambarawa, 28km south of Semarang, was once the site of a Japanese internment camp where up to 15,000 Europeans were held during WWII."
- McMillan, Richard (2005). The British Occupation of Indonesia 1945-1946. Melbourne: Routledge. pp. 306–307. ISBN 0-415-35551-6.