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Coordinates: 5°S 120°E / 5°S 120°E / -5; 120

Republic of Indonesia
Republik Indonesia  (Indonesian)
Motto: Bhinneka Tunggal Ika (Old Javanese)
(English: "Unity in Diversity")
National ideology: Pancasila[1][2]
Anthem: Indonesia Raya
(English: "Great Indonesia")

Area controlled by Indonesia shown in green
Area controlled by Indonesia shown in green
and largest city
6°10.5′S 106°49.7′E / 6.1750°S 106.8283°E / -6.1750; 106.8283
Spoken languages[3]
Ethnic groups (2010) Javanese 40.22%
Sundanese 15.5%
and others 44.28%[4]
Religion (2010)
Demonym Indonesian
Government Unitary presidential constitutional republic
Joko Widodo
Jusuf Kalla
Bambang Soesatyo
Oesman Sapta Odang
Muhammad Hatta Ali
Legislature People's Consultative Assembly (MPR)
Regional Representative Council (DPD)
People's Representative Council (DPR)
2nd century
13th century
20 March 1602
1 January 1800
9 March 1942
17 August 1945
27 December 1949
• USI dissolved
17 August 1950
• Land
1,904,569[6] km2 (735,358 sq mi) (14th)
• 2016 estimate
• 2010 census
237.42 million[8] (4th)
• Density
138/km2 (357.4/sq mi) (88th)
GDP (PPP) 2018 estimate
• Total
$3.481 trillion[9] (7th)
• Per capita
$13,120[9] (96th)
GDP (nominal) 2018 estimate
• Total
$1.092 trillion[9] (16th)
• Per capita
$4,116[9] (114th)
Gini (2016) Positive decrease 39.0[10]
HDI (2015) Increase 0.689[11]
medium · 113th
Currency Indonesian rupiah (Rp) (IDR)
Time zone various (UTC+7 to +9)
Date format DD/MM/YYYY
Drives on the left
Calling code +62
ISO 3166 code ID
Internet TLD .id

Indonesia (/ˌɪndəˈnʒə/ (About this sound listen) IN-də-NEE-zhə or /ˌɪndˈnziə/ IN-doh-NEE-zee-ə; Indonesian: [ɪndonesia]),lacks stress officially the Republic of Indonesia (Indonesian: Republik Indonesia [rɛpublik ɪndonesia]),lacks stress is a unitary sovereign state and transcontinental country located mainly in Southeast Asia, with some territories in Oceania. Situated between the Indian and Pacific oceans, it is the world's largest island country, with more than thirteen thousand islands.[12] At 1,904,569 square kilometres (735,358 square miles), Indonesia is the world's 14th largest country in terms of land area and the 7th largest in terms of combined sea and land area.[13] With over 261 million people, it is the world's 4th most populous country as well as the most populous Austronesian and Muslim-majority country. Java, the world's most populous island,[14] contains more than half of the country's population.

Indonesia's republican form of government includes an elected parliament and president. Indonesia has 34 provinces, of which five have Special status. Its capital is Jakarta, which is the second most populous urban area in the world. The country shares land borders with Papua New Guinea, East Timor, and the eastern part of Malaysia. Other neighbouring countries include Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines, Australia, Palau, and India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Despite its large population and densely populated regions, Indonesia has vast areas of wilderness that support a high level of biodiversity.[15] The country has abundant natural resources like oil and natural gas, tin, copper and gold. Agriculture mainly produces rice, palm oil, tea, coffee, cacao, medicinal plants, spices and rubber.[16] Indonesia's major trading partners are Japan, the United States, China and neighbours Singapore, Malaysia and Australia.

The Indonesian archipelago has been an important region for trade since at least the 7th century, when Srivijaya and then later Majapahit traded with Chinese dynasties and Indian kingdoms. Local rulers gradually absorbed foreign cultural, religious and political models from the early centuries CE, and Hindu and Buddhist kingdoms flourished. Indonesian history has been influenced by foreign powers drawn to its natural resources. Muslim traders and Sufi scholars brought the now-dominant Islam,[17][18] while European powers brought Christianity and fought one another to monopolise trade in the Spice Islands of Maluku during the Age of Discovery. Following three and a half centuries of Dutch colonialism starting from Amboina and Batavia, and eventually all of the archipelago including Timor and Western New Guinea, at times interrupted by Portuguese, French and British rule, Indonesia secured its independence after World War II.

Indonesia consists of hundreds of distinct native ethnic and linguistic groups, with the largest—and politically dominant—ethnic group being the Javanese. A shared identity has developed, defined by a national language, ethnic diversity, religious pluralism within a Muslim-majority population, and a history of colonialism and rebellion against it. Indonesia's national motto, "Bhinneka Tunggal Ika" ("Unity in Diversity" literally, "many, yet one"), articulates the diversity that shapes the country. Indonesia's economy is the world's 16th largest by nominal GDP and the 7th largest by GDP at PPP. Indonesia is a member of several multilateral organisations, including the UN,[a] WTO, IMF and G20 major economies. It is also a founding member of Non-Aligned Movement, Association of Southeast Asian Nations, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, East Asia Summit, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.


The name Indonesia derives from the Greek name of the Indos (Ἰνδός) and the word nesos (νῆσος), meaning "Indian islands".[19] The name dates to the 18th century, far predating the formation of independent Indonesia.[20] In 1850, George Windsor Earl, an English ethnologist, proposed the terms Indunesians—and, his preference, Malayunesians—for the inhabitants of the "Indian Archipelago or Malayan Archipelago".[21] In the same publication, one of his students, James Richardson Logan, used Indonesia as a synonym for Indian Archipelago.[22][23] However, Dutch academics writing in East Indies publications were reluctant to use Indonesia; they preferred Malay Archipelago (Maleische Archipel); the Netherlands East Indies (Nederlandsch Oost Indië), popularly Indië; the East (de Oost); and Insulinde.[24]

After 1900, Indonesia became more common in academic circles outside the Netherlands, and Indonesian nationalist groups adopted it for political expression.[24] Adolf Bastian, of the University of Berlin, popularised the name through his book Indonesien oder die Inseln des Malayischen Archipels, 1884–1894. The first Indonesian scholar to use the name was Suwardi Suryaningrat (Ki Hajar Dewantara), when in 1913 he established a press bureau in the Netherlands, Indonesisch Pers-bureau.[20]


Early history

A Borobudur ship carved on Borobudur Mahayana Buddhist temple, c. 800 CE. Indonesian outrigger boats may have made trade voyages to the east coast of Africa as early as the 1st century CE.[25]

Fossils and the remains of tools show that the Indonesian archipelago was inhabited by Homo erectus, known as "Java Man", between 1.5 million years ago and 35,000 years ago.[26][27][28] Homo sapiens reached the region around 45,000 years ago.[29] Austronesian peoples, who form the majority of the modern population, migrated to Southeast Asia from present-day Taiwan. They arrived around 2,000 BCE, and as they spread through the archipelago, confined the indigenous Melanesian peoples to the far eastern regions.[30] Ideal agricultural conditions and the mastering of wet-field rice cultivation as early as the 8th century BCE[31] allowed villages, towns, and small kingdoms to flourish by the first century CE. Indonesia's strategic sea-lane position fostered inter-island and international trade, including links with Indian kingdoms and Chinese dynasties, which were established several centuries BCE.[32] Trade has since fundamentally shaped Indonesian history.[33][34]

From the 7th century CE, the powerful Srivijaya naval kingdom flourished as a result of trade and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism that were imported with it.[35] Between the 8th and 10th centuries CE, the agricultural Buddhist Sailendra and Hindu Mataram dynasties thrived and declined in inland Java, leaving grand religious monuments such as Borobudur, Sewu and Prambanan. This period marked a renaissance of Hindu-Buddhist art in ancient Java.[36] Around the first quarter of the 10th century, the centre of the kingdom was shifted from Mataram area in Central Java to Brantas River valley in East Java by Mpu Sindok, who established the Isyana Dynasty.[37] Subsequently, a series of Javanese Hindu-Buddhist polities rose and fell, from Kahuripan kingdom ruled by Airlangga to Kadiri and Singhasari. In West Java, Sunda Kingdom was re-established circa 1030 according to Sanghyang Tapak inscription. In Bali, the Warmadewas established their rule on the Kingdom of Bali in the 10th century. The Hindu Majapahit kingdom was founded in eastern Java in the late 13th century, and under Gajah Mada, its influence stretched over much of present-day Indonesia.[38]

The earliest evidence of Muslim population in the archipelago dates to the 13th century in northern Sumatra, although Muslim traders first traveled through Southeast Asia early in the Islamic era.[39] Other Indonesian areas gradually adopted Islam, and it was the dominant religion in Java and Sumatra by the end of the 16th century. For the most part, Islam overlaid and mixed with existing cultural and religious influences, which shaped the predominant form of Islam in Indonesia, particularly in Java.[40]

Colonial era

The submission of Prince Diponegoro to General De Kock at the end of the Java War in 1830

The first regular contact between Europeans and the peoples of the archipelago began in 1512, when Portuguese traders, led by Francisco Serrão, sought to monopolise the sources of nutmeg, cloves, and cubeb pepper in Maluku.[41] Dutch and British traders followed. In 1602, the Dutch established the Dutch East India Company (VOC), and in the following decades, the Dutch gained a foothold in Batavia and Amboina. Throughout the 17th and 18th centuries, the company became the dominant European power in the archipelago.[42]

Following bankruptcy, the VOC was formally dissolved in 1800, and the Dutch government established the Dutch East Indies as a nationalised colony.[43] For most of the Dutch colonial period, their control over the archipelago was tenuous outside of coastal strongholds; only in the early 20th century did Dutch dominance extend to what was to become Indonesia's current boundaries.[44] Japanese occupation during World War II ended Dutch rule,[45] and encouraged the previously suppressed Indonesian independence movement.[46] However, a later UN report stated that 4 million people died during the Japanese occupation as a result of famine and forced labour.[47]

Modern era

Sukarno, the founding father and first President of Indonesia

Two days after the surrender of Japan, Sukarno and Mohammad Hatta, the influential nationalist leaders, proclaimed Indonesian independence on 17 August 1945,[48][49][50] and was selected as the country's first President and Vice President respectively, by the Preparatory Committee for Indonesian Independence. The Netherlands tried to re-establish their rule, and an armed and diplomatic struggle ensued. In December 1949, the Dutch formally recognised Indonesian independence in the face of international pressure,[49][51] with the exception of the Netherlands New Guinea, which was later incorporated into Indonesia following the 1962 New York Agreement and the disputed[52] UN-mandated Act of Free Choice in 1969 that led to the still-ongoing Papua conflict. Despite major internal political, social and sectarian divisions during the four-year struggle, Indonesians, on the whole, found unity in their fight for independence.

In the late 1950s, Sukarno moved Indonesia from democracy towards authoritarianism, and maintained his power base by balancing the opposing forces of the military and the Communist Party of Indonesia (Partai Komunis Indonesia, PKI).[53] An attempted coup on 30 September 1965 was countered by the army, which led a violent purge that targeted communists, ethnic Chinese and alleged leftists, during which the PKI was blamed for the coup and effectively destroyed.[54][55][56] The most widely accepted estimates are that between 500,000 and one million people were killed, with some estimates as high as two to three million.[57][58][59] The head of the military, General Suharto, outmaneuvered the politically weakened Sukarno and was formally appointed president in March 1968. His New Order administration[60] was supported by the United States,[61][62][63] and encouraged foreign direct investment, which was a major factor in the subsequent three decades of substantial economic growth. However, his administration was widely accused of corruption and suppression of political opposition.[64][65][66]

Indonesia was the country hardest hit by the 1997 Asian financial crisis.[67] This increased popular discontent with the New Order and triggered mass protests across the country, which eventually led to Suharto's resignation on 21 May 1998.[68] In 1999, East Timor voted to secede from Indonesia, after a 25-year military occupation that was marked by international condemnation of repression of the East Timorese.[69] In the post-Suharto era, a strengthening of democratic processes has included a regional autonomy program, and the first direct presidential election in 2004.[70] Political and economic instability, social unrest, corruption, and terrorism slowed progress; however, in recent years the economy has performed strongly. Although relations among different religious and ethnic groups are largely harmonious, sectarian discontent and violence have persisted.[71] A political settlement to an armed separatist conflict in Aceh was achieved in 2005.[72]


Puncak Jaya in Papua, the highest summit in Indonesia and Oceania

Indonesia lies between latitudes 11°S and 6°N, and longitudes 95°E and 141°E. It is the largest archipelagic country in the world, extending 5,120 kilometres (3,181 mi) from east to west and 1,760 kilometres (1,094 mi) from north to south.[73] According to a geospatial survey conducted between 2007 and 2010 by the National Mapping Agency, Indonesia has 13,466 islands,[74] scattered over both sides of the equator, and with about 6,000 of them are inhabited.[12] The largest are Java, Sumatra, Borneo (shared with Brunei and Malaysia), Sulawesi, and New Guinea (shared with Papua New Guinea). Indonesia shares land borders with Malaysia on Borneo, Papua New Guinea on the island of New Guinea, and East Timor on the island of Timor. Indonesia shares maritime borders across narrow straits with Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Palau to the north, and Australia to the south.

Mount Semeru and Mount Bromo in East Java. Indonesia is among the most volcanically active countries in the world.

At 4,884 metres (16,024 ft), Puncak Jaya is Indonesia's highest peak, and Lake Toba in Sumatra is the largest lake, with an area of 1,145 km2 (442 sq mi). Indonesia's largest rivers are in Kalimantan and New Guinea, and include Kapuas, Barito, Mamberamo, Sepik and Mahakam; such rivers are communication and transport links between the island's river settlements.[75]


Typical Indonesian rainforest, mostly found in Kalimantan and Sumatra

Lying along the equator, Indonesia's climate tends to be relatively even year-round.[76] Indonesia has two seasons—a wet season and a dry season—with no extremes of summer or winter.[77] For most of Indonesia, the dry season falls between April and October with the wet season between November and March.[77] Indonesia's climate is almost entirely tropical, dominated by the tropical rainforest climate found in every major island of Indonesia, followed by the tropical monsoon climate that predominantly lies along Java's coastal north, Sulawesi's coastal south and east, and Bali, and finally the tropical Savanna climate, found in isolated locations of Central Java, lowland East Java, coastal southern Papua and smaller islands to the east of Lombok. However, cooler climate types do exist in mountainous regions of Indonesia 1,300 to 1,500 metres (4,300 to 4,900 feet) above sea level. The oceanic climate (Köppen Cfb) prevail in highland areas with fairly uniform precipitation year-round, adjacent to rainforest climates, while the subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb) exist in highland areas with a more pronounced dry season, adjacent to tropical monsoon and savanna climates.

Rinca, Lesser Sunda Islands. The islands closest to Australia, including Nusa Tenggara and the eastern tip of Java, tend to be dry.

Some regions, such as Kalimantan and Sumatra, experience only slight differences in rainfall and temperature between the seasons, whereas others, such as Nusa Tenggara, experience far more pronounced differences with droughts in the dry season, and floods in the wet. Rainfall is plentiful, particularly in West Sumatra, West Kalimantan, West Java, and Papua. Parts of Sulawesi and some islands closer to Australia, such as Sumba is drier. The almost uniformly warm waters that make up 81% of Indonesia's area ensure that temperatures on land remain fairly constant. The coastal plains averaging 28 °C (82.4 °F), the inland and mountain areas averaging 26 °C (78.8 °F), and the higher mountain regions, 23 °C (73.4 °F). The area's relative humidity ranges between 70 and 90%. Winds are moderate and generally predictable, with monsoons usually blowing in from the south and east in June through October and from the northwest in November through March. Typhoons and large scale storms pose little hazard to mariners in Indonesian waters; the major danger comes from swift currents in channels, such as the Lombok and Sape straits.


A chart with the heading "Major Volcanoes of Indonesia (with eruptions since 1900 A.D.)". Depicted below the heading is an overhead view of a cluster of islands.
Major volcanoes in Indonesia. Indonesia is in the Pacific Ring of Fire area.

Tectonically, Indonesia is highly unstable, making the country a site of numerous volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. It lies on the Pacific Ring of Fire where the Indo-Australian Plate and the Pacific Plate are pushed under the Eurasian plate where they melt at about 100 kilometres (62 miles) deep. A string of volcanoes runs through Sumatra, Java, Bali and Nusa Tenggara, and then to the Banda Islands of Maluku to northeastern Sulawesi.[78] Of the 400 volcanoes, around 130 are active.[79] Between 1972 and 1991, 29 volcanic eruptions were recorded, mostly on Java. While volcanic ash has resulted in fertile soils (a factor in historically sustaining high population densities of Java and Bali),[80] it makes agricultural conditions unpredictable in some areas.[81]

A massive supervolcano erupted at present-day Lake Toba around 70,000 BCE. Earth's largest eruption in the last 25 million years, it is believed to have caused a global volcanic winter and cooling of the climate, and subsequently led to a genetic bottleneck in human evolution, though the eruption's precise effects are still debated.[82][83][84] The two most violent volcanic eruptions in modern times occurred in Indonesia; the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora—the largest known eruption during the past 10,000 years—resulted in 92,000 deaths and created an umbrella of volcanic ash which spread and blanketed Southeast Asia, plunging it into darkness for a week, and made much of Northern Hemisphere without summer in 1816.[85] The 1883 eruption of Krakatoa, which produced the loudest sound in recorded history,[86] resulted in 40,000 deaths that are attributed to the eruption itself and the tsunamis it created. Significant additional effects were also felt around the world years after the eruption.[87] Recent disasters due to seismic activity include the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami that killed an estimated 167,736 in northern Sumatra,[88] and the 2006 Yogyakarta earthquake.


Species endemic to Indonesia. Clockwise from top: Rafflesia arnoldii, orangutan, greater bird-of-paradise, and Komodo dragon.

Indonesia's size, tropical climate, and archipelagic geography support a high level of biodiversity.[15] Its flora and fauna is a mixture of Asian and Australasian species.[89] The islands of the Sunda Shelf (Sumatra, Java, Borneo, and Bali) were once linked to the Asian mainland, and have a wealth of Asian fauna. Large species such as the Sumatran tiger, rhinoceros, orangutan, Asian elephant, and leopard, were once abundant as far east as Bali, but numbers and distribution have dwindled drastically. In Sumatra and Kalimantan, these are predominantly of Asian species. Forests cover approximately 70% of the country.[90] However, the forests of the smaller, and more densely populated Java, have largely been removed for human habitation and agriculture. Sulawesi, Nusa Tenggara, and Maluku – having been long separated from the continental landmasses—have developed their own unique flora and fauna.[91] Papua was part of the Australian landmass, and is home to a unique fauna and flora closely related to that of Australia, including over 600 bird species.[92]

Indonesia is second only to Australia in terms of total endemic species, with 36% of its 1,531 species of bird and 39% of its 515 species of mammal being endemic.[93] Indonesia's 80,000 kilometres (50,000 miles) of coastline are surrounded by tropical seas that contribute to the country's high level of biodiversity. Indonesia has a range of sea and coastal ecosystems, including beaches, sand dunes, estuaries, mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, coastal mudflats, tidal flats, algal beds, and small island ecosystems.[19] Indonesia is one of Coral Triangle countries with the world's greatest diversity of coral reef fish with more than 1,650 species in eastern Indonesia only.[94]

The British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace described a dividing line between the distribution of Indonesia's Asian and Australasian species.[95] Known as the Wallace Line, it runs roughly north–south along the edge of the Sunda Shelf, between Kalimantan and Sulawesi, and along the deep Lombok Strait, between Lombok and Bali. West of the line the flora and fauna are more Asian – moving east from Lombok they are increasingly Australian until the tipping point at the Weber Line. In his 1869 book, The Malay Archipelago, Wallace described numerous species unique to the area.[96] The region of islands between his line and New Guinea is now termed Wallacea.[95]


Indonesia's large and growing population, and rapid industrialisation, present serious environmental issues. They are often given a lower priority due to high poverty levels and weak, under-resourced governance.[97] Issues include the destruction of peatlands, large-scale illegal deforestation and related wildfires causing heavy smog over parts of western Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore; over-exploitation of marine resources; and environmental problems associated with rapid urbanisation and industrial development, including air pollution, traffic congestion, garbage management, and reliable water and waste water services.[97] Indonesia has a below average but slightly improving performance in the global Environmental Performance Index (EPI) with an overall ranking of 107 out of 180 countries in 2016. This is also below average in the Asia-Pacific region, behind Thailand but slightly ahead of China.[98]

Much of Indonesia's deforestation is caused by the expansion of palm oil industry[99] that requires land reallocation as well as changes to the natural ecosystems. Expansions can generate wealth for local communities, but it can also degrade ecosystems and cause social problems.[100] This makes Indonesia the world's fourth largest emitter of greenhouse gases.[98] Such activity also threatens the survival of indigenous and endemic species, including 140 species of mammals identified by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as threatened, and 15 as critically endangered, including the Bali starling,[101] Sumatran orangutan,[102] and Javan rhinoceros.[103]

Government and politics

A presidential inauguration by the MPR in the Parliament Complex Jakarta, 2014

Indonesia is a republic with a presidential system. As a unitary state, power is concentrated in the central government. Following the resignation of President Suharto in 1998, political and governmental structures have undergone major reforms, with four constitutional amendments revamping the executive, legislative and judicial branches.[104] The President of Indonesia is the head of state and head of government, commander-in-chief of the Indonesian National Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia), and the director of domestic governance, policy-making, and foreign affairs. The president appoints a council of ministers, who are not required to be elected members of the legislature. The president may serve a maximum of two consecutive five-year terms.[105]

The highest representative body at national level is the People's Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat, MPR). Its main functions are supporting and amending the constitution, inaugurating–and impeaching[106][107]–the president, and formalising broad outlines of state policy. The MPR comprises two houses; the People's Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat, DPR), with 560 members, and the Regional Representative Council (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah, DPD), with 132 members.[108] The DPR passes legislation and monitors the executive branch. Reforms since 1998 have markedly increased its role in national governance,[104] while the DPD is a new chamber for matters of regional management.[109][107]

Most civil disputes appear before the State Court (Pengadilan Negeri); appeals are heard before the High Court (Pengadilan Tinggi). The Supreme Court of Indonesia (Mahkamah Agung) is the country's highest court, and hears final cessation appeals and conducts case reviews. Other courts include the Commercial Court, which handles bankruptcy and insolvency; the State Administrative Court (Pengadilan Tata Negara) to hear administrative law cases against the government; the Constitutional Court (Mahkamah Konstitusi) to hear disputes concerning legality of law, general elections, dissolution of political parties, and the scope of authority of state institutions; and the Religious Court (Pengadilan Agama) to deal with codified Sharia Law cases.[110] In addition, the Judicial Commission (Komisi Yudisial) monitors the performance of judges.

Parties and elections

Since 1999, Indonesia has had a multi-party system. In all legislative elections since the fall of New Order, no political party has managed to win an overall majority of seats, resulting in coalition governments. The Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle (PDI-P), which secured the most votes in the 2014 elections, is the party of the current President, Joko Widodo.[111] The Great Indonesia Movement Party (Gerindra) is the third largest political party.[112] Other notable parties include the Party of the Functional Groups (Golkar), the Democratic Party, and the National Awakening Party (PKB). The current DPR consists of 10 political parties, with a parliamentary threshold of 3.5% of the national vote.[113] The first general election was held in 1955 to elect members of the DPR and the Konstituante. At the national level, Indonesian people did not elect a president until 2004. Since then, the president is elected for a five-year term, as are the party-aligned members of the DPR and the non-partisan DPD.[108][104] Beginning with 2015 local elections, Indonesia starts to elect governors and mayors simultaneously on the same date.

Political divisions

Indonesia consists of 34 provinces, five of which have special status. Each province has its own legislature (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat Daerah, DPRD) and an elected governor. The provinces are subdivided into regencies (kabupaten) and cities (kota), led by regents (bupati) and mayors (walikota) respectively and also their own legislature (DPRD Kabupaten/Kota). These are further subdivided into districts (kecamatan or distrik in Papua), and again into administrative villages (either desa, kelurahan, kampung, nagari in West Sumatra, or gampong in Aceh). This number has evolved over time, the most recent change being the split of North Kalimantan from East Kalimantan in October 2012.[114]

The village is the lowest level of government administration. Furthermore, it is divided into several community groups (rukun warga, RW) which are further divided into neighbourhood groups (rukun tetangga, RT). In Java, the village (desa) is divided further into smaller units called dusun or dukuh (hamlets), these units are the same as RW. Following the implementation of regional autonomy measures in 2001, the regencies and cities have become key administrative units, responsible for providing most government services. The village administration level is the most influential on a citizen's daily life and handles matters of a village or neighbourhood through an elected village chief (lurah or kepala desa).

The provinces of Aceh, Jakarta, Yogyakarta, Papua, and West Papua have greater legislative privileges and a higher degree of autonomy from the central government than the other provinces. Aceh, for example, has the right to create certain elements of an independent legal system and several regional parties participate only in elections within the province.[115] In 2003, it instituted a form of sharia (Islamic law).[116] Yogyakarta was granted the status of Special Region in recognition of its pivotal role in supporting Indonesian Republicans during the National Revolution and its willingness to join Indonesia as a republic.[117] Papua, formerly known as Irian Jaya, was granted special autonomy status in 2001 and was split into Papua and West Papua in February 2003.[118][119] Jakarta is the country's special capital region (Daerah Khusus Ibukota).

Foreign relations

Joko Widodo and Russian President Vladimir Putin, in May 2016

Since independence, Indonesia has adhered to a "free and active" foreign policy, seeking to play a role in regional affairs commensurate with its size and location but avoiding involvement in conflicts among other countries.[120] In contrast to Sukarno's anti-imperialistic antipathy to Western powers and tensions with Malaysia, foreign relations since the New Order have been based on economic and political cooperation with the West.[121] Indonesia maintains close relations with its neighbours in Asia, and is a founding member of ASEAN and the East Asia Summit.[122] The country restored relations with China in 1990 following a freeze in place since anti-communist purge early in the Suharto era. Indonesia also developed close relations with the Soviet Union during the early-to-mid 1960s.[123]

Indonesia has been a member of the United Nations since 1950,[a] and was a founder of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).[124] Indonesia is signatory to the ASEAN Free Trade Area agreement, the Cairns Group, and the World Trade Organization (WTO), and an occasional member of OPEC.[125] Indonesia has received humanitarian and development aid since 1966, in particular from the United States, the European Union (EU), Australia, and Japan.citation needed The EU has spent more than €500 million development assistance in the last ten years, in particular to promote basic education and good governance in public finance management and justice, and to support efforts against climate change and deforestation and trade.[126]

The Indonesian government has worked with other countries to apprehend and prosecute perpetrators of major bombings linked to militant Islamism.[127] The deadliest bombing killed 202 people (including 164 international tourists) in the Bali resort town of Kuta in 2002.[128] The attacks, and subsequent travel warnings issued by other countries, severely damaged Indonesia's tourism industry and foreign investment prospects.[129]


Indonesian Armed Forces. Clockwise from top: Indonesian Army during training session, Sukhoi Su-30, Pindad Anoa, and Indonesian naval vessel KRI Sultan Iskandar Muda 367.

Indonesia's Armed Forces (TNI) include the Army (TNI–AD), Navy (TNI–AL, which includes Marine Corps), and Air Force (TNI–AU).[130] The army has about 400,000 active-duty personnel. Defense spending in the national budget was 0.9% of GDP in 2015,[131] and is controversially supplemented by revenue from military commercial interests and foundations.[132] The Armed Forces was formed during the Indonesian National Revolution, when it undertook a guerrilla warfare along with informal militia. As a result of this, and the need to maintain internal security, the Armed forces including the Army, Navy, and Air Force has been organised along territorial lines, aimed at defeating internal enemies of the state and potential external invaders.citation needed After a three-decade involvement and support for the Suharto regime, the TNI's formal representation in parliament was removed following political reforms in 1998. However, its political influence remains extensive.[133][134]

Since independence, the country has struggled to maintain unity against local insurgencies and separatist movements.[135] Some, notably in Aceh and Papua, have led to an armed conflict, and subsequent allegations of human rights abuses and brutality from all sides.[136][137] The former was resolved peacefully in 2005,[72] while the latter still continues, amid a significant, albeit imperfect, implementation of regional autonomy laws, and a reported decline in the levels of violence and human rights abuses, since the presidency of Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.[138] Other engagements of the army include the campaign against the Netherlands New Guinea to incorporate the territory into Indonesia, the Konfrontasi to oppose the creation of Malaysia, the mass killings against the PKI, and the invasion of East Timor, which was–and remains–Indonesia's largest military operation.[139][140]


Jakarta, the capital city and the country's commercial centre
The Indonesian rupiah (IDR) banknotes denominations in circulation since 2016

Indonesia has a mixed economy in which both the private sector and government play significant roles.[141] The country is the largest economy in Southeast Asia and a member of the G20 major economies.[142] Indonesia's estimated nominal gross domestic product, as of 2017, is US$1.020 trillion while GDP in PPP terms is US$$3.257 trillion. It is the 16th largest economy in the world by nominal GDP and is the 7th largest in terms of GDP (PPP). As of 2017, per capita GDP in PPP is US$12,432 while nominal per capita GDP is US$3,895.[8] The debt ratio to GDP is 26%.[143] The services are the economy's largest and accounts for 43.3% of GDP (2016), followed by manufacturing sector (42.9%) and agriculture (13.7%).[144] Since 2012, it has employed more people than other sectors, accounting for 44.8% of the total labour force, followed by agriculture (34.3%) and industry (20.9%).[145] Agriculture, however, had been the country's largest employer for centuries.citation needed


Vast palm oil plantation. Currently, Indonesia is the world's largest producer of palm oil.

Over time, the structure of the Indonesian economy has changed considerably.[146] Historically, it has been heavily weighted towards agriculture, reflecting both its stage of economic development and government policies in the 1950s and 1960s to promote agricultural self-sufficiency.[146] A gradual process of industrialisation and urbanisation began in the late 1960s, and accelerated in the 1980s as falling oil prices saw the government focus on diversifying away from oil exports and towards manufactured exports.[146] This development continued throughout the 1980s and into the next decade despite the 1990 oil price shock, during which the GDP rose at an average rate of 7.1%. The consistent growth saw the official poverty rate falling from 60% to 15%.[147] From the mid 1980s, the economy became more globally integrated as trade barriers were reduced. The 1997 Asian financial crisis affected Indonesia both economically and politically. The government's initial response was to float the rupiah, raise key domestic interest rates, and tighten fiscal policy. The effects of the crisis were severe. By November 1997, rapid currency depreciation had caused public debt to reach US$60 billion, imposing severe strains on the government's budget.[148] In 1998, real GDP contracted by 13.1% and inflation reached 72% (slowed to 2% in 1999). The economy reached its low point in mid-1999 with only 0.8% real GDP growth.

Recent strong economic growth has been accompanied by relatively steady inflation.[149] Since an inflation target was introduced in 2000, the GDP deflator and the CPI have grown at an average annual pace of 10¾% and 9%, respectively, similar to the pace recorded in the two decades prior to the 1997 crisis, but well below the pace in the 1960s and 1970s.[150] Inflation has also generally trended lower through the 2000s, with some of the fluctuations in inflation reflecting government policy initiatives such as the changes in fiscal subsidies in 2005 and 2008, which caused large temporary spikes in CPI growth.[149] Since 2007, however, with improvement in banking sector and domestic consumption, growth has accelerated to over 6% annually.[151][152] This helped Indonesia weather the 2008–2009 Great Recession,[153] during which the economy performed strongly, and later in 2011 saw the country regain the investment grade rating it lost in 1997.[154] The growth, however, has slowed to 5% since 2014 due to a ban on exports of unprocessed mineral ores in an attempt to boost the domestic mineral processing industry and encourage exports of higher value-added mineral products,[155] and a rise in interest rates.[156] As of 2016, 10.8% of the population lived below the poverty line and the official open unemployment rate was 5.5%.[157][158]

Palm oil production is important to the economy as Indonesia is the world's biggest producer and consumer of the commodity, providing about half of the world's supply.[99] Plantations in the country stretch across 6 million hectares as of 2007,[159] with a replanting plan set for an additional 4.7 million to boost productivity in 2017.[160] As of 2012, Indonesia produces 35% of the world's certified sustainable palm oil (CSPO).[161] Automotive industry produced almost 1.18 million motor vehicles in 2016, ranking Indonesia as the 17th largest producer in the world.[162] Nowadays, Indonesian automotive companies are able to produce cars with high ratio of local content (80%–90%).[163] With production of 13 billion packs in 2016, Indonesia is the second largest producer of instant noodle after China which produces 38.5 billion packs a year.[164] Indofood, the world's largest instant noodle producer, is known for Indomie, one of Indonesia's best known brands.[165] Of the world's 500 largest companies measured by revenue in 2016, the Fortune Global 500, Pertamina was the sole Indonesian company on the list.[166]

A proportional representation of Indonesia's exports (2012)

Indonesia ran a trade surplus in 2016, with total exports and imports of US$140 billion and US$132 billion, respectively. During the last five years, exports and imports have decreased at an annual rate of 3 to 4.8%, from US$224 billion and US$173 billion, respectively in 2011. The country's main exports are led by palm oil and coal briquettes, with jewellery, cars and vehicle parts, rubber, and copper ore making up the majority of other exports, while imports mainly consist of refined petroleum and crude petroleum, with telephones, computers, vehicle parts and wheat cover the majority of other imports. The country's main export markets are China (12%), the United States (11%), Japan (11%), Singapore (8%) and India (7.2%), while its main import partners are China (23%), Singapore (11%), Japan (9.8%), Thailand (6.5%) and Malaysia (5.4%).[16]


The road transport system is predominant, with a total length of 523,974 kilometres (325,582 miles) as of 2015.[167] Many cities and towns have some form of transportation for hire available such as taxis. There are usually bus services such as the Kopaja buses and the more sophisticated TransJakarta, the longest bus rapid transit (BRT) system in the world that boasts some 230.9 kilometres (143.5 miles) in 13 corridors and 10 cross-corridor routes[168] and carrying 430,000 passengers daily in 2016.[169] In addition, BRT systems exist in Yogyakarta, Palembang, Bandung, Denpasar, Pekanbaru, Semarang, Makassar, and Padang without segregated lanes. Many cities have motorised auto rickshaws (bajaj), and share taxis known locally as Angkot are a common sight in even medium-sized towns. Becak, a cycle rickshaw, is a regular sight on city roads and provide inexpensive transportation.

Rail transport system has four unconnected networks in Java and Sumatra primarily dedicated to transport bulk commodities and long-distance passenger traffic. The inter-city rail network on Java is complemented by local commuter rail services in the Jakarta metropolitan area, Surabaya, Medan, and Bandung. In Jakarta, the suburban rail services carry 885,000 passengers a day.[170] In addition, mass rapid transit and light rail transit systems are currently under construction in Jakarta and Palembang.[171][172] The government's plan to build a high-speed rail (HSR) was announced in 2015, the first in Indonesia and Southeast Asia. It is expected to connect the capital Jakarta with Bandung, covering a distance of around 140 kilometres (87 miles). Plans were also mentioned for its possible extension to Surabaya, the country's second largest city.[173]

Transport in Indonesia. Clockwise from top: TransJakarta bus, Jabodetabek Commuter Line, Garuda Indonesia Boeing 737-800, Pelni ship

Since Indonesia encompasses a sprawling archipelago, maritime transport is vital for economic integration, as it provides essential links between parts of the country, and for domestic and foreign trade, with each of the major islands having at least one significant port city. Boats in common use include large container ships, a variety of ferries, passenger ships, sailing ships, and smaller motorised vessels. Traditional wooden vessel pinisi are widely used as the inter-island freight service in the archipelago. Port of Tanjung Priok is Indonesia's busiest port, handling over 5.20 million TEUs.[174] A two-phase "New Tanjung Priok" extension project is currently underway to boost capacity, which will triple the existing annual capacity when fully operational in 2023. In 2015, ground breaking of the strategic North Sumatra's Kuala Tanjung Port has been completed. It is expected to accommodate 500,000 TEUs per year,[175] overtaking Johor's Tanjung Pelepas Port and could even compete with the port of Singapore.[176]

Frequent ferry services cross the straits between nearby islands, especially in the chain of islands stretching from Sumatra through Java to the Lesser Sunda Islands. On the busy crossings between Sumatra, Java, and Bali, car ferries frequently run 24 hours per day. There are international ferry services between across the Strait of Malacca between Sumatra and Malaysia, and between Singapore and nearby Indonesian islands, such as Batam. A network of passenger ships makes longer connections to more remote islands, especially in the eastern part of the archipelago. The national shipping line, Pelni, provides passenger service to ports throughout the country on a two- to four-week schedule. These ships generally provide the least expensive way to cover long distances between islands. Smaller privately run boats also provide service between islands.

As of 2014, there were 237 airports in Indonesia,[177] including 17 international airports. Soekarno–Hatta International Airport is the 22nd busiest airport in the world, serving 54,969,536 passengers in 2016.[178] Today the airport is running over capacity. After an expansion with a third terminal was completed in 2016, the total capacity of the three terminals increased to 43 million passengers a year. The first and second terminals will be revitalised in order to accommodate 67 million passengers a year.[179] Ngurah Rai International Airport in Bali and Juanda International Airport in Surabaya are the country's second and third busiest airport. Garuda Indonesia, the country's flag carrier since 1949, is one of the world's leading airlines and the 20th member of the global airline alliance SkyTeam. The airline's modernisation plan in 2009 has resulted in numerous awards, such as Skytrax's "5-Star Airline" rating and "The World's Best Cabin Crew."[180][181]


According to IEA, Indonesia was the 10th top natural gas producer in 2009: 76 billion cubics (bcm) 2.5% of world production of which 36 bcm was exported.[182] In 2009, Indonesia was the 5th top coal producer: 263 million tonnes hard coal and 38 million tonnes brown.[182] The majority of this, 230 Mt of hard coal, was exported.[183] Indonesia has significant energy resources, starting with oil – it has 22 billion barrels of conventional oil and gas reserves, of which about 4 billion are recoverable. That's the equivalent of about 10 years of oil production and 50 years of gas. It has about 8 billion barrels of oil-equivalent of coal-based methane (CBM) resources. It has 28 billion tonnes of recoverable coal and has 28 gigawatts (GW) of geothermal potential. 1 Includes recoverable resources of oil and gas yet to be discovered. It has even more in the form of solar, wind, biomass and biofuel potential. Indonesia's domestic oil consumption has grown from 1.2 million barrels per day in 2003 to 1.6 million barrels per day in 2013.[182] As of 2015, Indonesia's total national installed power generation capacity stands at 55,528.51 MW.[184]

Jatiluhur Dam, the country's largest dam, serves several purposes including the provision of hydroelectric power generation, water supply, flood control, irrigation and aquaculture. The power station has an installed capacity of 186.5 MW which feeds into the Java grid managed by the state-owned electricity company (Perusahaan Listrik Negara). The Jatiluhur reservoir helps irrigate 240,000 ha (593,053 acres) of rice fields. The earth-fill dam is 105 m (344 ft) high and withholds a reservoir of 3,000,000,000 m3 (2,432,140 acre⋅ft).[185][186][187]

Science and technology

Though not considered as a leading country in science and technology, there are many examples of notable scientific and technological developments and achievements contributed by Indonesians. Living in an agrarian and maritime culture, they have been famous in some traditional technologies, particularly in agriculture and marine. In the former, as with other people in Southeast Asia, they are famous in paddy cultivation technique namely terasering. Bugis and Makassar people are well known in the latter, making wooden sailing vessel called pinisi boats.[188] A recent notable invention, a road construction technique named Sosrobahu by Tjokorda Raka Sukawati, allows long stretches of flyovers to be constructed above existing main roads with a minimum of disruption to the traffic. It later became famous and widely used in many countries, including Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and the United States.[189] The country is also an active producer of passenger trains and freight wagons with its state-owned train manufacturer company, the Indonesian Railway Industry (INKA), and has exported trains to several countries, such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Malaysia.[190]

Palapa satellite launch in 1984.

Indonesia has a long history in developing military and small commuter aircraft as the only country in Southeast Asia to produce and develop its own aircraft. With state-owned aircraft company, the Indonesian Aerospace (PT. Dirgantara Indonesia), Indonesia has produced aircraft components for Boeing and Airbus, and with EADS CASA of Spain, developed the CN-235 aircraft that has been exported to several countries.[191] Former President B. J. Habibie played an important role in this achievement. While active as a professor in Germany, he conducted many research assignments, producing theories on thermodynamics, construction, and aerodynamics, known as the Habibie Factor, Habibie Theorem, and Habibie Method respectively.[192] Indonesia also has joined the South Korean program to manufacture the KAI KF-X fighter.[193]

Indonesia has its own space agency and space program, and is also the first developing country to operate its own satellite system, known as Palapa.[194] It is a series of communication satellites owned by Qatari-controlled company Indosat Ooredoo. The first satellite, PALAPA A1 was first launched on 8 July 1976 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, United States.[195] As of 2016, Indonesia has launched 11 satellites to connect alongside the archipelago,citation needed and the space agency has expressed desire to put satellites in orbit with native launch vehicles by 2040.[196]


Borobudur, the world's largest Buddhist temple, is the single most visited tourist attraction in Indonesia.[197]

Tourism contributes around US$17 billion to national GDP in 2016.[198] In the same year, Indonesia received 12 million visitors, a growth of 15.5% in one year.[199] In the previous year, Indonesia recorded 10.4 million international visitors, staying in hotels for an average of 8.5 nights and spending an average of US$1,190 per person during their visit, or US$140 per person per day.[200] China, Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, and Japan are the top five source of visitors to Indonesia. Since January 2011, Wonderful Indonesia has been the slogan of an international marketing campaign directed by the Ministry of Tourism to promote tourism.[201]

Natural and cultural attractions are major components of Indonesian tourism. The former can boast a unique combination of tropical climate, vast archipelago and long stretch of beaches, and they are complemented by a rich cultural heritage that reflects Indonesia's dynamic history and ethnic diversity. Indonesia has a well-preserved natural ecosystem with rain forests that stretch over about 57% of Indonesia's land (225 million acres). Forests on Sumatra and Kalimantan are examples of popular destinations, such as the Orangutan wildlife reserve. Moreover, Indonesia has one of world's longest coastlines, measuring 54,716 kilometres (33,999 mi). The ancient Prambanan and Borobudur temples, Toraja and Bali, with its Hindu festivities, are some of the popular destinations for cultural tourism.

With 20% of the world's coral reefs, over 3,000 different species of fish and 600 coral species, deep water trenches, volcanic sea mounts, World War II wrecks, and an endless variety of macro life, scuba diving in Indonesia is both excellent and inexpensive.[202] Bunaken National Marine Park, at the northern tip of Sulawesi has more than 70% of all the known fish species of the Indo-Western Pacific Ocean.[203] According to Conservation International, marine surveys suggest that the marine life diversity in the Raja Ampat Islands is the highest recorded on Earth.[204] Moreover, there are over 3,500 species living in Indonesian waters, including sharks, dolphins, manta rays, turtles, moray eels, cuttlefish, octopus and scorpaenidae, compared to 1,500 on the Great Barrier Reef.

Raja Ampat Islands, one of the world's richest areas of marine biodiversity

Indonesia has 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as the Komodo National Park, Cultural Landscape of Bali, Ujung Kulon National Park, Lorentz National Park, Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra, comprises three national parks on the island of Sumatra: Gunung Leuser National Park, Kerinci Seblat National Park and the Bukit Barisan Selatan National Park; and 18 World Heritage Sites in tentative list, such as the historic urban centres of Jakarta Old Town, Sawahlunto Old Coal Mining Town, Semarang Old Town, as well as Muara Takus Compound Site.[205] The heritage tourism is focussed on specific interest on Indonesian history, such as colonial architectural heritage of the Dutch East Indies era. The activities among others are visiting museums, churches, forts and historical colonial buildings, as well as spending some nights in colonial heritage hotels. The popular heritage tourism attractions are Jakarta Old Town and the royal Javanese courts of Yogyakarta, Surakarta and the Mangkunegaran.

Bali, Indonesia's most famous tourist destination, has been named among the world's best islands by some publications.[206][207] It is known for its attractive surroundings (both mountain and coastal areas), diverse attractions, international and local restaurants, and the friendliness of the local people.[206] It is also a major spot for surfing, with popular breaks dotted across the southern coastline and around the offshore island of Nusa Lembongan.[208] As part of the Coral Triangle, Bali, including Nusa Penida, offers a wide range of dive sites with varying types of reefs.

Urban tourism activities includes shopping, sightseeing in big cities, and enjoying modern amusement parks, resorts, spas, nightlife and entertainment. Bandung is a popular shopping destination for fashion products among Malaysians and Singaporeans.[209] Taman Mini Indonesia Indah as well as Ancol Dreamland with Fantasy World (Dunia Fantasi) theme park and Atlantis Water Adventure are Jakarta's answer to Disneyland-style amusement park and water park. Jakarta is also a shopping hub in Southeast Asia, with numerous shopping malls and traditional markets. The annual "Jakarta Great Sale" is held every year in June and July to celebrate Jakarta's anniversary.[210] With a total of 550 hectares, Jakarta has the world's largest shopping mall floor area within a single city.[211]


The 2010 census recorded Indonesia's population as 237.6 million, with high population growth at 1.9%.[212] 58% of the population lives in Java,[213] the world's most populous island.[14] The population density is 138 people per km2 (357 per sq mi), ranking 88th in the world,[214] although Java has a population density of 1,067 people per km2 (2,435 per sq mi). The population is unevenly spread throughout the islands within a variety of habitats and levels of development, ranging from the megalopolis of Jakarta to uncontacted tribes in Papua.[215] In 1961, the first post-colonial census gave a total population of 97 million.[216] The country currently possess a relatively young population, with a median age of 28.6 years (2016 estimate).[217] The population is expected to grow to around 295 million by 2030 and 321 million by 2050.[218] Around 2 to 8 million Indonesians live overseas, with most of them settled in Malaysia, the Netherlands, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Singapore, the United States, and Australia.[219]

Ethnicity and language

A map of major ethnic groups in Indonesia

Indonesia is a very ethnically diverse country, with around 300 distinct native ethnic groups.[220] Most Indonesians are descended from Austronesian-speaking peoples whose languages can be traced to Proto-Austronesian, which possibly originated in prehistoric Taiwan. Another major grouping are the Melanesians, who inhabit eastern Indonesia.[30][221][222] The Javanese are the largest ethnic group, comprising 40.2% of the population.[4] They are predominantly located in the central to eastern parts of Java and also significant numbers in most provinces of Indonesia. The Sundanese, Batak and Madurese are the largest non-Javanese groups.[b] A sense of Indonesian nationhood exists alongside strong regional identities.[223]

A manuscript from the early 1800s from central Sumatra, in Batak Toba language, one of many languages of Indonesia

More than 742 different languages and dialects are spoken in the country.[224][3] Some belong to the Austronesian language family, while over 270 Papuan languages are spoken in Papua.[3] The official language is Indonesian, a variant, and based on the prestige dialect of Malay, which for centuries had been the lingua franca of the archipelago. It was promoted by nationalists in the 1920s, and declared the official language under the name Bahasa Indonesia in the proclamation of independence.[225] The language has experienced centuries of local and foreign influences, including from Javanese, Sundanese, Minangkabau, Hindi, Sanskrit, Chinese, Arabic, Dutch, Portuguese and English.[225][226][227] Nearly every Indonesian speaks the language due to its wide use in education, academics, communications, business, politics, and mass media, albeit as a second language; the first language being the local languages, of which Javanese is the most widely spoken.[12]

In 1930, Dutch and other Europeans (Totok), Eurasians, and derivative people like the Indos, numbered 240,000 or 0.4% of the total population.[228] Historically, they constituted only a tiny fraction of the whole Indonesian population and continue to do so today. Despite the Dutch presence for almost 350 years, the Dutch language has no official status[229] and the small minority that can speak the language fluently are either educated members of the oldest generation, or employed in the legal profession,[230] as certain law codes are still only available in Dutch.[231]

Urban centres

Largest cities or towns in Indonesia
Statistics Indonesia (2014)[232]
Rank Name Province Pop. Rank Name Province Pop.
1 Jakarta Jakarta 10,075,310 11 Makassar South Sulawesi 1,429,242 Bekasi
2 Surabaya East Java 2,853,661 12 Bogor West Java 1,030,720
3 Bekasi West Java 2,663,011 13 Batam Riau Islands 1,030,528
4 Bandung West Java 2,470,802 14 Pekanbaru Riau 1,005,014
5 Medan North Sumatra 2,191,140 15 Bandar Lampung Lampung 960,695
6 Depok West Java 2,033,508 16 Padang West Sumatra 880,646
7 Tangerang Banten 1,999,894 17 Denpasar Bali 863,600
8 Semarang Central Java 1,584,881 18 Malang East Java 845,973
9 Palembang South Sumatra 1,558,494 19 Samarinda East Kalimantan 797,006
10 South Tangerang Banten 1,492,999 20 Banjarmasin South Kalimantan 666,223


Religion in Indonesia (2010)[5]
Religion Percent
Roman Catholicism

While religious freedom is stipulated in the constitution,[233][107] the government officially recognises only six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism;[234] although indigenous faiths are also recognised.[235] Indonesia is the world's most populous Muslim-majority country with 227 million adherents in 2017, with the majority being Sunnis (99%).[236][12] The Shias and Ahmadis respectively constitute 0.5% and 0.2% of the Muslim population.[237][238] Christians made up almost 10% of the population (7% Protestant, 2.9% Roman Catholic), 1.7% were Hindu, and 0.9% were Buddhist or other. Most Indonesian Hindus are Balinese,[239] and most Buddhists in the country are ethnic Chinese.[240]

A Hindu shrine dedicated to Sri Baduga Maharaja in Pura Parahyangan Agung Jagatkarta, Bogor, West Java. Hinduism left a significant impact and imprint in Indonesian art and culture.

The natives of the archipelago practiced indigenous animism and dynamism, beliefs that are common to the Austronesian people.[241] They venerated and revered ancestral spirit and believed that some spirits may inhabit certain places such as large trees, stones, forests, mountains, or sacred places.[241] This unseen spiritual entity with supernatural power is identified by the ancient Javanese, Sundanese and Balinese as "hyang" that can mean either "divine" or "ancestral", and tends to be associated with God in modern Indonesian.[242]

Examples of Indonesian native belief systems include the Sundanese Sunda Wiwitan, Dayak's Kaharingan, Torajan Aluk' To Dolo, Manusela and Nuaulu's Naurus, Batak's Parmalim faith, and the Javanese Kejawèn. These native customs and beliefs had significant impact on how certain faiths are practiced in the country, evidenced by a large proportion of people—such as the Javanese abangan, Balinese Hindus, and Dayak Christians—practicing a less orthodox, syncretic form of their religion.[243] Though no longer a majority, Hinduism and Buddhism remain defining influences in Indonesian culture. Hindu influences reached the archipelago as early as the first century CE.[244] Around 130 AD, a Sundanese kingdom named Salakanagara emerged in western Java, and is the first historically recorded Indianised kingdom in the archipelago, created by an Indian trader after marrying a local Sundanese princess.[245]

Islam was introduced to the archipelago by Sunni traders of the Shafi'i fiqh, as well as Sufi traders from the Indian subcontinent and southern Arabian Peninsula.[246] Italian explorer Marco Polo is credited with the earliest known record of a Muslim community around 1297 AD, whom he referred to as a new community of Moorish traders in Perlak.[247] Over the 15th and 16th centuries, Islamic militant campaign led by sultans attacked Hindu-Buddhist kingdoms and various communities, with each trying to carve out a region or island for control.[248] Four diverse and contentious sultanates emerged in northern and southern Sumatra, west and central Java, and southern Borneo. They declared Islam as state religion and pursued war against each other as well as the Hindus and other non-Muslim infidels.[249]

Subsequently, Hindu, Buddhist, Confucian, animist communities and unbelievers bought peace by agreeing to pay jizya tax to a Muslim ruler, while others began adopting Islam to escape the tax.[250] In some regions, people continued their old beliefs and adopted a syncretic version of Islam, while others left and concentrated as communities in islands that they could defend. For example, Hindus of western Java (the Sundanese) moved to Bali and neighbouring small islands.[251] While this period of religious conflict and inter-Sultanate warfare was unfolding, and new power centers were attempting to consolidate regions under their control, European powers arrived.[251] The archipelago was soon dominated by the Dutch empire,[252] who helped prevent inter-religious conflict, and slowly began the process of excavating, preserving and understanding the archipelago's ancient Hindu and Buddhist period, particularly in Java and the western islands.[253]

Roman Catholicism was brought to the archipelago by early Portuguese traders and missionaries such as Saint Francis Xavier, SJ.[254][255] After the arrival of VOC, the Catholic Church was banned and only survived in Flores and Timor as the Netherlands was known to support Protestantism and tried to limit the influence and authority of the Holy See.[256][257] During the Napoleonic Wars, the Netherlands and the Dutch East Indies fell under the French Empire, and Napoleon installed his Catholic younger brother Louis Napoleon (Dutch: Lodewijk) as the Dutch King in 1806. Since then, the Catholic Church has been free to operate in the East Indies.[257] Kingdom of Larantuka in present-day Flores was the only native Catholic kingdom in Indonesia and Southeast Asia, with the first king named Lorenzo.[258] In present-day Indonesia, unique Catholic traditions close to Easter days remain, locally known as the Semana Santa. It involves a procession carrying statues of Jesus and Virgin Mary (locally referred to as Tuan Ana and Tuan Ma) to a local beach, then to Cathedral of the Queen of the Rosary in Larantuka, the seat of the bishop.[259][260]

Indonesia religions map

Protestantism is largely a result of Calvinist and Lutheran missionary efforts during the colonial period.[261][262][263] The Dutch Reformed Church was long at the forefront in introducing Christianity to Indonesians, and was later joined by other Reformed churches that separated from it during the 19th century.[264] The VOC regulated the missionary work so it could serve its own interests and restricted it to the eastern part of the archipelago.[265] Although the Calvinist and Lutheran branch are the most common, a multitude of other denominations can be found elsewhere in Indonesia.[266] The Batak Protestant Christian Church, founded in 1861 by German Lutheran missionary Ludwig Ingwer Nommensen, is the largest one.[267]

Education and health

Bandung Institute of Technology is considered as one of the most prestigious universities in Indonesia, along with University of Indonesia, and Gadjah Mada University.[268]

Education in Indonesia is compulsory for twelve years,[269] and the constitution dictates that 20% of the national budget is to be prioritised for education.[270][107] Parents can choose between state-run, non sectarian public schools supervised by the Ministry of Education and Culture or private or semi-private religious (usually Islamic) schools supervised and financed by the Department of Religious Affairs.[271] Private international schools, which are not based on the national curriculum, are also available. The enrolment rate is 90% for primary education (2015), 76% for secondary education, and 24% for tertiary education. The literacy rate is 95.22% (2016) and the government expenditure on education as 3.59% of GDP (2015).[272]

By 2014, there were 118 state universities and 1,890 private higher educational institutions in Indonesia. Entry to state universities depends on the nationwide entrance examination (SNMPTN and SBMPTN). According to the 2017 QS World University Rankings, the top university in Indonesia is University of Indonesia (rank 277), followed by Bandung Institute of Technology (rank 331). Other universities include Gadjah Mada University (in the 401–410 rank range), Airlangga University (in the 701–750 rank range), Bogor Agricultural University (in the 751–800 rank range), as well as Diponegoro University, Sepuluh Nopember Institute of Technology, Muhammadiyah University of Surakarta and the University of Brawijaya all huddled in the 801–1000 rank range.[273] All of them are located in Java. Andalas University is pioneering the establishment of a leading university outside of Java.[274]

Government expenditure on healthcare is about 2.9% of GDP (2014).[275] Every citizen is protected under the National Health Insurance (Jaminan Kesehatan Nasional, JKN), a scheme to implement universal health care launched by the Ministry of Health in 2014. It is expected that spending on healthcare will increase by 12% a year and reach US$46 billion a year by 2019.[276] Under JKN, all citizens will receive coverage for a range of treatments via health services from public providers as well as private organisations that have opted to join the scheme. Although health indicators have significantly improved in recent decades such as improvement in life expectancy (from 63 in 1990 to 71 in 2012)[277] and declining child mortality (from 85 deaths per 1,000 births in 1990 to 27 deaths in 2015),[278] Indonesia continues to face health challenges that include maternal and child health, low air quality, malnutrition, high rate of smoking,[276] and communicable diseases.

Demographic issues

Close to 80% of the population lives in the western parts of the archipelago,[279] but they are growing at a slower pace than the rest of the country.[280] This has created a wealth, unemployment rate, and health gap between the densely populated islands and economic centres (such as Sumatra and Java) and sparsely populated, disadvantaged areas (such as Maluku and Papua).[280] Economic inequality affects both the economy and the social structure, resulting in social discrimination.[281] Racism, especially against the Chinese Indonesians since the colonial period, still continues to date.[282][283] Recently, LGBT issues have gained attention in Indonesia.[284] While homosexuality is legal in most parts of the country, it is illegal in Aceh and South Sumatra.[285] LGBT people and activists face fierce opposition, homophobic attacks, and hate speech, launched even by authorities.[286]


Dancers in Watublapi, Flores, in traditional costume

Indonesia has a multicultural, multilingual and multi-ethnic society.[220][224] Each ethnic group has their own arts, architecture and housing, cuisine, traditional dresses, festivals, music and dance, rituals, myths, philosophies, and language.[287] The cultural identities developed over centuries, and influenced by Indian, Arabic, Chinese, and European sources, resulting in many cultural practices being strongly influenced by a multitude of religions, including Hinduism, Buddhism, Confucianism, Islam and Christianity.[288] The result is a complex and unique cultural mixture that differs from the original indigenous cultures. Examples include the fusion of Islam with Hindu in Javanese Abangan belief, the fusion of Hinduism, Buddhism and animism in Bodha, and the fusion of Hinduism and animism in Kaharingan.[289] Traditional Javanese and Balinese dances, for example, contain aspects of Hindu culture and mythology, as do wayang kulit (shadow puppet) performances. Indonesia currently holds 9 items of UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage, which include wayang puppet theatre, kris, batik, education and training on making Indonesian batik, angklung, saman dance, noken, and the three genres of traditional Balinese dance.[290]

Art and architecture

Traditional Balinese painting depicting cockfighting

Indonesian arts include both age-old art forms developed through centuries, and a recently developed contemporary art. Despite often displaying local ingenuity, Indonesian arts have experienced foreign influences—most notably from India, the Arab world, China and Europe, as the result of centuries of contacts and interactions facilitated, and often motivated, by trade.[291] They are either work of arts produced by its people—created by Indonesian artists, or influenced by its culture and traditions.

Painting is quite developed in Bali, where its people are famed for their artistry.[292] The Balinese art paintings tradition started as classical Kamasan or Wayang style visual narrative, derived from East Javanese visual art discovered on candi bas reliefs.[292] This painting tradition is notable for its highly vigorous yet refined intricate art that resembles baroque folk art with tropical themes.[292]

Megalithic sculpture has been discovered on several sites in Indonesia.[293] Subsequently, tribal art has flourished within the culture of Nias, Batak, Asmat, Dayak and Toraja.[294][295] Wood and stone are common materials used as the media for sculpting among these tribes. Between the 8th and 15th century, Javanese civilisation has developed a refined stone sculpting art and architecture which was influenced by Hindu-Buddhist Dharmic civilisation. The temples of Borobudur and Prambanan are among the most famous examples of the practice.[296]

An avenue of Tongkonan houses in a Torajan village

Indonesian architecture has been influenced by foreign invaders, colonisers, missionaries, merchants and traders that brought cultural changes and profound effect on building styles and techniques. The most dominant influence has traditionally been Indian; however, Chinese, Arab, and European influences have also been significant. Traditional carpentry, masonry, stone and woodwork techniques and decorations thrive in the vernacular architecture, with numbers of traditional houses' styles have been developed.

The traditional houses and settlements of the several hundreds ethnic groups of Indonesia are extremely varied and all have their own specific history. They are at the centre of a web of customs, social relations, traditional laws, taboos, myths and religions that bind the villagers together. The house provides the main focus for the family and its community, and is the point of departure for many activities of its residents.[297] Examples include Toraja's Tongkonan, Minangkabau's Rumah Gadang and Rangkiang, Javanese style Pendopo pavilion with Joglo style roof, Dayak's longhouses, various Malay houses, Balinese houses and temples, and also various styles of rice barns (lumbung).

Craft and clothing

An Asmat woodcarver

Indonesia is considered as home of world handicraft.[298] Every ethnic group has its own uniqueness, style, and philosophy of crafting.[298] Most of them are made from wooden, bone, fabric, stone, and paper. These natural materials were crafted using hands into profitable and aesthetic items.[298] Handicraft manufacturing serves not only as an important economic sector, but also a tradition and has a social function as well.[299] The handicraft industry employs thousands of people in towns and villages across the country. About half a billion dollar worth of handicraft is exported every year, and many more is consumed domestically.[298][299]

There are many varieties of handicraft from other regions.[298] West Sumatra and South Sumatra are particularly noted for their songket cloths.[300] Villages in the Lesser Sunda Islands produce ikat while provinces in Kalimantan are long known for their basketry and weaving using rattan and other natural fabrics.[301] Wood art produced by the Asmat people of Papua is highly valued.[302] Cities along Java's northern coast, Cirebon, Pekalongan, and Rembang are known as centres of batik.[303] Cirebon and Jepara are important cities in furniture, producing rattan and carved wood respectively,[304] while Tasikmalaya is known for embroidery.[305] Pasuruan also produces furniture and other products and support stores and galleries in Bali.[298] Bandung and Surabaya, both modern, cosmopolitan, and industrialised cities—much like Jakarta but on a lesser scale—are creative cities with a variety of innovative startups.[298]

An elderly Sundanese woman wearing batik, sarong, and headdress

Each province in the country has their own representation of traditional attire and dress with unique and distinguished designs.[287] Notable dresses include the Javanese Kebaya and Batik;[306] Ulos of Batak from North Sumatra; Songket of Malay and Minangkabau from Sumatra; and Ikat of Sasak from Lombok. Batik and Kebaya are arguably Indonesia's most recognised national costume, although they originally belong not only to the Javanese, but also Sundanese and Balinese cultures.[307] National costumes are worn during traditional ceremonies as well as official occasions,[307] with the most visible display being those worn by some diplomats, the President and the First Lady. In 2009, Batik was recognised by UNESCO as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.[308]

Music and dance

Indonesian music and dance. Clockwise from top: A gamelan player, Angklung, Sundanese Jaipongan Mojang Priangan dance, Balinese Pendet dance

The music of Indonesia predates historical records. Various indigenous tribes incorporate chants and songs accompanied with musical instruments in their rituals. Angklung, kacapi suling, siteran, gong, gamelan, degung, gong kebyar, bumbung, talempong, kulintang and sasando are examples of traditional Indonesian instruments.

The diverse world of Indonesian music genres are the result of the musical creativity of its people, and subsequent cultural encounters with foreign influences. They include gambus and qasida from the Middle Eastern Islamic music,[309] keroncong from Portuguese influences,[310] and dangdut—one of the most popular music genres in Indonesia—with notable Hindi music influence as well as Malay orchestras.[311] Today, Indonesian music industry enjoys both nationwide and regional popularity in Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei, due to common culture and intelligible languages between Indonesian and Malay.

Scholars believe that Indonesian dances have had their beginning in rituals and religious worship.[312] Such dances are usually based on rituals, like the war dances, the dance of witch doctors, and dance to call for rain or any agricultural related rituals such as Hudoq dance ritual of Dayak people. In Bali, dances have become the integral part of Hindu Balinese rituals. Sacred ritual dances are performed only in Balinese temples such as Sanghyang dedari and Barong dance.

Dances such as the Javanese, Sundanese, Minang, Balinese, Acehnese are age old but also a living and dynamic traditions in Indonesia. Several royal houses—the istanas and keratons—still exist in some parts of the archipelago and have become haven of cultural conservation. The difference between courtly dance and common folk dance traditions is most evident in the Javanese dance. The palace court traditions are also evident in the Balinese and Malay court which usually imposes refinement and prestige. Java and Bali are more deeply rooted in their Hindu-Buddhist heritage, while Sumatran courtly culture such as the remnant of Aceh and Palembang Sultanates, are more influenced by Islamic culture. The commoners folk dance is more concerned with social function and entertainment value than rituals. The Javanese Ronggeng and the Sundanese Jaipongan are examples of this tradition. Certain traditional folk dances have been developed into a mass dance with simple but structured steps and movements, such as Poco-poco dance from Minahasa and Sajojo dance from Papua.


Nasi Padang with rendang, gulai and vegetables

Indonesian cuisine is one of the most diverse, vibrant and colourful in the world, full of intense flavour.[313][314] Many regional cuisines exist, often based upon indigenous culture and foreign influences such as Chinese, European, Middle Eastern, and Indian precedents.[315] Rice is the main staple food and is served with side dishes of meat and vegetables. Spices (notably chili), coconut milk, fish and chicken are fundamental ingredients.[316]

Some popular dishes such as nasi goreng, gado-gado, sate, and soto are very common in the country and considered as national dishes. The Ministry of Tourism, however, chose tumpeng as the official national dish in 2014, describing it as binding the diversity of various culinary traditions.[314] Another popular dishes include rendang, one of the many Padang cuisines along with dendeng and gulai. In 2017, rendang was chosen as the "World's Most Delicious Food" by the CNN Travel reader's choice.[317] Another fermented food is oncom, similar in some ways to tempeh but uses a variety of bases (not only soy), created by a different fungi, and particularly popular in West Java.

Theatre and cinema

Pandava and Krishna in an act of the wayang wong performance

Wayang, the Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese shadow puppet theatre display several mythological legends such as Ramayana and Mahabharata.[318][319][320] Various Balinese dance drama can also be included within the traditional form of Indonesian drama. Another form of local drama is the Javanese Ludruk and Ketoprak, the Sundanese Sandiwara, and Betawi Lenong.[321][322] These dramas incorporate humor and jest, and often involving audiences in their performances.[323] Randai is a folk theatre tradition of the Minangkabau people of West Sumatra, usually performed for traditional ceremonies and festivals.[324][325] It incorporates music, singing, dance, drama and the silat martial art, with performances often based on semi-historical Minangkabau legends and love story.[325] Modern performing art also developed in Indonesia with their distinct style of drama. Notable theatre, dance, and drama troupe such as Teater Koma are popular in the country as it often portrays social and political satire of Indonesian society.[326]

Advertisement for Loetoeng Kasaroeng (1926), the first fiction film produced in the Dutch East Indies.

The first domestically produced film in Indonesia was Loetoeng Kasaroeng, a silent film by Dutch director L. Heuveldorp. This adaptation of the Sundanese legend was made with local actors by the NV Java Film Company in Bandung. After independence, the film industry expanded rapidly, with six films made in 1949 rising to 58 in 1955. Djamaluddin Malik's Persari Film often emulated American genre films and the working practices of the Hollywood studio system, as well as remaking popular Indian films.[327] The Sukarno government used the cinema for nationalistic, anti-Western purposes and foreign films were subsequently banned. After the overthrow of Sukarno, films during the New Order were regulated through a censorship code that aimed to maintain social order.[328] Usmar Ismail, a director from West Sumatra made a major imprint in Indonesian film in the 1950s and 1960s.[329] The film industry's popularity peaked later in the 1980s and dominated cinemas,[330] although it declined significantly in the early 1990s.[331] Films made in this period include Pintar-pintar Bodoh (1982), Maju Kena Mundur Kena (1984), Nagabonar (1987), Catatan Si Boy (1989), and Warkop's comedy films, directed by Arizal. Deddy Mizwar, Eva Arnaz, Meriam Bellina, and Rano Karno were popular actors during this period.

Independent filmmaking was a rebirth of the film industry in the post-Suharto era, where films started addressing topics that were previously banned, such as religion, race, and love.[328] Between 2000 and 2005, the number of films released each year steadily increased.[330] Riri Riza and Mira Lesmana were among the new generation of film figures who co-directed Kuldesak (1999), Petualangan Sherina (2000), Ada Apa dengan Cinta? (2002), Gie (2005), and Laskar Pelangi (2008). Quality of local films has increased in recent years, attested by the international release of films such as The Raid: Redemption,[332] Modus Anomali, Dilema, Lovely Man, and Java Heat. In 2016, Warkop DKI Reborn: Jangkrik Boss Part 1 smashed box office records, becoming the most-watched Indonesian film with 6.8 million spectators.[333] Indonesia has held annual film festivals and awards, including the Indonesian Film Festival (Festival Film Indonesia) that has been held intermittently since 1955. It hands out the Citra Award, the most prestigious award among film workers. From 1973 to 1992, the festival was held annually and then discontinued until it was later revived in 2004.


A demonstration of Pencak Silat, a form of martial arts

Sports are generally male-oriented and spectators are often associated with illegal gambling.[334] Badminton and football are the most popular sports in the country. Indonesian badminton players have won the Thomas Cup (the world team championship of men's badminton) thirteen times since it was held in 1949, as well as numerous Olympic medals since the sport gained full Olympic status in 1992. Indonesian women have won the Uber Cup, the female equivalent of the Thomas Cup, 3 times, in 1975, 1994 and 1996. Liga 1 is the country's premier football club league. On the international stage, Indonesia has experienced limited success despite being the first Asian team to qualify for the FIFA World Cup in 1938 as Dutch East Indies.[335] In 1956, the football team played in the Olympics and played a hard-fought draw against the Soviet Union. On continental level, Indonesia won the bronze medal in the 1958 Asian Games. Indonesia's first appearance in Asian Cup was in 1996, and successfully qualified for the next three tournaments in 2000, 2004 and 2007. They, however, failed to move through the next stage in all occasions.

Another popular sports include boxing and basketball, which has a long history in Indonesia and was part of the first National Games in 1948.[336] Some of the famous Indonesian boxers include Ellyas Pical, three times IBF Super flyweight champion; Nico Thomas, Muhammad Rachman, and Chris John.[337] In motorsport, Rio Haryanto became the first Indonesian to compete in Formula One in 2016.[338] Sepak takraw, and karapan sapi (bull racing) in Madura are some examples of traditional sports played in Indonesia. In areas with a history of tribal warfare, mock fighting contests are held, such as caci in Flores and pasola in Sumba. Pencak Silat is an Indonesian martial art and in 1987, became one of the sporting events in Southeast Asian Games, with Indonesia appearing as one of the leading forces. In Southeast Asia, Indonesia is one of the major sport powerhouses by winning the Southeast Asian Games 10 times since 1977, most recently in 2011.


An Indonesian TV channel at Jakarta Stadium, reporting a football match

Media freedom increased considerably after the end of President Suharto's rule, during which the now-defunct Ministry of Information monitored and controlled domestic media, and restricted foreign media.[339] The television market includes ten national commercial networks, and provincial networks that compete with public TVRI, which, for 27 years, was the only channel that Indonesians could watch. By early 21st century, the improved communications system had brought television signals to every village in the country, and most Indonesians could choose from up to 14 channels.[340][341] Private radio stations carry their own news bulletins and foreign broadcasters supply programs. The number of printed publications has increased significantly since 1998.[340] More than 30 million cell phones are sold each year, and 27% of them are local brands.[342]

Like other developing countries, Indonesia began the development of Internet in the early 1990s. Its first commercial Internet service provider, PT. Indo Internet, began operation in Jakarta in 1994.[343] With estimated users of 88 million as of 2016, Indonesia is among the largest countries by number of Internet users,[344] though Internet penetration is relatively low. The majority of Internet users are between the ages of 18 and 25, with an average Internet usage of 4.7 hours daily,[345] and depend primarily on mobile phones for access, which outnumber both laptop and personal computer users.[344]


The oldest evidence of writing in the archipelago is a series of Sanskrit inscriptions dated to the 5th century. Many of Indonesia's peoples have strongly rooted oral traditions, which help to define and preserve their cultural identities.[346] In written poetry and prose, a number of traditional forms dominate, mainly syair, pantun, gurindam, hikayat and babad. Some of these works are Syair Raja Siak, Syair Abdul Muluk, Hikayat Abdullah, Hikayat Bayan Budiman, Hikayat Hang Tuah, Sulalatus Salatin, and Babad Tanah Jawi.[347]

Early modern Indonesian literature originates in Sumatran tradition.[348] Balai Pustaka, the government bureau for popular literature, was instituted around 1920 to promote the development of indigenous literature, it adopted Malay as the preferred common medium for Indonesia. Important figures in modern Indonesian literature include: Dutch author Multatuli, who criticised treatment of the Indonesians under Dutch colonial rule; Sumatrans Mohammad Yamin and Hamka, who were influential pre-independence nationalist writers and politicians;[349] and proletarian writer Pramoedya Ananta Toer, Indonesia's most famous novelist.[350][351] Pramoedya earned several accolades, and was often discussed as Indonesia's and Southeast Asia's best candidate for a Nobel Prize in Literature.[352]

Literature and poetry flourished even more in the first half of the 20th century. Chairil Anwar was considered as the greatest literary figure of Indonesia by American poet and translator, Burton Raffel.[353] He was among those youngsters who pioneered in changing the traditional Indonesian literature and modifying it on the lines of the newly independent country. Some of his popular poems include Krawang-Bekasi, Diponegoro and Aku. Other major authors include Marah Roesli (Sitti Nurbaya), Merari Siregar (Azab dan Sengsara), Abdul Muis (Salah Asuhan), Djamaluddin Adinegoro (Darah Muda), Sutan Takdir Alisjahbana (Layar Terkembang), and Amir Hamzah (Nyanyi Sunyi) whose works are among the most well known in Maritime Southeast Asia.[354]

Public holidays

There are around 13 to 17 national holidays every year in Indonesia. The government sometimes declares a collective leave known as cuti bersama, usually on a Monday or Friday between national holidays to create a long weekend. Four types of holidays exist in the country: religious, national, international and commemorative. These dates are known locally as tanggal merah (literally, "red date"), so called because they are marked red on calendars. Many of the dates of religious holidays vary from year to year, as they are based on different calendars. For example, the Muslim holidays are based on the Islamic calendar. Others, such as the Christian Easter, Chinese New Year and the Buddhist Waisak are based on lunar calculations.[355]

Buddhist Waisak ceremony at Borobudur temple, Central Java
Date English name Indonesian name Type
1 January New Year's Day Tahun Baru Masehi International
January–February Chinese New Year Tahun Baru Imlek International
March / Kasa 1 Pawukon 40 Day of Silence (Balinese New Year) Hari Raya Nyepi (Tahun Baru Saka) Religious
March–April Good Friday Wafat Yesus Kristus (Jumat Agung) Religious
1 May Labor Day Hari Buruh Internasional International
May–June Ascension of Jesus Christ Kenaikan Yesus Kristus Religious
Rajab 27 Ascension of the Prophet Isra Mi'raj Nabi Muhammad Religious
May / every May of Vaisakha Buddha's Birthday Hari Raya Waisak Religious
1 June Pancasila Day Hari Lahir Pancasila Commemorative
Shawwal 1–2 Eid al-Fitr Hari Raya Idul Fitri Religious
17 August Independence Day Hari Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia National
Dhu al-Hijjah 10 Feast of the Sacrifice Hari Raya Idul Adha Religious
Muharram 1 Islamic New Year Tahun Baru Hijriyah Religious
Rabi' al-awwal 12 Birth of the Prophet Maulid Nabi Muhammad Religious
25 December Christmas Hari Raya Natal Religious

See also


  1. ^ a b Temporarily withdrew on 20 January 1965.
  2. ^ Small but significant populations of ethnic Chinese, Indians, Europeans and Arabs are concentrated mostly in urban areas.


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Works cited

  • Earl, George SW (1850). "On The Leading Characteristics of the Papuan, Australian and Malay-Polynesian Nations". Journal of the Indian Archipelago and Eastern Asia (JIAEA). 
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  • Ricklefs, M. C. (1991). A History of Modern Indonesia since c.1300 (Second ed.). MacMillan. ISBN 0-333-57689-6. 
  • Schwarz, A. (1994). A Nation in Waiting: Indonesia in the 1990s. Westview Press. ISBN 1-86373-635-2. 
  • Taylor, Jean Gelman (2003). Indonesia: Peoples and Histories. New Haven and London: Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-10518-5. 
  • Vickers, Adrian (2005). A History of Modern Indonesia. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-54262-6. 
  • Witton, Patrick (2003). Indonesia. Melbourne: Lonely Planet. pp. 139, 181, 251, 435. ISBN 1-74059-154-2. 

External links


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