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Top Category About Indonesia 

Comprehensive information on Indonesia's economy, culture and social issies. Providing links to information, directories, public sector and organizations.

Economy In Indonesia
General Information About Indonesia
German - Indonesian Relations

General Information About Indonesia


Introduction – Indonesia
Some may be surprised to find that to an increasing degree the shoes, clothes, and electronic and other equipment they purchase in European stores have originated in Indonesia. Few people are aware of its size, the physical beauty of its towering volcanoes and terraced rice fields, its long and colorful history, the incredible diversity of its peoples, and the richness of its many cultures. Not many know of its increasing significance as an emerging economic "tiger," as a very important source of biodiversity, and as one of three major areas of invaluable tropical rainforests in the world.

The Dutch began to colonize Indonesia in the early 17th century; the islands were occupied by Japan from 1942 to 1945. Indonesia declared its independence after Japan's surrender, but it required four years of intermittent negotiations, recurring hostilities, and UN mediation before the Netherlands agreed to relinquish its colony.

Indonesia is the world's largest archipelagic state with over 17,508 islands stretching more than 5,000 kilometers from west to east (and including three of the world’s six largest islands—New Guinea (whose western half is the Indonesian province of Irian Jaya), Borneo (where the southern two-thirds belonging to Indonesia is known as Kalimantan), and Sumatra. Indonesia is one of the most seismically active regions of the world, containing numerous active volcanoes and subject to frequent earthquakes and associated tsunamis. Indonesia was the nation worst hit by the December 2004 tsunami, which particularly affected Aceh province causing over 100,000 deaths and over $4 billion in damage. An additional earthquake in March 2005 created heavy destruction on the island of Nias. Reconstruction in these areas may take up to a decade. In 2005, Indonesia reached a historic peace agreement with armed separatists in Aceh, but it continues to face a low intensity separatist guerilla movement in Papua. Indonesia’s current issues include: alleviating poverty, preventing terrorism, consolidating democracy after four decades of authoritarianism, implementing financial sector reforms, stemming corruption, and holding the military and police accountable for human rights violations.

Indonesia has the largest extent of mangroves, and the world’s longest snake, smallest primate (the tarsier at just ten cm long), and largest flower—the rafflesia, which has blooms growing up to one meter in diameter. It is the world’s largest producer of plywood, cloves, and nutmeg, and also of liquified natural gas.
Indonesia is home to the world's largest Muslim population. Yet it contains the largest Buddhist stupa (which is also the largest structure in the entire southern hemisphere), an heirloom of its diverse past. It has the largest city in the southern hemisphere—Jakarta, with a population of more than nine million. With such a multiplicity of ethnic groups, Indonesia has a surfeit of cultural events throughout the year. On Sumba, mock battles that hark back to the era of internecine warfare are held in February and March. The day before Balinese Caka New Year (March-April) temple icons are taken to the sea to be bathed and drummers’ drive evil spirits back to the spirit world. During the Balinese festival of Galungan (moving dates) even the gods descend to earth and join in the revelry. There's a dramatic Easter Parade on the island of Larantuka, whip duels in Ruteng, Flores in August and Torajan funereal feasts in central Sulawesi, held mainly between August and October. As most Indonesians are Muslim, many festivals are affected by the lunar calendar; dates are subsequently 10 or 11 days earlier each year.

Its national language, Bahasa Indonesia, is one of the easiest languages in the world to learn. It is a language with consistent phonetic pronunciation and no tenses or cases, and, unlike Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, etc., it is written in the Roman alphabet.

The principal gateways for entry to Indonesia are Jakarta and Bali. Jakarta is serviced by more airlines but Bali - as the tourist capital - receives almost as much traffic.


Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: Unity in Diversity!!




245,452,739 (July 2006 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 28.8% (male 35,995,919/female 34,749,582)
15-64 years: 65.8% (male 80,796,794/female 80,754,238)
65 years and over: 5.4% (male 5,737,473/female 7,418,733) (2006 est.)

Median age:
Total: 26.8 years
Male: 26.4 years
Female: 27.3 years (2006 est.)

Population growth rate:
1.41% (2006 est.)

Birth rate:
20.34 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Death rate:
6.25 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Net migration rate:
0 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)

Sex ratio:
At birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 1 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.77 male(s)/female
Total population: 1 male(s)/female (2006 est.)

Infant mortality rate:

Total: 34.39 deaths/1,000 live births
Male: 39.36 deaths/1,000 live births
Female: 29.17 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
Total population: 69.87 years
Male: 67.42 years
Female: 72.45 years (2006 est.)

 Total fertility rate:
2.4 children born/woman (2006 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
0.1% (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
110,000 (2003 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
2,400 (2003 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
Food or waterborne diseases: bacterial and protozoal diarrhea, hepatitis A and E, and typhoid fever
vectorborne diseases: dengue fever, malaria, and chikungunya
Note: at present, H5N1 avian influenza poses a minimal risk; during outbreaks among birds, rare cases could occur for persons who have close contact with infected birds or poultry (2005)

Noun: Indonesian(s)
Adjective: Indonesian

Ethnic groups:
Javanese 45%, Sundanese 14%, Madurese 7.5%, coastal Malays 7.5%, other 26%

Muslim 88%, Protestant 5%, Roman Catholic 3%, Hindu 2%, Buddhist 1%, other 1% (1998)

Bahasa Indonesia (official, modified form of Malay), English, Dutch, local dialects, the most widely spoken of which is Javanese

Definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 87.9%
Male: 92.5%
Female: 83.4% (2002 est.)

The Indonesian archipelago comprises more than 17,000 islands - 6000 of which are inhabited - and shares borders with Malaysia and Papua New Guinea. Stretching like a backbone down the western coast of Sumatra is a line of active and extinct volcanoes. These continue through Java, Bali, Nusa Tenggara, and then loop through the Banda Islands of Maluku to northeastern Sulawesi.
Indonesia's constellation of islands straddles the divide between the Asian and Australian continental plates. As a result, the islands offer a stunning variety of topographies and ecologies Mist-shrouded volcanoes and mountains, unexplored rain forests, thousands of miles of beaches, and endless offshore reefs support a dazzling abundance of wildlife, making Indonesia an ideal destination for adventure and eco-travel. The floating emerald islands of the Indonesian archipelago have for centuries lured everyone from missionaries to pirates, mining companies and backpackers to their sandalwood and spice breezes, their Bali Hai lifestyle and their magnificent beaches, mountains and volcanoes.


The great majority of the country's constituent islands are of negligible size, but it does hold--wholly or in part--several islands that are enormous. These include Sumatra, Kalimantan (formerly Borneo, and shared with Malaysia), Sulawesi, and Java. The Indonesian state of Irian Jaya occupies the western half of New Guinea, which is the world's second largest island (behind Greenland). The most populous of the Indonesian islands by far is Java, home to the sprawling capital city of Jakarta. Other notable islands include the exotic, popular resort island of Bali, Lombok, Catholic Flores, and Komodo, home of dragons.
Less than 10% of the total land area is suitable for farming, while two-thirds consists of woodland, forests and mangrove swamp (mostly found in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi and Papua).

There are two discernible seasons in Indonesia: the dry season, which extends from June to October, and the rainy season, which lasts from November to March. Indonesia’s climate is hot and humid. It averages about 80 degrees F. The dry and wet seasons are based on rainfall. The December to March winds called monsoons bring heavy rains to Indonesia. The summer monsoon brings dry weather.

Geographical data:

Southeastern Asia, archipelago between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean

Geographic coordinates:
5 00 S, 120 00 E

Map references:
Southeast Asia

Total :   1,919,440 sq km
Land :   1,826,440 sq km
 Water :       93,000  sq km

Area - comparative:
Slightly less than three times the size of Texas

Land boundaries:
Total: 2,830 km
Border countries:
 East Timor 228 km, Malaysia 1,782 km, Papua New Guinea 820 km

54,716 km

Maritime claims:
Measured from claimed archipelagic straight baselines
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm 

Tropical; hot, humid; more moderate in highlands

Mostly coastal lowlands; larger islands have interior mountains

Elevation extremes:
Lowest point: Indian Ocean 0 m
Highest point: Puncak Jaya 5,030 m

Natural resources:
Petroleum, tin, natural gas, nickel, timber, bauxite, copper, fertile soils, coal, gold, silver

Land use:
Arable land: 11.03%
Permanent crops: 7.04%
Other: 81.93% (2005)

Irrigated land:
45,000 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards:
Occasional floods, severe droughts, tsunamis, earthquakes, volcanoes, forest fires

Environment - current issues:
Deforestation; water pollution from industrial wastes, sewage; air pollution in urban areas; smoke and haze from forest fires

Environment - international agreements:
Party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Tropical Timber 83, Tropical Timber 94, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: Marine Life Conservation

Geography - note:
Archipelago of 17,508 islands (6,000 inhabited); straddles equator; strategic location astride or along major sea lanes from Indian Ocean to Pacific Ocean


Country name:
Conventional long form: Republic of Indonesia
conventional short form: Indonesia
local long form: Republik Indonesia
local short form: Indonesia
former: Netherlands East Indies; Dutch East Indies

Government type:


Administrative divisions:
30 provinces (propinsi-propinsi, singular - propinsi), 2 special regions* (daerah-daerah istimewa, singular - daerah istimewa), and 1 special capital city district** (daerah khusus ibukota); Aceh*, Bali, Banten, Bengkulu, Gorontalo, Irian Jaya Barat, Jakarta Raya**, Jambi, Jawa Barat, Jawa Tengah, Jawa Timur, Kalimantan Barat, Kalimantan Selatan, Kalimantan Tengah, Kalimantan Timur, Kepulauan Bangka Belitung, Kepulauan Riau, Lampung, Maluku, Maluku Utara, Nusa Tenggara Barat, Nusa Tenggara Timur, Papua, Riau, Sulawesi Barat, Sulawesi Selatan, Sulawesi Tengah, Sulawesi Tenggara, Sulawesi Utara, Sumatera Barat, Sumatera Selatan, Sumatera Utara, Yogyakarta*
note: following the implementation of decentralization beginning on 1 January 2001, the 440 districts or regencies have become the key administrative units responsible for providing most government services

17 August 1945 (independence proclaimed); 27 December 1949 (Netherlands recognizes Indonesian independence)

National holiday:
Independence Day, 17 August (1945)

August 1945; abrogated by Federal Constitution of 1949 and Provisional Constitution of 1950, restored 5 July 1959; series of amendments concluded in 2002

Legal system:
Based on Roman-Dutch law, substantially modified by indigenous concepts and by new criminal procedures and election codes; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction

17 years of age; universal and married persons regardless of age

Executive branch:
Chief of state: President Susilo Bambang YUDHOYONO (since 20 October 2004) and Vice President Muhammad Yusuf KALLA (since 20 October 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
head of government: President Susilo Bambang YUDHOYONO (since 20 October 2004) and Vice President Muhammad Yusuf KALLA (since 20 October 2004); note - the president is both the chief of state and head of government
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president
elections: president and vice president were elected for five-year terms by direct vote of the citizenry; last held 20 September 2004 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: Susilo Bambang YUDHOYONO elected president receiving 60.6% of vote; MEGAWATI Sukarnoputri received 39.4% 

Legislative branch:
House of Representatives or Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat (DPR) (550 seats; members elected to serve five-year terms); House of Regional Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Daerah or DPD), constitutionally mandated role includes providing legislative input to DPR on issues affecting regions; People's Consultative Assembly (Majelis Permusyawaratan Rakyat or MPR) has role in inaugurating and impeaching president and in amending constitution; consists of popularly-elected members in DPR and DPD; MPR does not formulate national policy
elections: last held 5 April 2004 (next to be held in 2009)
election results: percent of vote by party - Golkar 21.6%, PDI-P 18.5%, PKB 10.6%, PPP 8.2%, PD 7.5%, PKS 7.3%, PAN 6.4%, others 19.9%; seats by party - Golkar 128, PDI-P 109, PPP 58, PD 55, PAN 53, PKB 52, PKS 45, others 50
Note: because of election rules, the number of seats won does not always follow the percentage of votes received by parties

Judicial branch:
Supreme Court or Mahkamah Agung (justices appointed by the president from a list of candidates approved by the legislature); a separate Constitutional Court or Mahkamah Konstitusi was invested by the president on 16 August 2003; in March 2004 the Supreme Court assumed administrative and financial responsibility for the lower court system from the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights; Labor Court under supervision of Supreme Court began functioning in January 2006

 Political parties and leaders:
Crescent Moon and Star Party or PBB [Yusril Ihza MAHENDRA]; Democratic Party or PD [Subur BUDHISANTOSO]; Functional Groups Party or Golkar [Yusuf KALLA]; Indonesia Democratic Party-Struggle or PDI-P [MEGAWATI Sukarnoputri]; National Awakening Party or PKB [Alwi SHIHAB]; National Mandate Party or PAN [Sutrisno BACHIR]; Prosperous Justice Party or PKS [Tifatul SEMBIRING]; United Development Party or PPP [Hamzah HAZ]

Political pressure groups and leaders:

International organization participation:

Flag description:
two equal horizontal bands of red (top) and white; similar to the flag of Monaco, which is shorter; also similar to the flag of Poland, which is white (top) and red


Telephones - main lines in use:
9.99 million (2004)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
30 million (2004)

Telephone system:
general assessment: domestic service fair, international service good
domestic: interisland microwave system and HF radio police net; domestic satellite communications system
international: country code - 62; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (1 Indian Ocean and 1 Pacific Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 678, FM 43, shortwave 82 (1998)

Television broadcast stations:
54 local TV stations
note: 11 national TV networks; each with their own group of local, often low power, transmitters (2006)

Internet country code:

Internet hosts:
134,735 (2005)

Internet users:
18 million (2005)


668 (2005)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 161
over 3,047 m: 4
2,438 to 3,047 m: 15
1,524 to 2,437 m: 48
914 to 1,523 m: 51
under 914 m: 43 (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 507
1,524 to 2,437 m: 6
914 to 1,523 m: 26
under 914 m: 475 (2005)

23 (2005)

condensate 850 km; condensate/gas 128 km; gas 8,506 km; oil 7,472 km; oil/gas/water 66 km; refined products 1,329 km (2004)

total: 6,458 km
narrow gauge: 5,961 km 1.067-m gauge (125 km electrified); 497 km 0.750-m gauge (2004)

total: 368,360 km
paved: 213,649 km
unpaved: 154,711 km (2002)

21,579 km (2005)

Merchant marine:
total: 750 ships (1000 GRT or over) 3,431,605 GRT/4,598,038 DWT
by type: barge carrier 1, bulk carrier 38, cargo 422, chemical tanker 18, container 41, liquefied gas 6, livestock carrier 1, passenger 40, passenger/cargo 37, petroleum tanker 126, refrigerated cargo 2, roll on/roll off 13, specialized tanker 3, vehicle carrier 2
foreign-owned: 25 (France 1, Japan 4, South Korea 1, Philippines 1, Singapore 14, Switzerland 2, UK 2)
registered in other countries: 117 (The Bahamas 2, Belize 2, Bermuda 1, Cambodia 1, Denmark 1, Georgia 1, Honduras 1, Hong Kong 3, Liberia 1, Malta 1, Panama 50, Singapore 49, Thailand 1, unknown 3) (2005)

Ports and terminals:
Banjarmasin, Belawan, Ciwandan, Krueg Geukueh, Palembang, Panjang, Sungai Pakning, Tanjung Perak, Tanjung Priok


Military branches:
Indonesia Armed Forces (Tentara Nasional Indonesia, TNI): Army (TNI-AD), Navy (TNI-AL, includes Marines, naval air arm), Air Force (TNI-AU)
note: The TNI is directly subordinate to the president but the government is making efforts to incorporate it into the Department of Defense

Military service age and obligation:
18 years of age for compulsory and voluntary military service; conscript service obligation - two years (2002)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 18-49: 60,543,028
females age 18-49: 59,981,730 (2005 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 18-49: 48,687,234
females age 18-49: 50,252,911 (2005 est.)

Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 2,201,047
females age 18-49: 2,139,573 (2005 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure:
$1.3 billion (2004)

Military expenditures - percent of GDP:
3% (2004)

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international:
East Timor-Indonesia Boundary Committee continues to meet, survey, and delimit land boundary, but several sections of the boundary remain unresolved; many East Timorese refugees who left in 2003 still reside in Indonesia and refuse repatriation; Indonesia and East Timor contest the sovereignty of the uninhabited coral island of Pulau Batek/Fatu Sinai, which hinders a decision on a northern maritime boundary; a 1997 treaty between Indonesia and Australia settled some parts of their maritime boundary but outstanding issues remain; ICJ's award of Sipadan and Ligitan islands to Malaysia in 2002 left maritime boundary in the hydrocarbon-rich Celebes Sea in dispute, culminating in hostile confrontations in March 2005 over concessions to the Ambalat oil block; the ICJ decision has prompted Indonesia to assert claims to and to establish a presence on its smaller outer islands; Indonesia and Singapore pledged in 2005 to finalize their 1973 maritime boundary agreement by defining unresolved areas north of Batam Island; Indonesian secessionists, squatters, and illegal migrants create repatriation problems for Papua New Guinea; piracy remains a problem in the Malacca Strait

Refugees and internally displaced persons:
IDPs: 570,000 (resulting from 26 December 2004 tsunami) 500,000 (government offensives against rebels in Aceh; most IDPs in Aceh, Central Kalimantan, Maluku, and Central Sulawesi Provinces); (2005)

Illicit drugs:
Illicit producer of cannabis largely for domestic use; producer of methamphetamine and ecstasy

We make no copyright claim on any statistical data on this page, nor on any non-original graphics, and/or pictures not produced by us. Certain statistical data is gathered from the CIA World Factbook, as well as numerous public domain reference materials.

Category: Indonesia
Title: Ethnic and cultural about Indonesia


Ethnic and cultural

In many parts of the world there is a growing appreciation of historical treasures and the cultural heritage of places. Indonesia is a treasure-trove for historians, anthropologists, and ordinary people interested in Indonesia’s unique history and diversity, its music, dance, theater, handicrafts, and other cultural traditions.
Over 350 different ethnic groups live in Indonesia, each with its own cultural heritage, language or dialect, cultural traditions, and customs. Important cultural influences have come from overseas—Hinduism and Buddhism from India, Islam from Southwest Asia through India, and Christianity via Europe. Hinduism was brought to Indonesia by Indian traders and Buddhism by Chinese migrants; Bali remains over 95 percent Hindu, and part of Lombok is predominantly Hindu as well. Hindu influences can also be seen in the development of adat or traditional practices. Impressive old Hindu temples exist in many places in Java (especially at Prambanan and on the Dieng Plateau in central Java) but also in Sumatra and on other islands. Modern, functioning Buddhist temples exist in many cities and are frequented by many of the over three million descendants of Chinese immigrants.

However, it is Islam that claims the loyalty of most Indonesians (88 percent). Yet even here there is considerable diversity—from the very conservative, as in Aceh in the far northwest of the country, to a more syncretic form of Islam in Java, where the precepts of Islam are interwoven with traditional, pre-Islamic beliefs. In West Sumatra, the traditional matrilineal society of the Minangkabau somehow coexists with a patriarchal Islam. The recent worldwide Islamic religious revival has focused considerable attention on Indonesia as the country with the largest number of Muslims in the world. Indonesia has many types of beautiful mosques.

Yet in four provinces, Christians form the majority of the population—East Timor, East Nusa Tenggara, Irian Jaya, and North Sulawesi; and Christians comprise more than one-third of the population in Maluku, North Sumatra, and West Kalimantan as well.
Each ethnic group has its own particular culture, its own musical instruments and songs, its own style of dancing and other cultural traditions, and its own history, folklore, and sense of ethnic identity and pride. The diversity can be seen in the very different and fascinating types of traditional housing, from the multigabled Minang houses of West Sumatra and the boat-shaped houses of Nias off the North Sumatran coast, to the houses built on stilts in several parts of the country or on rafts on the Musi River in South Sumatra, the unique longhouses of the Dayaks in Kalimantan, and the almost African-looking circular thatched windowless homes or loppo of the West Timorese. Each region has its different traditional dress and fabrics, its own style of weaving, its own form of decorations, jewelry, and ornamentation, its preferred sports, culinary delights, musical instruments, languages and dialects, and traditional handicrafts (including wood carving, jewelry making, batik design, and leather working). Yet all are drawn together into one nation-state whose motto is Bhinneka Tunggal Ika: unity in diversity.

Indonesia is fascinating, too, because it spans the entire continuum of development. Airplane manufacturers and computer programmers work in cities like Bandung and Jakarta, while traditional hunters, farmers, and fishers in some of the more remote parts of the islands continue a lifestyle that has remained basically unchanged for millennia—in places almost completely untouched by the outside world. Thus, one can find ultramodern factories producing goods ranging from shoes to such sophisticated items as computers, helicopters, and telecommunication products. At the same time, one can also find traditional industries using blindfolded water buffalo walking around in circles squeezing out juice from sugar cane which is then boiled to make brown sugar; using fast-flowing stream water to turn water wheels to husk rice and grind cinnamon; and using human labor to run traditional backstrap and fixed looms to produce exquisite fabrics. Batik and tie-dye techniques are also used in different ways to create beautiful cloth. Indonesia thus combines both the exotic and the contemporary, the traditional and the modern.

Indonesia has a number of interesting unequal distribution patterns. One of the most obvious is its very uneven population distribution whereby 62 percent of the population lives on just 7 percent of the country’s territory—the islands of Java, Madura, and Bali. Not only is population density far greater there than anywhere else in Indonesia, but these islands are also the most developed in terms of industry and infrastructure. They contain the most fertile areas and are also the most highly urbanized. These inequalities led in times past to the characterization of Java as the core of Indonesia in contrast to the periphery of the Outer Islands. Such a designation has been modified in some respects by a newer paradigm of development which emphasizes the differences between more developed western Indonesia and the less developed eastern part of the country.

We make no copyright claim on any statistical data on this page, nor on any non-original graphics, and/or pictures not produced by us. Certain statistical data is gathered from the CIA World Factbook , as well as numerous public domain reference materials.