Indonesia’s most important political site is also home to an assortment of stunning artwork and architecture.
Take a trip to the Presidential Palace and witness the place where Indonesia declared its independence from the Netherlands. Learn about the lives of the Indonesian presidents who have lived here and explore the rooms they would have inhabited. Be sure to admire the tall white columns and intricate façade of a superb example of neoclassical architecture.
The palace was built in 1879 and was home to Dutch governor-generals for many years. After Indonesia gained independence in 1949 it was renamed Istana Merdeka (Freedom Palace) and went on to house the country’s first president. While succeeding presidents have resided in the palace only briefly, it remains the site of official state meetings.
Take the short tour of the palace’s perimeter to appreciate the grand façades. Detailed information from local guides will give you the chance to learn about the building’s rich history.
Inside, explore rooms that once housed some of the nation’s most influential people. Be amazed by the presidential room and the collection of fine artwork inside. Among the highlights are examples of traditional Balinese wood carving and two huge Czechoslovakian chandeliers. Other rooms of interest include the reception hall, where state banquets were held, and the former room of the first lady. Take a stroll around the pretty gardens and see an array of sculptures as well as a collection of cacti.
If you visit Jakarta during August, don’t miss the highlight of the Presidential Palace’s year. The 17th day of the month is Independence Day and a huge Indonesian flag is raised to the top of the 55-foot (17-meter) flagpole to mark the occasion.
The palace is open to the public on weekends and entry is free. Expect a long wait of up to several hours and strict security at the entrance. Formal clothing is necessary and sandals will not be accepted. Located close to the National Monument, the palace is a short walk from a major city Busway terminal.