Indonesia Independence Day (August 17)- History, Wishes, Timeline, Facts, Celebration and FAQs

Updated October 11, 2022

Indonesia Independence Day is celebrated on August 17 every year. This day marks the declaration of independence from the Netherlands in 1945. The day was traditionally referred to as “Hari Ulang Tahun Kemerdekaan Republik Indonesia,” or just “Hari Kemerdekaan”.

In 1946, the government declared it a national holiday. Local peoples often called it “Tujuhbelasan,” which means “the Seventeenth”. Four more years of conflict followed the announcement before their independence was formally acknowledged.

Indonesian people start the preparation 2-3 weeks before the 17th of August. Visiting Indonesia in the month of August can be one of the best times to witness its beauty. Indonesia is awash in patriotic and cultural parades, red-and-white artwork, and street decorations during this month.

The city administration spends a lot of money to create a special series of red and white lighted decorations for main thoroughfares, housing complexes repaint their main gate decorated with independence themes.  

Red and white bunting are draped around the fences of the presidential palace and various government buildings. Malls are decorated in red and white and hold Independence Day sales. The words Dirgahayu RI (Long live Indonesia!) are written all over the town, which now has a red and white color scheme.

Social scientists, political analysts, and people with opinions publish “Insights” in newspapers and magazines about the nation’s achievements thus far and its challenges going forward.

Neighborhood associations often plan unique events for the area’s children and may ask residents for donations to help fund the kids’ contests, games, and prizes. Schools hold competitions to see which class can decorate their classroom in the most patriotic fashion in addition to setting up games and races between classes.

History of Indonesia Independence Day

After more than 300 years of colonial control by the Dutch, Indonesia finally gained independence on August 17, 1945, thanks to a group of nationalists. It was not an easy battle to win Indonesia’s freedom and liberation. Before Queen Juliana of the Netherlands legally recognized Indonesia’s independence, it required four long years of protest and negotiation.

Every Indonesian must hoist the national flag on Independence Day in front of their residences, places of business, educational institutions, and other public buildings, as required by the nation’s constitution. To commemorate Indonesia Independence Day, locals in Indonesia also decorate the streets and alleys with banners and “Umbul-umbul” (red and white pennant flags).

On August 17, at seven in the morning local time, ceremonies are held in each of the cities and regencies of Indonesia to hoist the national flag. On this day, All the Indonesian national television stations broadcast the National Independence Day Ceremony live from the presidential palace in Jakarta.

The Indonesian national orchestra then performs an orchestral and musical performance of nationalistic and traditional songs before a military procession. Around five o’clock local time, there is also a ceremony to lower the flag.

Indonesians commemorate Independence Day with events like bazaars, singing competitions, music shows, cooking competitions, and cultural performances.

Indonesia Independence Day Timeline

5000 B.C.- In the Beginning– People of Austronesian ancestry migrate from the Philippines to Indonesia.
1945– Indonesia is Free
1949– Under pressure from the UN, the Netherlands recognizes Indonesia’s independence.
2010– A Growing Economy
2019– First Simultaneous Presidential and Legislative Elections

How to Celebrate Indonesia Independence Day

  • You can celebrate this special day by watching live broadcasts featuring flag hoisting, gun salute, marching bands, prayers, and other side attractions.
  • If you ever find yourself in Indonesia around this national holiday, you may join in the fun by seeing the vibrant cultural parades, regional dances, and marching bands. You can also sample some of the regional foods to treat your taste buds to something healthy and fresh.
  • On this special occasion, you can support the events such as picnics and games for the local people and their families.

Translation of Some Indonesian Words

RT – Neighborhood head, neighborhood unit – Rukun Tetangga
Krupuk – Shrimp chips
Dirgahayu RI – Long live Indonesia!
Kerja bakti – Volunteer work conducted for the good of the community
Nasi tumpeng – Cone of yellow rice, with various dishes, served at ceremonies
Monas – Area surrounding Monumen Nasional (National Monument), called “Monas” or Merdeka Square.
Panjat Pinang – Game commonly held on Indonesian Independence Day

Some Interesting Facts About Indonesia

  1. The largest gold reserve and second-largest copper reserve in the world are found at the Grasberg mine in West Papua, Indonesia.
  2. Indonesia is the largest archipelago in the world with approximately 17,000 islands.
  3. Indonesia is the Home to the world’s largest (and smelliest) flower.
  4. More than 700 different languages and dialects are spoken throughout the Indonesian archipelago.
  5. The Indonesian flag is somewhat broader and uses a different shade of red than Monaco’s flag, which is the only distinction between the two.
  6. With over 140 million inhabitants, Java is the most populated island in the world. With about 240 million inhabitants, Indonesia has the fourth-largest population in the world.
  7. There are almost 400 volcanos in Indonesia, 127 of which are currently active.
  8. Indonesia has the world’s biggest ‘young’ population
  9. Indonesia is home to over 100 endangered animals
  10. Indonesia is made up of 17,504 islands
  11. Home to the tallest island peak on earth
  12. Home to the biggest Buddhist temple in the world
  13. Its capital is the most Instagrammed in Asia
  14. More than 50% of the country is covered by forests.
  15. Almost 17% of the population of Indonesia uses the internet.
  16. Indonesia has the largest economy in Southeast Asia.
  17. The Garuda (mythical bird) is the national bird of Indonesia.
  18. The term “Indonesia” was first used by the British anthropologist J. R. Logan in 1850.

Themes of Indonesia Independence Day

Year                       Theme                 
2015- Let’s Work
2016- Real Work
2017- Working Together
2018- Our Work, Achievement of the Nation
2019- Superior Human Resources, an Advanced Indonesia formerly Towards a Superior Indonesia
2020- Indonesia Advances
2021- Tough Indonesia, Growing Indonesia
2022- Recover Faster, Rise Stronger

Most Frequently Asked Questions

Q. When is Indonesia Independence Day?

Ans: Every year on August 17.

Q. Why is Indonesian Independence Day Celebrated?

Ans: It was a historic day when Indonesia attained independence from long-term foreign colonial rule. This day commemorates Indonesia’s declaration of independence from the Netherlands in 1945.

Q. Which Games are Played on Indonesia Independence Day?

Ans: Panjat Pinang, Balap Karung, Makan Kerupuk, Balap Bakiak, Balap Kelereng, etc

Q. Who First Came to Indonesia?

Ans: Austronesian people first came to Indonesia.

Q. What was the original name of Indonesia?

Ans: Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East Indies).

Indonesia Independence Day Dates

Year       Date                     Day
2022       August 17            Wednesday
2023       August 17            Thursday
2024       August 17            Saturday
2025       August 17            Sunday
2026       August 17            Monday

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