Merdeka Square: Indonesia’s Independence

With the growth of the city, the Dutch expanded Batavia further south to present-day Merdeka Square – then called Koningsplein around which today stand the Merdeka Palace,the Supreme Court of Justice,the National Museum and many important government offices including the office of the Governor of Jakarta as well as the American Embassy. 

In the center of the Merdeka Square now stands the National Monument, an obelisk-shaped needle on a large platform, dedicated to the historic Struggle for Independence of the Indonesian people. Below is the museum of the History of Indonesia’s Independence.

The actual site where the historic Proclamation of Independence took place on the 17th August 1945 is on Jalan Proklamasi in the Menteng area. Here stands a statue of the Declarators of Independence, Soekarno and Hatta. On this site once stood the residence of Soekarno, Indonesia’s first President, but which has been razed and now stands a five storeyed building once dedicated to the Grand Development Design of the Republic of Indonesia.



Historic Places Around Merdeka Square

The National Monument

The National Monument stands proudly in the center of the 1 square kilometer Merdeka Square, symbolizing the hard-fought struggle of the Indonesian people to gain their Independence.

Obelisk-shaped and covered in white Italian marble with a golden fire on the top, the Monument is 132 meters tall and stands on a platform which houses a museum and diorama encapsulating the history of the Republic of Indonesia.

The golden flame is 14 meters high with a 6 meter diameter. Made of bronze weighing 14.5 tons, it is covered with 50 kg of pure gold leaf. Its base is a platform at a height of 115 meters, which can be reached by elevator and is a perfect look-out place to see the Jakarta skyline.

The Monument is surrounded by a green park where spotted deer can be seen grazing. There is also a musical fountain that plays each Sunday night.

On Sundays, the area becomes an open park where Jakarta’s inhabitants are free to bike, jog and play games.

The Monument is often used for Festivals including New Year’s Eve celebrations.

The National Monument was designed and built in 1961 by Indonesian architects and engineers Soedarsono, Silaban and Roosseno.

On the North side facing the Merdeka or Freedom Square stands the Merdeka Palace with adjoining Presidential Offices and State Secretariat buildings. Behind the Merdeka Palace but still within one complex is the Negara Palace (State Palace) which faces the other side towards the Ciliwung river along Jalan Juanda. In addition to a building for special guests, and Highlight of a visit to the Museum is the Gold and Jewelry room where are found precious crowns, ornaments, keris and jewelry once worn by royalty and the aristocracies around the archipelago. The National Museum has recently been expanded to make room for better displays. 

The Office of the Governor of Jakarta is situated on the South side of the Merdeka Square, at Jalan Medan Merdeka Selatan No. 9, adjacent to the Office of the Vice-President and the American Embassy.

In 1905 the Batavia Municipal office was located in the Stadhuis, the present Jakarta Museum at the Fatahillah Square. However, in 1919 the office was moved to the building which has now become the office of the Governor of Jakarta. In 1982 a highrise building was constructed right behind the Governor’s office facing Jalan Kebon Sirih, which houses the Jakarta’s Provincial Parliament. The Jakarta Governor’s office andthe Jakarta Provincial Parliament building are therefore adjoining.