It was on the 17th August 1945 at 10 AM, the Proclamation text was read by Indonesia’s first president Soekarno to an exuberant and captivated crowd. Four years later, it was in this very building that Indonesia was finally recognized as an Independent State from the Netherlands, after an agreement was signed between Sultan Hamengku Buwono IX for Indonesia and a representative for the Dutch Crown.
To commemorate this monumental time in Indonesian history, the Merdeka palace celebrates Indonesia’s Independence Day every year on the 17th of August. A prestigious flag raising ceremony is held on the building's front steps and is strictly attended by state and foreign dignitaries.
Today, the Merdeka palace is used for official state events as well as a place of residence for the President of Indonesia.
Situated in the same complex as the Merdeka Palace and surrounded by charming gardens reminiscent of those in Europe, is the Istana Negara (State Palace). This building was the original palace, erected in 1796 during the reign of Governor-General Pieter Gerardus von Overstraten. At the time, the palace functioned as an administrative and residential compound for Dutch Governor-Generals. At present day, the palace is mainly used for state banquets.
Typical of colonial Dutch architecture, both palaces have front porticos supported by beautifully crafted Corinthian and Doric pillars. Inside the establishments, there are elegant sitting rooms, reception halls and impressively curated Indonesian artworks representative of the plight for freedom fought by the Indonesian people.
Prominent sites of Indonesian history and a tribute to impeccable neo-classical Dutch architecture, these establishments are definitely not to miss.
Tours inside the Merdeka Palace are available to public on specified weekends but have to be booked well in advance.
The two palaces are walking distance from one another.
The Merdeka Palace
Jalan Medan Merdeka Utara, Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta
The State Palace
Jalan Veteran, no. 17, Jakarta Pusat, Daerah Khusus Ibukota Jakarta
Operating from 9AM to 7PM on Mondays through Saturdays and 12PM to 7PM on Sundays, a free city tour bus is available departing from the Hotel Indonesia traffic circle and circles Merdeka square and the State Palace.