INDONESIA IN CLOSE-UP
Indonesia, formerly known as the Dutch East Indies (or Netherlands East Indies), is located off the coast of mainland Southeast Asia in the Indian and Pacific oceans. It is an archipelago that lies across the Equator and spans a distance equivalent to one-eighth of Earth’s circumference. Its islands can be grouped into the Greater Sunda Islands of Sumatra (Sumatera), Java (Jawa), the southern extent of Borneo (Kalimantan), and Celebes (Sulawesi); the Lesser Sunda Islands (Nusa Tenggara) of Bali and a chain of islands that runs eastward through Timor; the Moluccas (Maluku) between Celebes and the island of New Guinea; and the western extent of New Guinea (generally known as Papua). The capital, Jakarta, is located near the northwestern coast of Java. In the early 21st century Indonesia was the most populous country in Southeast Asia and the fourth most populous in the world.
Indonesia’s main exports include crude petroleum and natural gas as well as rubber, coffee, cocoa and palm oil. Indonesia’s islands are dotted with architectural remnants of Hindu-Buddhist and other empires. Borobudur, designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1991, is one of the most famous Buddhist monuments. Indonesia is a sovereign state and has an elected legislature. Indonesia has one of the unique cultures in the world. With multiple countries influencing during its colonial era, Indonesia has one of the most diverse cultures in the world. It has a vast collection of natural resources like tin, gold and oil.
As the third largest democracy, Indonesia is a presidential republic with an elected legislature. It has 38 provinces, of which nine have special status. The country’s capital, Jakarta, is the world’s second-most populous urban area. Indonesia is located along the famous Pacific ring of fire, which is an active belt of earthquakes and volcanoes running from Chile to Southeast Asia. Indonesia has the highest number of volcanoes in the world, with a whopping 139 dotted throughout the different islands. 79 of those volcanoes are currently active. Indonesian cultures are very different from Western cultures as there exists a difference in experience, belief-systems, hierarchies, religion, notions of time, spatial relations, and much more. Moreover within Indonesian itself there exists a multitude of different cultures.