Presidential Palaces in Brief

August 16, 2018 | Nalanda Pramatatya


The Indonesia’s Presidential Palaces functions to support the work of the President of the Republic of Indonesia. Other than that, they attract both domestic and foreign tourists. What do the Indonesia’s Presidential Palaces look like? Let’s find out.



Istana Negara

Istana Negara or the State Palace was built in 1796 by a Dutch citizen, J. A. van Braam Rijswijk, for his private residence. In 1821, this building was purchased and taken over by the Dutch East Indies colonial government, and was used as the center of government activities and residence of the Governor-General. During the Dutch East Indies administration, many important events took place in the building which was then known as the Paleis te Rijswijk (Palace of Rijswijk). This is the place where General de Kock and Governor General Baron van der Capellen devised a plan to crush Prince Diponegoro’s rebellion and created a strategy to fight Tuanku Imam Bonjol. The cultuur stelsel (forced cultivation system), initiated by Governor General Johannes van den Bosch, also took place there. Not only the invaders held events in that place; It is the venue where the Linggarjati Agreement was signed by Sultan Sjahrir from the Indonesian side and Dr. Van Mook from the Dutch side on March 25, 1947.

In the Dutch Colonial period, the term “palace” was removed and changed to Hotel van den Gouverneur-Generaal (Hotel of the Governor General). Because, the majority of the Governor-Generals of the Netherlands Indies at that time chose to live in Bogor for its cooler air. They had to go back-and-forth to Batavia to attend meetings or welcome state guests.

The State Palace has two main rooms, namely the Banquet Room to receive foreign dignitaries and the Ceremony Room. The Ceremony Room was once used as a ballroom in the Dutch East Indies era. Now, the State Palace serves as a center for state government’s activities and a venue for state events. For example, for the inauguration of the state ministerial level officials, opening of deliberation meetings, national work meetings, opening of national and international congresses, as well as a place to entertain state guests. In this palace, we can find important paintings of Indonesia’s and the world-famous painters.


Istana Merdeka



Istana Merdeka

Istana Merdeka or the Independence Palace, situated within the State Palace complex, was built in 1873 by Governor-General Louden and finished during the tenure of Governor General Johan Willem van Landsbarge. The building was designed by Drossares, a Dutch architect. This palace was named the Merdeka Palace on December 27, 1949, after the Dutch Government signed the text Recognizing the Sovereignty of the Unitary Republic of Indonesia. At that time, the Unitary Republic of Indonesia was represented by Sri Sultan Hamengkubuwono IX while the Kingdom of the Netherlands was represented by A. H. J Lovink.

During President Soekarno’s term, the Independence Palace used to have large open spaces giving it an open and spacious feeling in spite of the fence encircling it. In fact, some parts of the open veranda were equipped with rattan chairs where President Soekarno met and entertained his guests in a relaxed atmosphere, including having interviews with journalists.

An architect, R.M. Soedarsono, was commissioned to build a Baiturrahim Mosque to the west of the Independence Palace in 1958. The Baiturrahim Mosque was completed in 1961. The mosque was then expanded to the south side, a symmetrical building with the north side, during President Habibie’s time.


Istana Bogor


Bogor Palace

As the name clearly shows, this presidential palace is located in Bogor City. The Bogor Palace, originally a vacation home, was built in August 1744.

The palace was heavily damaged in 1834 during a massive earthquake caused by the eruption of Mount Salak. After its restoration in 1850, the palace became the official residence of the Dutch East Indies Colonial Governor General in 1870.

The Bogor Palace officially became one of the Presidential Palaces of the Republic of Indonesia in 1950. This palace is located adjacent to the Bogor Botanical Garden. Deers roam free in the front yard of the Presidential Palace. These deers were imported directly from Nepal in 1808 and still remain today.


Istana Cipanas


Cipanas Palace

Cipanas Presidential Palace is a holiday and a stopover place since its establishment by the Dutch government. Nature around the palace is very beautiful and is the main attraction for its visitors. During the term of Governor General G.W. Baron van Imhoff, the Cipanas Palace was made into a health center. More health facilities were then built around it. Other buildings around it were also used to care for the members of military companies.

After the Indonesian independence, the building was officially designated as one of the Presidential Palaces of the Republic of Indonesia and its function remains as a holiday place for Indonesia’s President or Vice President and their families. Unlike the other presidential palaces, Cipanas Palace is not used to receive foreign dignitaries, but is only used as a holiday place for the President and Vice President and their families. Cipanas Presidential Palace architectural style is unique compared to other presidential palaces; It is not pretentious, but an elegant traditional style building and mostly made of planks and wood.


Gedung Agung Yogyakarta


Gedung Agung Yogyakarta

The Yogyakarta Presidential Palace was originally the official residence of Anthonie Hendriks Smissaert, the 18th Resident of Yogyakarta (1823-1825). Gedung Agung was built in May 1824 by an architect, A Payen. Payen was commissioned by the Governor General of the Dutch East Indies to build a European architectural style building suitable for a tropical climate. The Diponegoro War, called the Java War by the Dutch, which took place in 1825-1830 had caused delay in the construction of this building. The construction resumed after the war ended in 1832.

On June 10, 1867, there were two successive earthquakes in Yogyakarta. This house collapsed. The new building was then erected and completed in 1869 and became the Main Building, called Gedung Negara, in the Yogyakarta Presidential Palace Complex.

Gedung Agung was once the Indonesian government center during the revolution. During the Japanese occupation, this palace became Koochi Zimmukyoku Tyookan, official residence of the Japanese ruler in Yogyakarta.


Istana Tampak Siring


Tampaksiring Palace

Tampaksiring derives from the Balinese language; Tampak which means ‘telapak‘dan siring which means ’tilt’. Once upon a time, according to the legend recorded on the palm leaf of Usana Bali, King Mayadenawa had passed through the area by tilting the sole of his foot to avoid leaving any traces so that Batara Indra would not notice.

Tampaksiring Presidential Palace is the only Presidential Palace built after the Independence. The construction began in 1957 and was completed in 1960. The palace was built at the initiative of President Soekarno who wanted a holiday place for Indonesian President and his family and for state guests visiting Bali. Tampaksiring Palace was built gradually. Wisma Merdeka and Wisma Yudhistira were built by R.M Soedarsono in 1957. Another construction that followed was carried out in 1958. Furthermore, for the benefit of the ASEAN Summit in Bali on 7-8 October 2003, a new building with necessary facility for the conference was constructed. In addition, the Wantilan Hall in Tampaksiring Presidential Palace was renovated.

Nalanda Pramatatya
Subdit Program Evaluasi dan Dokumentasi Dirt Warisan dan Diplomasi Budaya.

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