Surface: 1.904.569 km²
Number of inhabitants: 256 million
Language: Indonesian, English, Dutch
Religion: Islam, Christianity, Hinduism
Currency: Indonesian Rupiah (IDR)
Form of government: constitutional republic
Indonesia has a score of 0.689 on the Human Development Index (HDI). The score is compiled of numbers related to life expectancy, education and per capita income. Once classified in numbers, this number is used to rank countries in four levels of human development. The higher these factors, the higher the index number. According to this index Indonesia is ranked in the 113th place out of the 186 countries. The financial crisis in 1997 had a major impact living and education standards in the country. An estimated 17 million Indonesians live below the poverty line.
History and Politics
Around the second century, merchants from India came over to Java. Indonesia implemented a number of Indian influences, including Hinduism. For a long time, this was the most common religion of the archipelago. In the 15th century, Muslim merchants arrived in Sumatra and Java and Islam was introduced. In 1511, the Portuguese came into power for a short period of time. They influenced the language, music, import of tobacco and the construction of ships. From the end of the 16th century, the VOC (the Dutch East India Company) gained a lot of power in Indonesia. The VOC ceased to exist in 1799 after which the country became a colony of the Netherlands and got the name the Dutch East Indies.In January 1942 Japanese troops entered Borneo and Sulawesi. Indonesians and Dutch were locked up into camps and many were killed.In 1945 Sukarno and Hatta proclaimed independence after which the independence struggle began. This is also known as the time of de politionele acties(the police actions). In 1949 Indonesia became independent after which the country faced several internal conflicts.In 1967, Suharto became president. After Suharto was re-elected president for the seventh time in 1998, the president of the People's Congress called on him to resign. Joko Widodo has been the president of Indonesia since 2014.
Indonesia has one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Due to the geographically unequal distribution of the population (Java is overcrowded and has a high consumption pattern in contrast to the sparsely populated outer areas) Indonesia's economy is also irregularly divided.Since the mid-seventies of the last century, Indonesian exports have been dominated by the export of oil and natural gas. Nowadays the most important export products are oil and gas, rubber, coal, tin, tobacco, coffee, tea, palm oil and wood. Tourism is also a source of income.
Indonesians are known for their friendliness, hospitality and curiosity. Indonesia is the country with the largest Muslim population in the world. Throughout the country you will find many religious symbols and buildings. Everywhere in Indonesia you see dance, theater and poets. There are dances to eradicate disease, ward off evil spirits and celebrate victories and at annual events such as sowing and harvesting. Negotiation is a common phenomenon in Indonesia. You are expected to negotiate on the market and in tourist shops, in taxis and becak (bicycle taxis). Especially in the big cities there are many beggars. Indonesia is also known for its large variety of traditional textile forms, called batik. Each of the ethnic groups in the country has its own tradition and its own type of pattern.