The Flag of
Indonesia is a simple bicolour with two equal horizontal
bands, red (top) and white (bottom) with an overall ratio of 2:3.
It was introduced and hoisted in public at the Indonesian Declaration
of Independence on 17 August 1945 in Pegangsaan Timur street in
Jakarta, and again when the Dutch formally transferred sovereignty on
17 August 1950. The design of the flag has remained unchanged since.
The flag of
Indonesia is graphically identical to the Flag of Monaco,
with a slight difference only in the ratio of its dimensions.
Naval Jack of
Indonesia is reserved for sole use by the Indonesian
Navy. It flies from the mast of every active Indonesian war ship.
The design of the jack is described as nine alternating stripes of red
and white. It is nicknamed Ular-ular Perang (War Pennant or literally
"War Snakes"), probably due to the stripes' design. The naval jack
dates to the age of
Majapahit Empire. This empire, renowned for its
great maritime strength, flew similar jacks on its vessels.
1.1 Hotel Yamato incident
4.1 Regulation and flag protocol
4.3 Prohibited acts
6 External links
Hoisting of the
Bendera Pusaka moment during the Proclamation of
Indonesian Independence on 17 August 1945
The flag's colours are derived from the banner of the 13th century
Majapahit Empire. However, it has been suggested that the red and
white symbolism can trace its origin to the older common Austronesian
mythology of the duality of Mother Earth (red) and Father Sky (white).
This is why these colours appear in so many flags throughout
Tahiti to Madagascar. The earliest records of the
red and white panji or pataka (a long flag on a curved bamboo pole)
can be found in the
Pararaton chronicle; according to this source, the
Jayakatwang troops from Gelang-Gelang hoisted the red and white banner
during their invasion of
Singhasari in the early 12th century. This
suggests that even before the
Majapahit era, the red and white colours
were already revered and used as the kingdom's banner in the Kediri
Red and white textile colouring was available in ancient Indonesia.
White is the natural colour of woven cotton fabrics, while red is one
of the earliest natural dyes, acquired either from teak leaves, the
flowers of Averrhoa bilimbi, or the skin of mangosteen fruits.
It was not only the Javanese kingdoms that used red and white. The
battle flag of King Sisingamangaraja IX of Batak lands bore an image
of white twin swords called piso gaja dompak against a red
background. During the
Aceh War of 1873-1904, Aceh warriors used a
battle flag with the image of a sword, star and crescent, sun, and
Quranic script in white on a red background. The red and white
flag of the Buginese Bone kingdom in
South Sulawesi is called
Woromporang. The Balinese Badung (Puri Pamecutan) royal banner is
red, white, and black, probably of
Majapahit origin. During the
Java War (1825–1830) Prince
Diponegoro also used a red and white
In the early 20th century these colours were revived by students and
then nationalists, as an expression of nationalism against the Dutch.
The modern red and white flag which was first flown in
Java in 1928,
was prohibited under Dutch rule. Upon Indonesia's declaration of
independence on 17 August 1945 it was adopted as the national flag,
and has been in use ever since.
Hotel Yamato incident
A moment after the blue stripe of Dutch flag was torn into Indonesian
flag colour, red and white, in Hotel Yamato (now Hotel Majapahit),
The flag featured in a well-known incident during the Indonesian War
of Independence when during the lead-up to the Battle of
late 1945, Indonesian youths removed a colonial Dutch flag flying over
the Yamato Hotel, tore off the blue strip and re-hoisted it as an
Indonesian flag. The Hotel was subsequently renamed Hotel Merdeka,
meaning Hotel Independence.
Flag of the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands used 20 March 1602 – 8 March 1942 (340
Flag of Imperial Japan used 8 March 1942 – 17 August 1945 (3 years 5
Indonesia used 17 August 1945 to present
The official name of the flag is Sang Saka Merah-Putih (meaning "lofty
bicolour Red and White") according to Article 35 of the 1945
Constitution. The flag is commonly called Bendera Merah-Putih
(Red-and-White Flag). Occasionally, it is also called Sang Dwiwarna
(The bicolour). Sang Saka Merah-Putih (The Lofty Red-and-White) refers
to the historical flag called
Bendera Pusaka (heirloom flag) and its
Bendera Pusaka is the flag that was flown in front of
Sukarno's house after he proclaimed Indonesia's independence on 17
August 1945. The original
Bendera Pusaka was sewn by Fatmawati, and
was hoisted every year in front of the presidential palace during the
independence day ceremony. It was hoisted for the last time on 17
August 1968. Since then it has been preserved and replaced by a
replica since the original flag was deemed to be too fragile.
Several opinions have been expressed on the meaning of the red and
white in the Indonesian flag. One opinion is that the red stands for
courage, while the white stands for purity. Another is that red
represents the human body or physical life, while white represents the
soul or spiritual life; together they stand for a complete human
Red is the symbol of courage, White is the symbol of purity. Our flag
has been there since 600 years ago.
Indonesians have used red and white as their
ceremonial colours, mixing the colour of sugar (the red colour comes
from palm sugar or gula aren) and rice (white in colour). Inarguably,
until today, both of these are the major components of daily
Indonesian cuisine or cooking. The
Majapahit Empire have the same
colours in its flag.
Paspampres personnel from the "State Protocol Escort Battalion
(Yonwalprotneg)" raising the Flag of
Indonesia in the national palace
The National Monument with a row of Indonesian flags
Regulation and flag protocol
The flag is described in Article 35, Chapter XV, of the Constitution
of Indonesia; Government Regulation No. 24/2009; and Government
The national flag shall be Sang Merah-Putih (The Red-and-White)
— Article 35, Chapter XV, Constitution of Indonesia
The raising of the flag should be conducted in the time between
sunrise until sunset, but in certain circumstances, it can be done at
night. In daily use, the flag should be flown at every commemoration
such as Indonesian Independence Day on 17 August every year, by the
citizens who have a right to use it at house, building or office,
schools, colleges, public and private transport and the representative
Indonesia in overseas.
It can be used as the cover of the coffin of President or former
Presidents, Vice President or former Vice Presidents, Members of
Cabinet, Speaker of People's Representative Council, and Head of
Government, members of the Indonesian Armed Forces, and person who is
the members of
Indonesian National Police
Indonesian National Police who died in service, or an
Indonesian citizen who contributed to their nation as a badge of
The flag must be displayed everyday in places such as Presidential
Palace, all of government and private office buildings, border posts
and outer islands in the territory of Indonesia, and National Heroes
The flag should be displayed everywhere on special days, which
2 May: National Education Day.
20 May: National Awakening Day.
1 June: Day of the Birth of Pancasila.
Indonesia Independence Day.
Youth Pledge Day.
10 November: Heroes Day.
The flag should be displayed at half-mast as a sign of mourning on
26 December, in remembrance of victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean
earthquake and tsunami.
Three days after the death of President or former Presidents, Vice
President or former Vice Presidents, Members of Cabinet, Speaker of
People's Representative Council, and Head of Government.
Other mourning days established by the government.
Usually, the Indonesian flag is also flown at half-mast on 30
September, in remembrance of the 30 September Movement, but after the
New Order ended in 1998, this tradition stopped. However, in recent
days, it still continues in some staff without official status by the
Based on Government Regulation No.24/ 2009, all citizens are
To destroy, tear, trample, burn, or perform other actions with the
intention of tarnish, insult, or degrade the honour of the national
To wear the national flag for billboards or commercials;
To fly the national flag in a torn, smudged, crumpled, or dull
To print, embroider, and write letters, numbers, images or other signs
and put a badge or any objects on the national flag;
To use the national flag to cover a ceiling, roof, for wrapping or
covering goods that can degrade the honor of national flag;
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