City Culture: Jakarta

When it comes to Jakarta, it is hard to describe or define somehow one culture. As there live about 9,5 millions people speaking more than 200 languages and 300 different ethnic groups, it is hard to unify the culture. Nevertheless, and this is for what Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, is famous for, they do have something like the “Betawi” culture.

Needless to say, the diversity of origins and languages leads to differences in regard to religion, traditions and linguistic and all in all culture.

The Cathedral, most important church for Christs

The Cathedral, the most important church for Christs in Jakarta

What I mentioned before is the “Betawi” culture. First of all, the Betawi people can be called somehow the natural inhabitants of the city. Their culture is known to be a very colorful one, so their clothes are always a mixture of strong colors.

Betawi Culture 

But that’s not all! You can generally say that the Betawi Culture is also a treasure of traditions, dance, songs, clothing, cuisine, language and last but not least dialect.

What can be seen as very traditional and special are weddings, but I haven’t had the chance to experience one. Anyways, one may not forget that even this culture has a history and developed throughout the centuries.

Influenced by the Dutch, Portuguese, Arab and Chinese

The influence of the Dutch and the Portuguese on this culture can be explained with the colonial heritage, where selected elements became part of the Betawi Culture, whereas Arab and Chinese elements were caused by immigration.

A bike from colonial times

A bike from colonial times

It is too much to describe several elements, but I think that it is important to know that the culture developed through adopting parts of other cultures and customs.

Perfect place for food lovers

Jakarta is also the perfect place for food lovers, as the different influences are also remarkable in the cuisine which can be found there. Indonesian delights, but as well something I would call simply Asian, can be found next to traditional meals and Europe influence.

High-quality afternoon tea at the Hermitage Hotel Jakarta

High-quality afternoon tea at the Hermitage Hotel Jakarta

This can be found in the food court at a mall

This can be found in the food court at a mall

No worries, if your stomach can’t take Asian dishes as it’s not used to it, every Fast Food Chain like McDonald’s or Burger King or Subway or …  can be found there as well. Jakarta has it all, from low-cost fast food to expensive high quality food.

Jakarta as a cultural center

The City of Jakarta has more to offer, it’s not just the economic and thus financial center of Indonesia, but also a cultural center. Whether it is a Jazz Festival or a fashion week, many other events take place on a regular basis. More examples for this are international art exhibitions or or traditional trade shows.

Atrium of the National Museum, where also much can be learned about culture

Atrium of the National Museum, where also much can be learned about culture

If you are interested in seeing something special, I would recommend to have a look at what will be shown at the specific date!


Learn more about culture in other cities!


5 Comments on “City Culture: Jakarta”

  1. Pingback: Looking back on week 16 | travelux

    • Hi Dusty,
      thanks a lot for your kind words and your incredible support on Twitter, I’m blown away! I read your article, and I just thought: That’s good – that’s the real Jakarta. We have experienced something similar at the haven though.. what a contrast rich/poor, hard to believe if you haven’t seen it by yourself. Anyway, if you’re interested in Jakarta, the city review and city history may also be an option to read 🙂
      Thanks again for your support and have a great day!

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