The Country That Bridges Two Oceans
The Country That Bridges Two Oceans
Cradled by two oceans and thirteen seas, the island nation of Indonesia is a country of unrivalled natural and cultural riches. It is home to over 250 million people living on almost half of its 17,000 islands.
Yearly, millions of tourists surrender to Indonesia’s allure. With its eternal summers, lush beaches fringed by turquoise-blue tropical waters, and mystical allure, the country is, for many, a paradise on earth. Due to its abundance of natural and cultural riches, it is a favorite holiday destination for adventure seekers and explorers, food lovers, history buffs, and those on a quest of self-discovery.
Indonesia: Facts and Figures
  • Indonesia is the world’s greatest island nation, with more than 17,000 islands. About 6,000 of these are inhabited.
  • It is the 15th largest country in the world, and ranks 9th in the top 10 countries with the largest water area. Its water area is four times larger than its land area.
  • Indonesia has the second-longest coastline in the world after Canada.
  • Three of the world’s ten largest islands are at least in part in Indonesia: New Guinea, Borneo, and Sumatra.
  • Indonesia is the fourth most populous country in the world after China, India, and the United States. Its population is projected to grow to 280 million by 2030, and 327 million by 2050. Java, one of the country’s five biggest islands, is the world’s most populous island.
  • 742 (or 10.73%) of the world’s languages are spoken in Indonesia, which makes it the country with the second-highest number of languages spoken after Papua New Guinea.
Economy and Environment
  • Indonesia ranks 16th in the world GDP ranking. By some measures, it is currently the world’s eighth economy.
  • It is predicted to become one of the world’s top ten economies by 2030, with the potential to surpass the economies of the UK and Germany.
  • It is one of the top three marine and aquaculture fish and seafood suppliers in the world.
  • Indonesia has the world’s largest area of mangrove forests, 23% of the mangrove ecosystems in the world. Indonesia’s mangroves, spanning about 3 million hectares, contain 3.14 billion metric tons of carbon, five times as much per hectare as tropical forests do.
  • Indonesia has one of the highest levels of marine biodiversity in the world.
History and Culture
  • The largest megalithic site in Southeast Asia has been discovered at in West Java at Gunung Padang. If current archaeological research is confirmed, the site houses the world’s oldest pyramid, several thousand years older than the pyramids at Giza in Egypt.
  • There are several traditional law frameworks (such as Sasi in the Malukus and Awig-Awig in Lombok) for the management of forest, farmland, and water resources. Some of these can be traced back to pre-colonial times.
  • One of the deadliest volcanic eruptions in recorded history was the eruption of Krakatoa in 1883, with effects felt around the world.
  • Indonesia has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites; five of these are sites of outstanding natural beauty and value.
  • A further 18 sites are being evaluated for inclusion in UNESCO WORLD HERITAGE; six of these are hotspots of marine biodiversity.
  • In 2011, Komodo National Park on the border of the Indonesian East and West Nusa Tenggara Provinces has been voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
But despite its allure, Indonesia has its challenges. Through its history up until today, the country has been shaken by earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tsunamis, most famously in 2004, when a Tsunami with the epicenter west off Sumatra killed more than 200,000 people in 14 countries. The eruption in 1815 of Mount Tambora, the largest event ever recorded, was felt world-wide: 1816 became the “year without summer” in Europe and North America as the ash from the Indonesian volcano blanketed the earth.
Today however, it is not volcanoes and tectonic plates that most endanger the prosperity of this earthly paradise, and, with it, the future of the world. The major threats are marine and coastal destruction, uncontrolled development, climate change and resource depletion.
The good news?
Unlike natural disasters, together, we can fight these dangers!
What can you do?
Help us put a stop to the destruction of Indonesia’s marine heritage!
Coral Triangle Center