Why Jakarta is sinking

The 400-year curse dragging Indonesia's capital into the sea.
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Like many coastal cities around the world, Jakarta is dealing with sea level rise. But Indonesia's biggest city also has a unique problem: Because of restricted water access in the city, the majority of its residents have to extract groundwater to survive. And it's causing the city to sink. Today, Jakarta is the world’s fastest-sinking city.
The problem gets worse every year, but the root of it precedes modern Indonesia by centuries. In the 1600s, when the Dutch landed in Indonesia and built present-day Jakarta, they divided up the city to segregate the population. Eventually, that segregation led to an unequal water piping system that excluded most Indigenous Jakartans, forcing them to find other ways to get water.
To understand how it all ties together, and what’s in store for Jakarta’s future, watch the video above.
Sources and further reading:
If you want to learn more about the development of Jakarta’s urban water supply going all the way back to colonial times, check out Michelle Kooy’s detailed reports:
To understand Jakarta’s colonial history and the segregation that came of it, check out this article from the Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art: jhna.org/articles/dutch-batavia-exposing-hierarchy-dutch-colonial-city/
To read about the evolution of the canals the Dutch built in present-day Jakarta and how their deterioration impacted water access and segregation, here’s a study from Dr. Euis Puspita Dewi, who we feature in the video:
To get a broader look at the many other cities sinking in Indonesia, check out this article by Dr. Estelle Chaussard: www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0034425712003975
Thanks for watching and let us know what you think in the comments!
Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out www.vox.com​.
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Vox.com is a news website that helps you cut through the noise and understand what's really driving the events in the headlines. Check out www.vox.com.
Watch our full video catalog: goo.gl/IZONyE
Follow Vox on Facebook: goo.gl/U2g06o
Or Twitter: goo.gl/XFrZ5H


  • Vox
    Vox17 days ago

    Hello! We have translated subtitles available in Bahasa Indonesia. You can access them through the settings icon > Subtitles/CC Thanks for watching, and let me know what other colonial histories you want to see explained next in the comments. Thanks, Christina, Video Producer

  • Fatih BG

    Fatih BG

    16 hours ago

    @Na Ma frii payer buril

  • Argent Knight

    Argent Knight

    Day ago


  • Rynaldy Cavdra

    Rynaldy Cavdra

    3 days ago

    I explain about Indonesia again plzz,,,

  • Om Prast

    Om Prast

    3 days ago

    Wow, matur suwon

  • Kareem Kalisari

    Kareem Kalisari

    4 days ago

    Vox... Vox... Thanks For YourAppreciation To thePeopleOf " INDONESIA " ... Oh, When you smile... It makes me smile... When you cry... I can’t help but cry.... __________________ INDONESIAN

  • Nathan Li
    Nathan Li29 minutes ago

    They are probably going to rob their Chinese ethnic minorities again to fund those projects.

  • alex ivanov
    alex ivanov29 minutes ago

    The venomous grandfather scilly satisfy because connection accordantly learn lest a deadpan ankle. electric, easy ox

  • Sohail Jafar
    Sohail Jafar51 minute ago

    This must be why they moved the capital city to anew territory.

  • Anu Antony
    Anu AntonyHour ago

    Steal more sea, the sea will fight back 😂. Think twice while making artificial islands and encroaching the sea

  • Rizkyta Ramadhanty Savitri
    Rizkyta Ramadhanty Savitri2 hours ago

    guys please help them their actually suffering please they don't deserve to get something like this and no i'm not saying this because i live in indonesia but i just felt like they are treated like they do not belong

  • misskyeon
    misskyeon2 hours ago

    What will happen to my auntie😫

  • Karthik Munishamaiah
    Karthik Munishamaiah2 hours ago

    Simple solutions ignored because thpse in power don’t want to do what it takes

  • ShWeJaPa
    ShWeJaPa5 hours ago

    9:58, for some people there never is a solution.

  • ShWeJaPa
    ShWeJaPa5 hours ago

    9:03, walls are racist, are they?

  • ShWeJaPa
    ShWeJaPa6 hours ago

    8:28, interesting.

  • ShWeJaPa
    ShWeJaPa6 hours ago

    3:26, maybe the Catholics can help, the Pope is getting friendly with the Islamia stuff these days.

  • Asia J
    Asia J6 hours ago

    Time to start building floating homes with all the plastic bottles around

  • ShWeJaPa
    ShWeJaPa6 hours ago

    0:47, what is the ripple effect to bear by countries and relevant, the world?

  • ShWeJaPa
    ShWeJaPa6 hours ago

    0:45, excellent graphic.

  • Tavar Firestone
    Tavar Firestone7 hours ago

    they really should just build a giant floating city, like Atlantis from Stargate Atlantis

  • Ayu nengsih
    Ayu nengsih8 hours ago

    Pr banyak yang harus di benahi

  • Lucas
    Lucas10 hours ago

    Jakarta is beyond repair

  • Daniel Wilson
    Daniel Wilson10 hours ago

    Where is Patrick Star when you need him?

  • D. Mark Agostinelli
    D. Mark Agostinelli10 hours ago

    Wonderful, so i guess we all blame the Dutch now? For being racist? Really? They divided them, really? So they didn’t build a few more bridges in the last 70 years? What about the Technolgy that was brought there by the Dutch? Why does everything have to be converted into something evil, or dark? What about we just identify it as being a historical way that things once were, instead of continuously manipulating history into making everyone look badly? Does no one recognize the positives?

  • sivia nunez
    sivia nunez11 hours ago

    Do they have 🌋?

  • mossy art
    mossy art13 hours ago

    This is how life work sometime Mother Nature want some of the land and they should build a drain

  • Purple Pink Trends
    Purple Pink Trends13 hours ago

    Stay safe Indonesian friends

  • FBI
    FBI14 hours ago

    So Dutch ruin your city for a century and leave you in swaps and 50 years after independence the government gives the wall building project back to the Dutch? 👁️👄👁️

  • wiwien
    wiwien14 hours ago

    What a curse of being colonized by the Dutch!

  • Aman Saraf
    Aman Saraf14 hours ago

    Every wrong in the world today can be traced back to colonialism

  • Claive
    Claive15 hours ago

    Be safe to my neighborhood country people ❤

  • Wimpy
    Wimpy16 hours ago

    Some people believe because of ice caps lamao

  • MinecraftDude11
    MinecraftDude1116 hours ago

    Fun fact. The Dutch grounds are also sinking while the sea levels are rising.

  • Goresan Hitam
    Goresan Hitam17 hours ago

    Mampus 😆🤭 canda

  • DS_ MaulanaAlvian
    DS_ MaulanaAlvian17 hours ago

    cuz w ar fool

  • bcvbb hyui
    bcvbb hyui18 hours ago

    Geologist: Jakarta is sinking Jakartans: we have the strongest military in SEA, we are happy with that

  • • Pepe •
    • Pepe •19 hours ago

    _"It signals what could happen to Indonesa's capital city if things don't change soon"_ *It is* what will happen to Indonesia's capital city. Because in here, things aint change soon.

  • bcvbb hyui

    bcvbb hyui

    18 hours ago

    I'm here bc PVCs such a pepega adhd andy

  • Josh Davis
    Josh Davis19 hours ago

    Now that the iceburg broke off in Antarctica it will make the sea level rise faster than ever.

  • DZ
    DZ19 hours ago

    Colonizers zz

  • AMisfitsDiary
    AMisfitsDiary21 hour ago

    Why is it that all our problems can be traced to white people. Sigh.

  • MJ Caranto
    MJ Caranto21 hour ago

    that because indonisian in jakarta keep using wells

  • KolonK Sporadis
    KolonK Sporadis21 hour ago

    Ini baru yang namanya berita bermutu. Membahas permasalahan nyata yg sudah terjadi ratusan tahun sehingga menjadi masalah akut yg berdampak sangat buruk pada masyarakat di masa depan. Ditambah kajian latar belakang & memberikan solusi. Vox, you have my respect.

  • KolonK Sporadis

    KolonK Sporadis

    21 hour ago

    @Bon G siapa yg bocah?

  • Bon G

    Bon G

    21 hour ago

    Lol bocahh

  • bestamerica
    bestamericaDay ago

    ' island indonesia is a soft ground land... ground land can slowly tide down then fill water up

  • surreal romiics
    surreal romiicsDay ago


  • Gamilagalo Ear
    Gamilagalo EarDay ago

    I have a theory:I think they are flooding not bc of natural stuff bc of humans not from the underground thing I believe my mum is filling up the city with water

  • Gamilagalo Ear
    Gamilagalo EarDay ago

    Why not change sea water into fresh water to drink its simple get a high tech machine AND DONE u have drinkable water

  • T MindGame
    T MindGameDay ago

    Mamam tuh demo, mau dibuat tembok malah protes skrng siapa yg susah😂

  • Bon G

    Bon G

    21 hour ago

    WKWK, orangnya ga ada akal

  • Robby darmawan
    Robby darmawanDay ago

    Thank you Vox for information 🙏

  • amana sivkem abe
    amana sivkem abeDay ago

    So to keep it short its pretty much the Dutch trying to build Jakarta like Amsterdam and failing then trying to protect it like Amsterdam and failing again the irony

  • Shauna Fuller
    Shauna FullerDay ago

    Great information

  • REgamesplayer
    REgamesplayerDay ago

    It is a simple story of incompetence and corruption. People are helpless and without foreign rule they are unlikely to solve this simple problem.

  • Ro Shambo
    Ro ShamboDay ago

    Weird time to advertise the vox logo..

  • iunno o
    iunno oDay ago

    I'm here bc PVCs such a pepega adhd andy

  • Lazy Islander
    Lazy IslanderDay ago

    The rich always preys on the poor , the worst thing to happen to this planet is the human race

  • am_ taur
    am_ taurDay ago

    So In short, the people in the government in Indonesia are either incompetent or corrupt. Indonesians should be afraid if it is both.

  • bronxgirl712
    bronxgirl712Day ago

    The Dutch should be responsible for fixing the problem they engineered and set into motion but then that would be too much like equity and justice 🙄

  • Ezee Baqi
    Ezee BaqiDay ago


  • Yuriy Zubov
    Yuriy ZubovDay ago

    Thanks for the material.

  • Yogi Tamaki
    Yogi TamakiDay ago

    Stop blaming the government, we also have a responsibility as citizen to protect our environment 🔥

  • Blaise Hope
    Blaise HopeDay ago

    Vox completely ignored the effect pf suharto era centralization that led to a boom in the population that hasnt stopped and the explosion of corruotuon since suharto that made it impossible for any of these measures to be taken. As they point out, all these other cities, and Jakarta didn't. Explain why

  • Ads Sound
    Ads SoundDay ago

    I am grateful the Dutch colonial left 🤣🤣🤣

  • Sherlock Holmes
    Sherlock HolmesDay ago

    Bangkok too.

  • 3b Aisha Shabrina
    3b Aisha ShabrinaDay ago

    Hello my country :v

  • Your Mom
    Your MomDay ago

    As a jakartan im pretty siked about being a merman

  • ArzaHelkilporo
    ArzaHelkilporoDay ago

    I have no comment because it's true

  • AyoWassupBro
    AyoWassupBroDay ago

    So is it the dutch fault?

  • SkinnerClimbs


    Day ago

    Blame colonisation

  • M. Faiz Septian
    M. Faiz SeptianDay ago

    dont know either

  • Yashin Yoku
    Yashin YokuDay ago

    after 600+ years of colonization is this what we must accept :(

  • now lomme
    now lommeDay ago

    When it actually sinks, I'm sad to think that maybe my future grandchildren will have more history to learn. Poor them.

  • Akim Amin
    Akim AminDay ago

    Jakarta is too overpopulated. Money is not everything. Time to move back to own villages and peace of mind is more important.

  • Sasha's Potato
    Sasha's PotatoDay ago

    Oh my gawd...

  • The Zhafran
    The ZhafranDay ago

    Who else live in jakarta? Me

  • The Zhafran
    The ZhafranDay ago

    Hey is indonesian near atlantis? If yes i can met aquaman i live in jakarta after all

  • The Zhafran
    The ZhafranDay ago


  • Sasongko *
    Sasongko *Day ago

    Jakarta butuh kesungguhan, dalam mengatasi banjir dan sepertinya lebih baik pindah ibu kota sebelum terlambat

  • Yunita Puspita
    Yunita PuspitaDay ago

    Tanah Air Yang Kucintaaaaa Engkau kubanggakan

  • Gotcha Open 2
    Gotcha Open 2Day ago

    The coming of Jesus Christ is close my brothers and sisters!! Please repent of your sins and ask God for salvation for the time is short 💕😞 we are not perfect which is why we need to seek the lord more than ever!❤️❤️🙏🏼.....

  • Soumyasish Bhattacharyya
    Soumyasish BhattacharyyaDay ago

    I came to know about this last year from an Indonesian friend I met online. I couldn't believe that at first. I mean,the cultural and economic hub of a country which also happens to be the capital,with thriving culture and population,this all won't exist few decades later because it's sinking, FAST!! It really sounded horrific and I did some findings on internet and found out that Indonesia is shifting their capital to Kalimantan from Jakarta, although Jakarta will continue to play an important role in country's economy. I was relieved,but then realised that as usual,the poor people will suffer the most. Will they be given proper homes in the new capital? What about their earnings? What will happen to fishermen? When Jakarta completely sinks,will The other capital really be the perfect alternative of Jakarta? And within how long? Since they don't have much time It was really something hard to think about,I discussed this fact with her,I mean that Indonesian friend. We both believe that yes, the new capital will be worthy to take the place of Jakarta and hope for the best. Lots of positivity and thoughts and concern from my side,India. I hope they figure this thing out and not even one person suffers in that capital shifting process.

  • Querencia.tv
    Querencia.tvDay ago

    Nice ☺️ ❤️&✌️

  • nico orlando
    nico orlandoDay ago

    Hmm yes the start of 2020 it actually flooded my house

  • MrFlipperInvader792
    MrFlipperInvader792Day ago

    9:38 looks beautiful though, like a prog rock album cover

  • D0d3s
    D0d3sDay ago

    the capital will soon move to East Kalimantan, now the construction process is underway, hopefully it will run smoothly

  • Chandra Prakash
    Chandra PrakashDay ago

    Urban social management was never taken as a serious subject, only GDP focus and heeding no attention to biodiversity, neglecting climate change disaster signals, Human Beings are proving themselves as the biggest fools... atleast now it is time for ACTION..🙏

  • thefirstchampster
    thefirstchampsterDay ago

    I'm genuinely terrified for the year 2050.

  • Dion Gantengkan
    Dion GantengkanDay ago

    What is sinking ? i am indonesia. ora udud paru paru ora smile

  • Dion Gantengkan

    Dion Gantengkan

    21 hour ago

    @Bon G gak penting b inggris wkkwkwk asal nilai bagus juga dah enak

  • Bon G

    Bon G

    21 hour ago

    Sinking itu tenggelam dek, makanya kalo lagi bljr b.inggris dengerin👍👍

  • Dwi Haryanto
    Dwi Haryanto2 days ago

    bagus, serakah sih, yang dibangun cuma jakarta dan sekitarnya saja. Jawa Tengah saja yang masih satu pulau pembangunannya tertinggal.

  • Bon G

    Bon G

    21 hour ago


  • kuding Kuding
    kuding Kuding2 days ago

    I am proud to know it

  • kuding Kuding
    kuding Kuding2 days ago

    I am proud with this chanel

  • Florida Man
    Florida Man2 days ago

    For everypnes information vox is a racist supermacy for the left out a lot of what the very informative people were saying. Like you can obviously listen to them and they are saying more. The man saying that we had to build on top and top and on top but they just said we had to build taller. The lady said much more as well. I dont know the mans language but i do the womans . She said a whole lot more than what the captions stated. Although i will give you "vox" that you said something close at least to what they are saying and at least actually translated half of it! Lazy! Supressing the people to not state their full opinion. Disrespecting those and shutting them up.

  • Florida Man
    Florida Man2 days ago

    For everypnes information vox is a racist supermacy for the left out a lot of what the very informative people were saying. Like you can obviously listen to them and they are saying more. The man saying that we had to build on top and top and on top but they just said we had to build taller. The lady said much more as well. I dont know the mans language but i do the womans . She said a whole lot more than what the captions stated. Although i will give you "vox" that you said something close at least to what they are saying and at least actually translated half of it! Lazy! Supressing the people to not state their full opinion. Disrespecting those and shutting them up.

  • Wocky slush
    Wocky slush2 days ago

    Welp bye

  • Allyson Young
    Allyson Young2 days ago

    But I think that enough decades have passed from Dutch rule without having to blame them. The Indonesian government must now act.

  • aldo liong tanpanawas
    aldo liong tanpanawas2 days ago

    Im an indonesian the new capital will be tenggarong it will be in the "province" called east kalimantan thats all i know

  • para San
    para San2 days ago

    tragedy comes from an architect problem or street design.

  • Lintang Azzamta
    Lintang Azzamta2 days ago

    I told my friends that jakarta is sinking but they dont trust me :(

  • Sunsetblvd 1950
    Sunsetblvd 19502 days ago

    This is the first time a coverage about sinking jakarta mentioned the effects of colonization on the issue. Good research.

  • Yuma Atwood
    Yuma Atwood2 days ago

    the other side of suffering is Greatness .....

  • Naz
    Naz2 days ago

    Bc God dont like it.

  • Softly VNTconcept
    Softly VNTconcept2 days ago

    Hope they will solve that problem. Love from Philippines

  • Insat 444
    Insat 4442 days ago

    We are the dumbest species

  • ArQuel Yap
    ArQuel Yap2 days ago

    My Indonesian brothers and sisters, those walls may protect you from rising water but until when? I think removing some concrete flooring and making eco parks and transferring or planting many big trees can be a big help to absorb water. In our capital city the mayor developed and re-open eco parks so that nature and city are combined, but there are still places which is too urbanized and need more nature in it. I hope that Indonesia will soon solve this problem.

  • Asharaf Abdul Salam
    Asharaf Abdul Salam2 days ago

    People in Jakarta: No, you can't just invest Millions on some bird island that will take 30 years complete and will probably sink with rest of the city!! Venture: Haha big birdy go chirp chirp

  • Metadragon
    Metadragon2 days ago

    TL;DR: Blame Europeans.

    KOTA TAHU2 days ago

    Keberatan dg bangunan pencakar langit, terutama di jakarta utara yang berbatasan dgn laut...