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!
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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

    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

    • Na Ma
      Na Ma

      @Ecavex and we had over 800 million players worldwide, by the way Free fire is released before pubg mobile (sep 27 2017 before march 19 2018)

    • Na Ma
      Na Ma

      @Ecavex no we're different More futuristic

    • Ecavex

      @Na Ma FF more like pubg ripoff

    • lensa grapher
      lensa grapher

      @Vita indo is dump

    • lensa grapher
      lensa grapher

      @Na Ma yeah!!!

  • Gem Domingo
    Gem Domingo

    Last November, in our country Philippines, there's a Hurricane and the water rose 22 meters, our Country Philippines is near Indonesia and the Hurricane moved To Vietnam

  • why am I here
    why am I here

    Probably most people dont know about groundwater pump will make the city sink, majority news in Indonesia say that the sink is because of the climate chance. very few people know about the truth probably dont care, they keep using it, because they dont have many acces to the clean water.

  • dashe burner
    dashe burner

    The jagged jewel primarily sniff because apology frustratingly mourn without a heartbreaking footnote. fresh, curly anteater

  • taylor

    Hey, can we sue the dutch??

  • Juan Hernandez
    Juan Hernandez

    The alleged kevin repressingly divide because ticket supply appear abaft a embarrassed gate. mixed, wonderful beautician

  • JessenLH

    poor jakarta tho

  • Air Refresher
    Air Refresher

    Bruh, i was thought Jakarta is metrop metropolitan

  • Sinema Pemula
    Sinema Pemula

    why you don't blame Mr. Governor like everybody else?

    • Sinema Pemula
      Sinema Pemula

      @martha setiawan buzzer : "gak bisa bahasa enggress"

    • martha setiawan
      martha setiawan

      disini aman, gak ada simpatisan buzzer


    I live in Indonesia, but not in Jakarta. I live in Salatiga, Central java. Near merapi. I fell so bad for the people in Northern Jakarta.

  • Thiago Torres
    Thiago Torres

    Always freaking European expansionism at the root of todays problems

  • Not Gud
    Not Gud

    What if Jakarta turns into Atlantis V2

  • G. U . M
    G. U . M

    Colonization is the root cause of most of the Easter worlds problem.

  • S.S.M. Artism
    S.S.M. Artism


  • Helloverlord

    So, basically, according to woman at 6:00 Dutch are to blame becouse Indonesians didnt have piped water to every home? Why they did force Dutches to make it for them? Oh, they couldnt, they had better stuff to do, like building mosques - first things first, I got it. ...but, maybe, I dont know, they could invite Dutch to invade them again but this time to do proper job and lay all the pipes, yes?

  • Muhammad Danish
    Muhammad Danish

    Jakarta: " I'm sinking" Captain Cairo: " what are you "sinking" about?"

  • Pisces 28
    Pisces 28

    I don't know why the governments never talk *about reducing the population* ... I'm as Indonesian and who was born there... Like man.. never imagine like how or why is that even there in the first place..😅😅😅 I guess 'they' will just corrupt until eternity. I'm sorry for this kind of depressed statement but I would rather be optimistic in other things.. because it isn't only about *the water* but also the *mentality itself*

  • Pisces 28
    Pisces 28

    Indonesian be like: *AKU TERPESONA* *AKU GAK BISA BAHASA INGGRIS ._.*

  • whitechick zero
    whitechick zero

    Because, Right now, Goodbener is SIN THINK, May Book Religion Take a Beer 😁



  • 1337fraggzb00N

    Jakarta:"We are sinking! We are sinking!" German engineer:"What... what are you sinking about?"

  • Dream Z
    Dream Z

    Pakek jantung naga legendaris aja yang bisa membuat 1000 pulau mengapung

  • Just Yuyun
    Just Yuyun

    the goverment is blinded by money for developing their megacity, that they invite more company and people to built building but forget to repair the city structure itself , from outside it may look okay but the truth everything is in chaos in that city . and don't forget about the people who moving from other city and province them self . i was once live in jakarta myself and been many time to the northen part of the city and it's scary knowing that on some place the sea surface is way up above the ground level . we have a lot of tsunami attacking our country this past 2 decade . wonder what gonna happen if there and underwater earthquake in northern of jakarta ... they gonna sunk immediately ......... erased from the map .

  • Drew Senna
    Drew Senna

    Whoa, I didn't know that there used to be more Chinese living in Batavia than Bandanese

  • knight flame
    knight flame

    Can you make a vedio about Bangladesh climate effect?


    Im from Indonesian

  • Reseviladik Productions
    Reseviladik Productions

    Just like what happened in the great kingdom of sundaland :(

  • Beniah Siahaan
    Beniah Siahaan


    • Ilham Pratama
      Ilham Pratama

      Iya, bisa aja jakarta tenggelam pada tahun 2050. Liat aja masjid nya gua😭 dah mau tenggelam, bisa bisa jakarta seperti Atlantis

  • Katie Kat
    Katie Kat

    I hope they don't move the capital to Borneo b/c that island has a lot of big and small animals that are very close to extinction.

  • raphael diaz
    raphael diaz

    I feel greateful for living at an apartment in jakarta now

  • Benz mf
    Benz mf

    As an Indonesian, what a shame how the international media portrays my country! Indonesia has many resources but without good human resources we are still nothing. Embarrassing!

  • Raja Sri Indra
    Raja Sri Indra

    Karma are real

    • martha setiawan
      martha setiawan

      karma atas hal apa?

    • atika fitriyani
      atika fitriyani

      karma dari apa?

  • naufal satira
    naufal satira

    Is our government saw this as a big problem?

  • yossi aulia
    yossi aulia

    There are so many Indonesian who doesn't know what is the actual problem of the flooding in Jakarta, and yeah me don't know as well untill I watch this

  • Yanto Delahoya
    Yanto Delahoya

    Dog Content, you now Jakarta , provokasi its content

  • Ricardo Ruiz
    Ricardo Ruiz

    Human greed is becoming the biggest issue 💚🌏

  • M. Arko Sachtito. G
    M. Arko Sachtito. G

    Untung gua tinggal di pedesaan yang tidak terlalu dalam

  • Rizki Ramadhan
    Rizki Ramadhan

    Pada pindah dari Jakarta

  • Man From Earth
    Man From Earth

    Cara memilih _the next_ Gubernur Jakarta 1. Pastikan mereka main minecraft 2. Pastikan mereka main minecraft 3. Pastikan mereka main minecraft 4. Langsung pilih no debat.

  • Alparslan Korkmaz
    Alparslan Korkmaz

    Nice video.

  • Yoga Andoyo Aji
    Yoga Andoyo Aji

    VOX : jakarta sinking! Government of indonesia : lets countinue to doing corruption

  • Mark Shiman
    Mark Shiman

    Isn't the solution obvious? Just use rain water... the same rain water that isn't filling the aquifers.

  • chymev

    Whats the similarities between the dutch colony and local indonesian government? To combat these water problem, lets move somewhere else and save ourselves.

  • Kurumi Chan
    Kurumi Chan

    Banjir lagi banjir lagi 😭

  • oiuet souiu
    oiuet souiu

    My goodness. We’ve got so many brilliant minds, so much technology but no will power to do right by people. We have failed as a species.

    • oiuet souiu
      oiuet souiu

      Jakarta government need to ask to tokyo and hongkong for sinking problem.

  • TAC C-Observer
    TAC C-Observer


  • Nozyspy

    "A mentality that indigenous peoples did not understand sanitation and were not civilised" Mmm healthy trash filled streets you have there.

  • Ramirez Mckenzie
    Ramirez Mckenzie

    The Dutch are responsible for messing up this city, let that sink in

  • kat Mats
    kat Mats

    Looks like China is about to move right in,

  • Mw Zuhdi
    Mw Zuhdi

    siapa ke sini gara gara tik tok

  • CK Gaming Channel
    CK Gaming Channel

    They should build a floating city that relies on buoyancy to stay above water level.

  • S Suchiang
    S Suchiang

    Sad to see Jakarta is sinking but their government or media don't cover this problem facing by people


    Ehh njing, jakarta kok jelek banget lo sorot, udah kayak pemukiman monyet

    • atika fitriyani
      atika fitriyani


  • Alex Jefferson
    Alex Jefferson


  • Asrar Kucang
    Asrar Kucang

    Nga bisa bahasa Inggris 😅🤣

    • ReyTX2402

      Subtitle: apakah aku sebuah candaan?

  • del

    thank you so much for speaking up about this !!

  • Jamilah Wati
    Jamilah Wati

    Inilah alasan Air Hujan harus terserap kedalam tanah, tidak dibuang ke laut. Sunatulah...

  • Soodam사랑

    Look at the reality

  • G TEAM
    G TEAM

    This is a sign from god. This mosque but be a truly unholy place.

  • eyal rubin
    eyal rubin

    sorry but the government is so bad and so incredibly corrupted its ridiculous ,the Indonesian people really don't deserve this.

  • joshuahunt05

    How west ruins the east...

  • V Soo
    V Soo

    Jakarta government need to ask to tokyo and hongkong for sinking problem.

  • Joe Jgrhb
    Joe Jgrhb

    Yes, finally

  • Joe Jgrhb
    Joe Jgrhb

    Glad it sink, now the government has reduced excuses for corruption

    • Ramirez Mckenzie
      Ramirez Mckenzie

      But it negatively affecting people’s lives

  • lanvia

    well now i know why my house keeps flooding when it has never flooded before..

  • Prince Psionic
    Prince Psionic

    Rip Jakarta, my birthplace :(

  • 4rmDEC2FRE

    the dutch should pay for the repairs

  • wawan listanto
    wawan listanto


  • Top 10 ID
    Top 10 ID

    Indonesian media should make a content like this!

  • M F
    M F

    Jakarta sinking Indonesia media:JKT vs KL Indonesia people:jakarta win Malaysia people:🏆🏆🏆👏👏👏

  • Raj Kumar Maity
    Raj Kumar Maity

    U cud change d sea water to drink water... extraction of salt...

    • Prince Psionic
      Prince Psionic

      Expensive method, opposition government won't approve

  • RAFROST_141


  • danielroling

    You can refill the Aquifer. We used to do that in Israel after a good raining season.

  • Zuraida Nasution
    Zuraida Nasution

    Asuuu..lo mbhs jkarta thn brp min..sktoy lo min.j

  • Metodi Angelov
    Metodi Angelov

    The goal of the media is to make others problems your problems

    • Rehan Fauzan
      Rehan Fauzan

      that's the problem with creating awareness

  • Aan Najmi
    Aan Najmi

    BBC Indonesia documentary

  • Psyché

    I'm worried now.... Jakarta's population has been increasing rapidly and will increase in the future, addition to that, due to the pandemic, it will get worse.. I'm just hoping the government will take action ASAP.

  • Lu Cho
    Lu Cho

    = Mexico city.

  • han 90
    han 90

    Why station TV in indonesia don't make film like this.. this content have good value specially to indonesian people.. thanks vox.

  • Nguyen Hieu
    Nguyen Hieu

    I sorry guy,i just ask Zeus to ask Poseidon to upper the sea levels

  • natural mystic
    natural mystic

    I like the wall of Jakarta idea. It's like making a solution with a style!! 😅

  • edi kemput
    edi kemput

    maybe someday, there are a history book tell people about Atlantis as sinking continent and Jakarta as sinking metropolis.

  • cakra bawana
    cakra bawana

    Thats right. Many city is sinking like Jakarta this island.

  • Refrigerator

    ternyata salah belanda

    • atika fitriyani
      atika fitriyani

      pemerintah dan masyarakat nya juga harus ikut ambil dari masalah ini jangan nyalahin belanda doang

    • firman harwanto
      firman harwanto

      tatanan kurang sip

  • Gmbh

    many around the world dont know how to swim yet

  • Muhammad Talenta Rachmansyah
    Muhammad Talenta Rachmansyah

    Jakarta People: Help! Our city is sinking! Atlantis: look, we have our new neigborhood!

    • Local DeadChild
      Local DeadChild

      @Joe Jgrhb why

    • Man From Earth
      Man From Earth

      @Joe Jgrhb well, u said you hate Indonesia, not Indonesians..

    • Joe Jgrhb
      Joe Jgrhb

      @デイブ•`• dude i don't hate the people, is just simply the government is overly corrupt

    • デイブ•`•

      @Joe Jgrhb awas nanti ada yang lapor polisi mampus lu

    • J .N
      J .N

      @Joe Jgrhb why?

  • Boo

    Highest price land in Indonesia will become a swamp in 2050 GGWP to all Jakarta's land lords out there

  • ᥣꪮꪚᥱᥣꪗ

    We indonesians are used to it. Every new year it happens

  • Sajan Gurung
    Sajan Gurung

    Indonesia : we are sinking , let’s force shariya law to stop it

  • Pandha 2
    Pandha 2

    and voila, the solution for the jakarta's flood is right here, hope the local and state governments be cooperative and take the both egos aside, no more politics, make humanity come first

  • The GoldStandard
    The GoldStandard

    Is that why Obama is buying beachfront property presently in Martha’s Vineyard

  • obdientroger

    sad anies baswe

  • Eki Kadabra
    Eki Kadabra

    Peninggalan belanda memang keren ya mulai dari korupsi dll

  • La Alegancia
    La Alegancia

    All the memes on twitter be like : AHOK (former governor) : Jakarta fellas this is what u looking for right? I helped you to live without flood for several years but you put me in jail Jakarta citizen : it is okay to be livin with flood as long as our leader is Musl*m 🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️🤦‍♂️


    haha singapores clean tap water system go brrr


    haha singapores clean tap water system go brrr

  • Ashley Giron
    Ashley Giron

    The parched geometry universally wonder because substance essentially try alongside a bizarre shell. peaceful, parallel vulture

  • Khoa Phạm
    Khoa Phạm

    Hey Jakarta say Hi to Atlantis 🤣🤣🤣

  • Anurag

    RIP jakarta

  • Khairunnisa


    • atika fitriyani
      atika fitriyani