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
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  1. 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

  2. Fatih BG

    Fatih BG9 hours ago

    @Na Ma frii payer buril

  3. Argent Knight

    Argent KnightDay ago


  4. Rynaldy Cavdra

    Rynaldy Cavdra2 days ago

    I explain about Indonesia again plzz,,,

  5. Om Prast

    Om Prast3 days ago

    Wow, matur suwon

  6. Kareem Kalisari

    Kareem Kalisari3 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

  7. Tavar Firestone

    Tavar Firestone31 minute ago

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

  8. Ayu nengsih

    Ayu nengsihHour ago

    Pr banyak yang harus di benahi

  9. Lucas

    Lucas3 hours ago

    Jakarta is beyond repair

  10. Daniel Wilson

    Daniel Wilson3 hours ago

    Where is Patrick Star when you need him?

  11. D. Mark Agostinelli

    D. Mark Agostinelli4 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?

  12. sivia nunez

    sivia nunez4 hours ago

    Do they have 🌋?

  13. mossy art

    mossy art6 hours ago

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

  14. Purple Pink Trends

    Purple Pink Trends6 hours ago

    Stay safe Indonesian friends

  15. FBI

    FBI7 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? 👁️👄👁️

  16. wiwien

    wiwien7 hours ago

    What a curse of being colonized by the Dutch!

  17. Aman Saraf

    Aman Saraf7 hours ago

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

  18. Claive

    Claive8 hours ago

    Be safe to my neighborhood country people ❤

  19. Wimpy

    Wimpy9 hours ago

    Some people believe because of ice caps lamao

  20. MinecraftDude11

    MinecraftDude119 hours ago

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

  21. Goresan Hitam

    Goresan Hitam10 hours ago

    Mampus 😆🤭 canda

  22. DS_ MaulanaAlvian

    DS_ MaulanaAlvian10 hours ago

    cuz w ar fool

  23. bcvbb hyui

    bcvbb hyui11 hours ago

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

  24. • Pepe •

    • Pepe •12 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.

  25. bcvbb hyui

    bcvbb hyui11 hours ago

    I'm here bc PVCs such a pepega adhd andy

  26. Josh Davis

    Josh Davis12 hours ago

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

  27. DZ

    DZ13 hours ago

    Colonizers zz

  28. AMisfitsDiary

    AMisfitsDiary14 hours ago

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

  29. MJ Caranto

    MJ Caranto14 hours ago

    that because indonisian in jakarta keep using wells

  30. KolonK Sporadis

    KolonK Sporadis14 hours 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.

  31. KolonK Sporadis

    KolonK Sporadis14 hours ago

    @Bon G siapa yg bocah?

  32. Bon G

    Bon G14 hours ago

    Lol bocahh

  33. bestamerica

    bestamerica17 hours ago

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

  34. surreal romiics

    surreal romiics17 hours ago


  35. Gamilagalo Ear

    Gamilagalo Ear18 hours 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

  36. Gamilagalo Ear

    Gamilagalo Ear18 hours ago

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

  37. T MindGame

    T MindGame19 hours ago

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

  38. Bon G

    Bon G14 hours ago

    WKWK, orangnya ga ada akal

  39. Robby darmawan

    Robby darmawan20 hours ago

    Thank you Vox for information 🙏

  40. amana sivkem abe

    amana sivkem abe20 hours 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

  41. Shauna Fuller

    Shauna Fuller21 hour ago

    Great information

  42. REgamesplayer

    REgamesplayer23 hours 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.

  43. Ro Shambo

    Ro Shambo23 hours ago

    Weird time to advertise the vox logo..

  44. iunno o

    iunno o23 hours ago

    I'm here bc PVCs such a pepega adhd andy

  45. Lazy Islander

    Lazy Islander23 hours ago

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

  46. 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.

  47. 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 🙄

  48. Ezee Baqi

    Ezee BaqiDay ago


  49. Yuriy Zubov

    Yuriy ZubovDay ago

    Thanks for the material.

  50. Yogi Tamaki

    Yogi TamakiDay ago

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

  51. 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

  52. Ads Sound

    Ads SoundDay ago

    I am grateful the Dutch colonial left 🤣🤣🤣

  53. Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock HolmesDay ago

    Bangkok too.

  54. 3b Aisha Shabrina

    3b Aisha ShabrinaDay ago

    Hello my country :v

  55. Your Mom

    Your MomDay ago

    As a jakartan im pretty siked about being a merman

  56. ArzaHelkilporo

    ArzaHelkilporoDay ago

    I have no comment because it's true

  57. AyoWassupBro

    AyoWassupBroDay ago

    So is it the dutch fault?

  58. SkinnerClimbs

    SkinnerClimbsDay ago

    Blame colonisation

  59. M. Faiz Septian

    M. Faiz SeptianDay ago

    dont know either

  60. Yashin Yoku

    Yashin YokuDay ago

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

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. Sasha's Potato

    Sasha's PotatoDay ago

    Oh my gawd...

  64. The Zhafran

    The ZhafranDay ago

    Who else live in jakarta? Me

  65. The Zhafran

    The ZhafranDay ago

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

  66. The Zhafran

    The ZhafranDay ago


  67. Sasongko *

    Sasongko *Day ago

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

  68. Yunita Puspita

    Yunita PuspitaDay ago

    Tanah Air Yang Kucintaaaaa Engkau kubanggakan

  69. 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!❤️❤️🙏🏼.....

  70. 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.

  71. Querencia.tv

    Querencia.tvDay ago

    Nice ☺️ ❤️&✌️

  72. nico orlando

    nico orlandoDay ago

    Hmm yes the start of 2020 it actually flooded my house

  73. MrFlipperInvader792

    MrFlipperInvader792Day ago

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

  74. D0d3s

    D0d3sDay ago

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

  75. 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..🙏

  76. thefirstchampster

    thefirstchampsterDay ago

    I'm genuinely terrified for the year 2050.

  77. Dion Gantengkan

    Dion GantengkanDay ago

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

  78. Dion Gantengkan

    Dion Gantengkan14 hours ago

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

  79. Bon G

    Bon G14 hours ago

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

  80. Dwi Haryanto

    Dwi HaryantoDay ago

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

  81. Bon G

    Bon G14 hours ago


  82. kuding Kuding

    kuding KudingDay ago

    I am proud to know it

  83. kuding Kuding

    kuding KudingDay ago

    I am proud with this chanel

  84. Florida Man

    Florida ManDay 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.

  85. Florida Man

    Florida ManDay 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.

  86. Wocky slush

    Wocky slushDay ago

    Welp bye

  87. Allyson Young

    Allyson YoungDay ago

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

  88. aldo liong tanpanawas

    aldo liong tanpanawasDay ago

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

  89. para San

    para SanDay ago

    tragedy comes from an architect problem or street design.

  90. Lintang Azzamta

    Lintang AzzamtaDay ago

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

  91. Sunsetblvd 1950

    Sunsetblvd 1950Day ago

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

  92. Yuma Atwood

    Yuma Atwood2 days ago

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

  93. Naz

    Naz2 days ago

    Bc God dont like it.

  94. Softly VNTconcept

    Softly VNTconcept2 days ago

    Hope they will solve that problem. Love from Philippines

  95. Insat 444

    Insat 4442 days ago

    We are the dumbest species

  96. 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.

  97. 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

  98. 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...

  100. WR 96

    WR 962 days ago

    Jakarta is sinking. The local govt: And what about it? 💅🏼💅🏼💅🏼

  101. Ramkumar Suresh N V

    Ramkumar Suresh N V2 days ago

    Another city in India, Chennai is facing the same symptoms but is at an earlier stage, it is not sinking yet.

  102. Pranshu Pandya

    Pranshu Pandya2 days ago

    why is the us air force showing me a filmy ad to join it---while im an indian in india

  103. Rezky Donny Putranto

    Rezky Donny Putranto2 days ago

    And people still protesting about moving the capital into Borneo? Dude, just your city is literally sinking 😂

  104. Quttubuddin Al Abin Aibak Ulf Sheikh

    Quttubuddin Al Abin Aibak Ulf Sheikh2 days ago

    Jakarta: *Sinking 92,000 people: I like this!

  105. ken PRIVATE

    ken PRIVATE2 days ago

    boats: *I see this as an absolute win!*

  106. anjali mathur

    anjali mathur2 days ago

    European powers really messed up a lot!



    im life in surabaya

  108. Lotusamb Jeruk

    Lotusamb Jeruk2 days ago

    no one asked

  109. Dogma

    Dogma2 days ago

    I don’t wanna hear this language again, sink faster.

  110. EpicSayGamer

    EpicSayGamer2 days ago

    Jakarta sinks Disney: Let's make. A sequel to atlantis the lost empire Jakarta: The lost Empire

  111. EpicSayGamer

    EpicSayGamer2 days ago

    If only trump was still the us president

  112. Danang Graito

    Danang Graito2 days ago

    Yup... But don't worry, because in Jakarta, most religious people believes that "What is coming is better than what is gone" .الجيات أحسن من الرايحات So when the city is fully underwater, let's just eat potato chips and see how their faces reaction from our phones.

  113. Hendrianjayyy

    Hendrianjayyy2 days ago

    Can't wait

  114. Jeanelle Lagrimas

    Jeanelle Lagrimas2 days ago

    Very informative ✨