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


  1. Vox


    16 dagar sedan

    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

    • Argent Knight

      Argent Knight

      16 timmar sedan


    • Rynaldy Cavdra

      Rynaldy Cavdra

      2 dagar sedan

      I explain about Indonesia again plzz,,,

    • Om Prast

      Om Prast

      2 dagar sedan

      Wow, matur suwon

    • Kareem Kalisari

      Kareem Kalisari

      3 dagar sedan

      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

    • Obama is Epic

      Obama is Epic

      3 dagar sedan

      Mobile legend is Weird games.

  2. surreal romiics

    surreal romiics

    Minut sedan


  3. Gamilagalo Ear

    Gamilagalo Ear

    Timme sedan

    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

  4. Gamilagalo Ear

    Gamilagalo Ear

    Timme sedan

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

  5. T MindGame

    T MindGame

    Timme sedan

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

  6. Robby darmawan

    Robby darmawan

    3 timmar sedan

    Thank you Vox for information 🙏

  7. amana sivkem abe

    amana sivkem abe

    3 timmar sedan

    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

  8. Shauna Fuller

    Shauna Fuller

    4 timmar sedan

    Great information

  9. REgamesplayer


    5 timmar sedan

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

  10. Ro Shambo

    Ro Shambo

    5 timmar sedan

    Weird time to advertise the vox logo..

  11. iunno o

    iunno o

    5 timmar sedan

    I'm here bc PVCs such a pepega adhd andy

  12. Lazy Islander

    Lazy Islander

    6 timmar sedan

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

  13. am_ taur

    am_ taur

    7 timmar sedan

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

  14. bronxgirl712


    7 timmar sedan

    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 🙄

  15. Ezee Baqi

    Ezee Baqi

    9 timmar sedan


  16. Yuriy Zubov

    Yuriy Zubov

    10 timmar sedan

    Thanks for the material.

  17. Yogi Tamaki

    Yogi Tamaki

    10 timmar sedan

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

  18. Blaise Hope

    Blaise Hope

    11 timmar sedan

    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

  19. Ads Sound

    Ads Sound

    12 timmar sedan

    I am grateful the Dutch colonial left 🤣🤣🤣

  20. Sherlock Holmes

    Sherlock Holmes

    13 timmar sedan

    Bangkok too.

  21. 3b Aisha Shabrina

    3b Aisha Shabrina

    13 timmar sedan

    Hello my country :v

  22. Your Mom

    Your Mom

    14 timmar sedan

    As a jakartan im pretty siked about being a merman

  23. ArzaHelkilporo


    14 timmar sedan

    I have no comment because it's true

  24. AyoWassupBro


    14 timmar sedan

    So is it the dutch fault?

    • SkinnerClimbs


      11 timmar sedan

      Blame colonisation

  25. M. Faiz Septian

    M. Faiz Septian

    15 timmar sedan

    dont know either

  26. Yashin Yoku

    Yashin Yoku

    16 timmar sedan

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

  27. now lomme

    now lomme

    17 timmar sedan

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

  28. Akim Amin

    Akim Amin

    18 timmar sedan

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

  29. Sasha's Potato

    Sasha's Potato

    19 timmar sedan

    Oh my gawd...

  30. The Zhafran

    The Zhafran

    19 timmar sedan

    Who else live in jakarta? Me

  31. The Zhafran

    The Zhafran

    20 timmar sedan

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

  32. The Zhafran

    The Zhafran

    20 timmar sedan


  33. Sasongko *

    Sasongko *

    20 timmar sedan

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

  34. Yunita Puspita

    Yunita Puspita

    20 timmar sedan

    Tanah Air Yang Kucintaaaaa Engkau kubanggakan

  35. Gotcha Open 2

    Gotcha Open 2

    20 timmar sedan

    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!❤️❤️🙏🏼.....

  36. Soumyasish Bhattacharyya

    Soumyasish Bhattacharyya

    21 timme sedan

    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.

  37. Querencia.tv


    22 timmar sedan

    Nice ☺️ ❤️&✌️

  38. nico orlando

    nico orlando

    22 timmar sedan

    Hmm yes the start of 2020 it actually flooded my house

  39. MrFlipperInvader792


    22 timmar sedan

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

  40. Diodes


    22 timmar sedan

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

  41. Chandra Prakash

    Chandra Prakash

    22 timmar sedan

    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..🙏

  42. thefirstchampster


    22 timmar sedan

    I'm genuinely terrified for the year 2050.

  43. Dion Gantengkan

    Dion Gantengkan

    23 timmar sedan

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

  44. Dwi Haryanto

    Dwi Haryanto

    Dag sedan

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

  45. kuding Kuding

    kuding Kuding

    Dag sedan

    I am proud to know it

  46. kuding Kuding

    kuding Kuding

    Dag sedan

    I am proud with this chanel

  47. Florida Man

    Florida Man

    Dag sedan

    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.

  48. Florida Man

    Florida Man

    Dag sedan

    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.

  49. Wocky slush

    Wocky slush

    Dag sedan

    Welp bye

  50. Allyson Young

    Allyson Young

    Dag sedan

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

  51. aldo liong tanpanawas

    aldo liong tanpanawas

    Dag sedan

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

  52. para San

    para San

    Dag sedan

    tragedy comes from an architect problem or street design.

  53. Lintang Azzamta

    Lintang Azzamta

    Dag sedan

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

  54. Sunsetblvd 1950

    Sunsetblvd 1950

    Dag sedan

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

  55. Yuma Atwood

    Yuma Atwood

    Dag sedan

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

  56. Naz


    Dag sedan

    Bc God dont like it.

  57. Softly VNTconcept

    Softly VNTconcept

    Dag sedan

    Hope they will solve that problem. Love from Philippines

  58. Insat 444

    Insat 444

    Dag sedan

    We are the dumbest species

  59. ArQuel Yap

    ArQuel Yap

    Dag sedan

    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.

  60. Asharaf Abdul Salam

    Asharaf Abdul Salam

    Dag sedan

    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

  61. Metadragon


    Dag sedan

    TL;DR: Blame Europeans.



    Dag sedan

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

  63. WR 96

    WR 96

    Dag sedan

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

  64. Ramkumar Suresh N V

    Ramkumar Suresh N V

    Dag sedan

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

  65. Pranshu Pandya

    Pranshu Pandya

    Dag sedan

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

  66. Rezky Donny Putranto

    Rezky Donny Putranto

    Dag sedan

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

  67. Quttubuddin Al Abin Aibak Ulf Sheikh

    Quttubuddin Al Abin Aibak Ulf Sheikh

    Dag sedan

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

  68. ken PRIVATE

    ken PRIVATE

    Dag sedan

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

  69. anjali mathur

    anjali mathur

    Dag sedan

    European powers really messed up a lot!



    Dag sedan

    im life in surabaya

    • Lotusamb Jeruk

      Lotusamb Jeruk

      Dag sedan

      no one asked

  71. Dogma


    Dag sedan

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

  72. EpicSayGamer


    Dag sedan

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

  73. EpicSayGamer


    Dag sedan

    If only trump was still the us president

  74. Danang Graito

    Danang Graito

    Dag sedan

    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.

  75. Hendrianjayyy


    2 dagar sedan

    Can't wait

  76. Jeanelle Lagrimas

    Jeanelle Lagrimas

    2 dagar sedan

    Very informative ✨

  77. funkiemonkie


    2 dagar sedan

    bro just move

  78. Kany Sabila

    Kany Sabila

    2 dagar sedan

    Other SEA countries: battling societal problems Indonesians: we have enough natural problems already. If we had to face societal problems too, might as well fly to the moon

  79. Johari Talib

    Johari Talib

    2 dagar sedan

    Too much jamu, too many people digging well for dresh water, poor irrigation, too many prostitusi

  80. Visal Hendraa

    Visal Hendraa

    2 dagar sedan

    The Government is still busy with their politcal problem and corruption issue and never solve their sinking city

  81. Rynaldy Cavdra

    Rynaldy Cavdra

    2 dagar sedan

    Thank you Vox for this interesting news, and explaining the perspective of the outside media, and for comparing the explanations from our domestic media.

  82. Devania Sou

    Devania Sou

    2 dagar sedan

    Not only Jakarta will sink, but several cities will also sink in the future (due to human factors and natural factors) I hope the local government can plan something better so that the cities don't sink and all will be okay (I'm using google translate, so If there's any sentence or word are wrong tell me... so I can learn more^^ Thank You)

  83. avarice seven

    avarice seven

    2 dagar sedan

    So they're going to make a bird-shaped island that takes 30 years to complete (if ever undertaken), instead of giving them piped water?

  84. Ya Boi Boris

    Ya Boi Boris

    2 dagar sedan

    So once again it's societys fault

  85. Capital A

    Capital A

    2 dagar sedan

    Why are brown people around the world subjugated to lighter-skinned people?

  86. Be Yourself

    Be Yourself

    2 dagar sedan

    *did you know indonesian engineer can make flying city ?* They are have the blueprint and please, keep its secret don't tell anyone 🙊

  87. Ker Loz

    Ker Loz

    2 dagar sedan

    The vengeful connection coincidently bolt because swing proportionally correct beside a paltry defense. tired, vast fragrance

  88. Muris Halilovic

    Muris Halilovic

    2 dagar sedan

    Here is one solution make dutch pay for it.

  89. Sony Digital

    Sony Digital

    2 dagar sedan

    poor indonesia

  90. Felipe Valdés

    Felipe Valdés

    2 dagar sedan

    Kenapa ga ada yg membahas tentang itu di Indonesia?

    • Athilla Ruben

      Athilla Ruben

      21 timme sedan

      ada kayak dari CNN Indonesia pernah contohnya atau metro tv, namun pembahasan mendalam jarang sekali ada, sekalinya berita banjir yaa seputar banjir itu, jadi pengetahuan warga hanya berputar disitu saja tidak mendalam tidak meluas

    • nita


      Dag sedan

      Sebagian video ini ada di pelajaran sejarah waktu sekolah felipe sebenarnya tentang jakarta akan tengelam ataupun pulau yang hilang dan muncul kembali pernah viral beberapa tau yang lalu. Bukanya gak di bahasa tapi karna sudah pernah di bahas beberapa tahun yang lalu. Dan tidak di beritakan lagi jadi sebagian orang tidak tau.

    • Player 257

      Player 257

      Dag sedan

      Mungkin butanya media Indonesia yang hanya melihat berita terviral, bukan terpenting

    • Akumaru Saburo

      Akumaru Saburo

      Dag sedan

      Ada kok banyak, tapi Orang² lebih tertarik sama berita hiburan, hadeuh..

    • Noir.


      Dag sedan

      Krn ga ada yg mau nonton jg. Banyak kok di SE-one. Cari aja dan liat aja sendiri. Views nya cmn secuil dibanding acara gossip ato video viral.

  91. Dustin


    2 dagar sedan

    They could also start tearing out concrete and create lots of parks that double as rainwater basins that will allow the aquifer to refill as they lay pipes. Instead of seawall why aren't they just building a water treatment and delivery system?

  92. Dustin


    2 dagar sedan

    When Jakarta became independent from the Dutch and started their extreme growth, why wasn't the city planned or piped as it grew? That doesn't make sense to me.

  93. dwiky hermawan

    dwiky hermawan

    2 dagar sedan

    Jakarta sinking bec lot of greedy ppl!

  94. good animation

    good animation

    2 dagar sedan

    For someone who already lives in jakarta this bonechilling😨😨😨

  95. L.K. Lim

    L.K. Lim

    2 dagar sedan

    Have to start seeking new sources of water first (like water treatment plants) and then de-commissioned the use of piped water afterward. Find meaning to channel rainwater back to underground. No use building walls if you didnt solve the root cause of the issue in the very first place in which that bird plan is seriously just draining money into the sea lol.

  96. 2011 Toyota Innova Type V Diesel

    2011 Toyota Innova Type V Diesel

    2 dagar sedan

    Indonesia need dutch

  97. Lisa Su

    Lisa Su

    2 dagar sedan

    build the city underwater problem solved.

  98. Muhammad Yasin

    Muhammad Yasin

    2 dagar sedan

    Saatnya siapin perahu . Pemerintah mencoba buta

  99. Ahmad Sanusi Hassan

    Ahmad Sanusi Hassan

    2 dagar sedan

    Most population in Kota Bharu Kelantan in Malaysia also rely on ground water. ..... pls help from the federal govt....

  100. Kaia Jensen

    Kaia Jensen

    2 dagar sedan

    These people are so so strong for dealing with this for decades.