Republic of Indonesia
  • Sang Saka Merah-Putih
  • Bendera Merah-Putih
  • Merah-Putih
UseNational flag and ensign Small vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flagSmall vexillological symbol or pictogram in black and white showing the different uses of the flag
Adopted11 November 1293 (Majapahit Empire)
28 October 1928 (standardized)
17 August 1945; 78 years ago (1945-08-17) (original)
17 August 1950; 73 years ago (1950-08-17) (official)
DesignA horizontal bicolour of red and white

The national flag of Indonesia is a simple bicolor with two horizontal bands, red (top) and white (bottom) with an overall ratio of 2:3.[1] It was introduced and hoisted in public during the proclamation of independence on 17 August 1945 at 56 Proklamasi Street (formerly Pegangsaan Timur Street) in Jakarta, and again when the Dutch formally transferred sovereignty on 27 December 1949. The design of the flag has remained unchanged since.

The flag of Indonesia is graphically similar to the flag of Monaco, with a slight difference in the shade of red, and ratio of its dimensions. The flag of Poland has similar dimensions but has the colours reversed: white on top and red on the bottom. In both Monaco's and Poland's flags, the reds are of a slightly darker shade than that of Indonesia. The flag of Singapore has the exact same dimensions as Indonesia's, but supplemented with a white crescent moon and five stars in a pentagram at the upper left corner of the flag, of which the red is of a slightly lighter shade.

The "Naval Jack of Indonesia" is reserved for sole use by the Indonesian Navy. It flies from the jackstaff of every active Indonesian warship while anchored or moored pierside and on special occasions. The design of the jack is described as nine alternating stripes, consisted of five red and four white stripes. It is nicknamed Sang Saka Merah Putih, lit.'The Heirloom Red-White'. The naval jack dates to the age of Majapahit Empire. This empire, renowned for its great maritime strength, flew similar jacks on its vessels.[2]


Hoisting of the Bendera Pusaka moment during the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence on 17 August 1945
Royal colors of Majapahit Empire

The flag's colours are derived from the banner of the 13th century Majapahit Empire.[3] However, it has been suggested that the red and white symbolism can trace its origin to the older common Austronesian mythology of the duality of Mother Earth (red) and Father Sky (white). This is why these colours appear in so many flags throughout Austronesia, from Tahiti to Madagascar.[4] The earliest records of the red and white panji or pataka (a long flag on a curved bamboo pole) can be found in the Pararaton chronicle; according to this source, the Jayakatwang troops from Gelang-Gelang hoisted the red and white banner during their invasion of Singhasari in the early 12th century. This suggests that even before the Majapahit era, the red and white colours were already revered and used as the kingdom's banner in the Kediri era (1042 – c. 1222).

Red and white textile colouring was available in ancient Indonesia. White is the natural colour of woven cotton fabrics, while red is one of the earliest natural dyes, acquired either from teak leaves,[5] the flowers of Averrhoa bilimbi, or the skin of mangosteen fruits.[6]

It was not only the Javanese kingdoms that used red and white. The battle flag of King Si Singamangaraja IX of Batak lands bore an image of white twin swords called piso gaja dompak against a red background.[7] During the Aceh War of 1873–1904, Aceh warriors used a battle flag with the image of a sword, star and crescent, sun, and some Quranic script in white on a red background.[8] The red and white flag of the Buginese Bone kingdom in South Sulawesi is called Woromporang.[9] The Balinese Badung (Puri Pamecutan) royal banner is red, white, and black.[10] Prince Diponegoro also used a red and white banner during the Java War (1825–1830).

Perhimpoenan Indonesia's banteng flag from the Gedenkboek: 1908-1923 cover

In the early 20th century, these colours were revived by students and then nationalists as an expression of nationalism against the Dutch. A precursor design was first seen on the cover of a Dutch magazine titled Gedenkboek 1908-1923 run by the Perhimpoenan Indonesia ('Indonesian Association'). Compiling 13 letters written by its anonymous members, it had a sinister hoisted flag of a red and white stripe superimposed with the head of a banteng facing away from the hoist.[11] The modern red and white flag sans banteng head was first flown in Java in 1928, it was quickly prohibited under Dutch rule. It became the flag adopted by the Kesatuan Melayu Muda to symbolise Malay nationalism against European colonialism. Upon Indonesia's declaration of independence on 17 August 1945, it was adopted as the national flag, and has been in use ever since.[12] After Indonesia's independence was recognized, Monaco, which had a similar flag, filed a complaint which was largely ignored.[13]

Hotel Yamato incident

See also: Hotel Yamato Incident

A moment after the blue stripe of a Dutch flag was torn off to make an Indonesian flag at the Hotel Yamato (now Hotel Majapahit), Surabaya

The flag featured in a well-known incident during the Indonesian War of Independence when during the lead-up to the Battle of Surabaya in late 1945, Indonesian youths removed a colonial Dutch flag flying over the Yamato Hotel, tore off the blue strip and re-hoisted it as an Indonesian flag. The hotel was subsequently renamed briefly as Hotel Merdeka, meaning "independence hotel".[14]


According to Article 35 of the 1945 Constitution, the official name of the flag is Sang Saka Merah-Putih. The flag is commonly called Bendera Merah-Putih ('Red-and-White Flag'). Occasionally, it is also called Sang Dwiwarna ('The Bicolour'). Sang Saka Merah-Putih refers to the historical flag called Bendera Pusaka ('Heirloom Flag') and its replica. The Bendera Pusaka is the flag that was flown in front of Sukarno's house after he proclaimed Indonesia's independence on 17 August 1945. The original Bendera Pusaka was sewn by Fatmawati and was hoisted every year in front of the Merdeka Palace during the independence day ceremony. It was hoisted for the last time on 17 August 1968. Since then it has been preserved and replaced by a replica since the original flag was deemed to be too fragile.[1]


Several opinions have been expressed on the meaning of the red and white in the Indonesian flag. One of them is that the red stands for courage, while the white stands for purity. Another opinion is that red represents the human body or physical life, while white represents the soul or spiritual life; together they stand for a complete human being.[12]

As Sukarno said:

Red is the symbol of courage, White is the symbol of purity. Our flag has been there for 600 years.[16]

The colours are the same as those used in the flag of the Majapahit.[17]


Digital scheme[18]
RGB red White
Physical scheme
Pigment red White
RGB 255-0-0 255-255-255 RGB 237-28-36 255-255-255
Hex #FF0000 #FFFFFF Hex #ED1C24 #FFFFFF
CMYK Inconvertible 0, 0, 0, 0 CMYK 0, 100, 100, 0 0, 0, 0, 0


Hanging version of the Indonesia flag
Paskibraka personnel raising the flag of Indonesia at Independence Day every year
Flag of Indonesia placed at front of hill
Flag of Indonesia usage on Cultural Parade at Monas

Regulation and flag protocol

The flag is described in Article 35, Chapter XV, of the Constitution of Indonesia; Law No. 24/2009; and Government Regulation No. 40/1958.[19][20]

The national flag of Indonesia is the Red and White (Sang Merah Putih)

— Article 35, Chapter XV, Constitution of Indonesia[21]

The raising of the flag should be conducted in the time between sunrise until sunset, but in certain circumstances, it can be done at night. In daily use, the flag should be flown at every commemoration such as Indonesian Independence Day on 17 August every year, by the citizens who have a right to use it at house, building or office, schools, colleges, public and private transport and the representative office of Indonesia in overseas.[22]

It can be used as the cover of the coffin of a President or former Presidents, Vice President or former Vice Presidents, Members of Cabinet, Speaker of People's Representative Council, and Head of Government, members of the Indonesian Armed Forces, and persons who are members of the Indonesian National Police who died in service, or an Indonesian citizen who made contributions to their nation as a badge of honor.[22]

The flag must be displayed everyday in places such as the Presidential Palace, government and private office buildings, border posts and outer islands in the territory of Indonesia, and the National Heroes Cemetery.[22]

The flag should be displayed everywhere on special days, which are:[19]


The flag should be displayed at half-mast as a sign of mourning on these days:[19]

Prohibited acts

Article 24 of Law No. 24/2009 on Flags, Language, National Symbols, and Anthems, states that people are prohibited from:[19]

  1. destroying, tearing, trampling, burning, or performing other actions with the intention to tarnish, insult, or degrade the honour of the national flag;
  2. using the national flag for billboards or commercials;
  3. flying the national flag if it is damaged, torn, smudged, crumpled, or faded;
  4. printing on, embroidering or adding letters, numbers, images or other signs, or adding badges or any objects to the national flag;
  5. using the national flag to cover a ceiling or roof, or for wrapping or covering goods in a way that can degrade the honor of the national flag.

Article 66 and 67 of Law No. 24/2009 states that anyone who commits any of these prohibited acts may be punishable with imprisonment for up to five years or be subject to a fine of up to five hundred million rupiah.[19]

See also


  1. ^ a b "National Flag, Coat of Arms, Anthem". Embassy of Indonesia, Oslo, Norway. 1 May 2007. Archived from the original on 19 October 2007. Retrieved 22 June 2009.
  2. ^ Moelyono, Setiyo, ed. (29 January 2020). "Tradisi TNI Angkatan Laut: Pewarisan Nilai-Nilai Luhur dalam Membangun Semangat Juang dan Karakter Prajurit Matra Laut" (PDF). Dinas Perawatan Personel Angkatan Laut (in Indonesian). Indonesian Navy. pp. 76–79. Archived (PDF) from the original on 28 April 2021. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Flag of Indonesia". Britannica. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 9 November 2021.
  4. ^ "Blog nicht gefunden". 1 July 2012. Archived from the original on 1 July 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Natural Dye Extraction From Teak Leves (Tectona Grandis) Using Ultrasound Assisted Extraction Method for Dyeing on Cotton Fabric". ResearchGate. Retrieved 28 February 2019.
  6. ^ Kusumawati, Nita; Santoso, Agus Budi; Sianita, Maria Monica; Muslim, Supari (2017). "Extraction, Characterization and Application of Natural Dyes from the Fresh Mangosteen (Garcinia mangostana L.) Peel". International Journal on Advanced Science, Engineering and Information Technology. 7 (3): 878. doi:10.18517/ijaseit.7.3.1014.
  7. ^ "Kompas.Com". 17 November 2009. Archived from the original on 17 November 2009. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  8. ^ "Sejarah Bendera Merah Putih". 30 October 2007. Archived from the original on 9 January 2020. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  9. ^ "PANYINGKUL! Jurnalisme Orang Biasa". 25 August 2011. Archived from the original on 25 August 2011. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  10. ^ ian macdonald. "Flags in Bali". Archived from the original on 23 September 2015. Retrieved 20 September 2012.
  11. ^ Poeze, Harry A.; Van Dijk, Cees; Van Der Meulen, Inge (1986). In het land van de Overheerser: Indonesiërs in Nederland 1600-1950. Brill. pp. 177–8. ISBN 978-90-04-28731-0. JSTOR 10.1163/j.ctvbqs5hn.8.
  12. ^ a b "Indonesia". Flags of the World. 6 September 2006. Archived from the original on 2 April 2010. Retrieved 26 December 2007.
  13. ^ "What are the rules for national flags?". BBC Magazine. 11 May 2005. Archived from the original on 18 November 2022. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Hotel Majapahit: Brief History" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  15. ^ Cahoon, Ben. "Indonesia". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  16. ^ Ramadhian Fadillah (17 August 2016). "Kenapa bendera Indonesia Merah-Putih? Ini jawaban Soekarno" [Why is Indonesia's Flad Red and White? Soekarno's Answers] (in Indonesian). Archived from the original on 20 June 2020. Retrieved 20 June 2020.
  17. ^ Smith, Whitney (9 February 2001). "Flag of Indonesia". Encyclopædia Britannica Online. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 19 August 2019.
  18. ^ "Konstitusi, Lambang Negara, Bendera, Lagu Kebangsaan dan Bahasa". Government of Indonesia. Archived from the original on 14 August 2020. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
  19. ^ a b c d e Undang-undang Republik Indonesia Nomor 24 Tahun 2009 Tentang Bendera, Bahasa, dan Lambang Negara, serta Lagu Kebangsaan (Law 24) (in Indonesian). People's Representative Council. 2009.
  20. ^ Peraturan Pemerintah Nomor 40 Tahun 1958 tentang Bendera Kebangsaan Republik Indonesia (Government Regulation 40) (in Indonesian). Government of Indonesia. 1958.
  21. ^ The 1945 Constitution of The Republic of Indonesia  – via Wikisource.
  22. ^ a b c "Mencermati UU No 24 Tahun 2009 tentang Bendera, Bahasa, dan Lambang Negara serta Lagu Kebangsaan". 12 August 2009. Archived from the original on 20 December 2016. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  23. ^ "Flag Ceremony Commemorating The Day of The Power of Pancasila Year 2017 UB". 2 October 2017. Archived from the original on 10 November 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.
  24. ^ "Governor Instructs Half-Flag Raising". Government of West Java Province. 12 September 2019. Archived from the original on 10 November 2021. Retrieved 10 November 2021.

Media related to National flag of Indonesia at Wikimedia Commons