Flag of Indonesia

Flag of Indonesia
Country Indonesia
Population 277,534,122 (2023)
Area (Km²) 1,811,570
Сontinent Asia
Emoji 🇮🇩
  hex rgb
#FF0000 255, 0, 0
#FFFFFF 255, 255, 255

The flag of Indonesia consists of red and white colors. Indonesia's first president, Sukarno, officially adopted the flag on August 17, 1945, three days after the end of World War II. The flag remained the national symbol when Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands in 1949. The flag was first sewn by Ms. Fatmawati in 1944 from Japanese cotton, measuring 276 x 200 cm.

What do the colors of the Indonesian flag mean?

There are several explanations for the meaning of the red and white colors of the Indonesian flag. One of them is that:

  • red symbolizes the nation's courage in the fight against invaders;
  • white symbolizes the sacred intentions of the heroes and people in the struggle for Indonesian independence.

In addition, red means "brave" and white means "holy". But not only this, the first president of the unitary state of the Republic of Indonesia, Sukarno, interpreted the red and white color as something else, namely red and white as an element of human creation. If you dig deeper, you will find that the red and white color also has a philosophy of natural elements. Red means earth, and white means sky. 

Red and white show the character of the Indonesian people from birth. The Javanese believe that pregnancy begins with a combination of the red element as a symbol of the mother, namely the blood shed at the birth of a child, and the white element as a symbol of the father.

History of the red and white flag of Indonesia

The red and white colors of the flag have been used since royal times. The first kingdom was Majapahit, which made the red and white flag a symbol of its greatness in the 13th century. It had nine horizontal stripes: 5 red and 4 white. Not only Majapahit, but also the Kingdom of Kediri uses red and white as its royal flag. 

In South Sulawesi, the red and white flag was used as a symbol of the kingdom's power and greatness (the kingdom's flag was known as the Voromporang). In addition, during the Javanese War (1825-1830), Prince Diponegoro used red and white banners in his fight against the Dutch. Even before Indonesia gained independence, in 1928, the flag was used on the island of Java as a form of protest and enthusiasm by students and nationalists who sought to escape Dutch colonialism. For this reason, the Netherlands banned the use of the red and white flag until independence.

After World War II and Indonesian independence, the red and white flag was used as the national flag. The flag "Sang Saka Merah Putih" was first raised in Indonesia on August 17, 1945, during the declaration of independence.

What is the name of the Indonesian flag?

  • The official name of the flag is "Sang Merah-Putih";
  • commonly known as "Bendera Merah-Putih" - Red and White Flag;
  • Sometimes called "Sang Dwiwarna" - two-color flag;
  • another name is "Sang Saka Merah-Putih" - Sacred White and Red;
  • the historical name of the flag is "Bendera Pusaka" - Relic Flag.

Prior to that, the Dutch flag flew in Indonesia from March 20, 1602 to March 8, 1942 (340 years), and the Japanese flag flew from March 8, 1942 to August 17, 1945 (3 years and 5 months). Since independence, the red and white flag has always been raised at every flag ceremony.

What flags are similar to the red and white flag of Indonesia?

What flags are similar to the red and white flag of Indonesia?

Not only Indonesia uses the red and white flag, there are countries that also use these colors. The most similar to the Indonesian flag is the flag of Monaco(1). The difference is in the aspect ratio. The Indonesian flag has a 2:3 ratio, while the Monaco flag has a 4:5 ratio. Also, the flag of Monaco looks more square. The flag of Singapore(2) looks almost identical in color and size. Only it has a moon symbol and five stars. In addition to Monaco and Singapore, Poland(3) uses a red and white flag, but with a mirror image of the colors. That is, the Polish flag is not red and white, as in Indonesia, but white and red.