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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Or Twitter: goo.gl/XFrZ5H


  1. Vox


    7 dagen geleden

    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

    • Dolores Gutierrez

      Dolores Gutierrez

      2 uur geleden

      MV A # d lot ,loid.

    • Han FuJIN

      Han FuJIN

      9 uur geleden


    • Elsa van Aswegen

      Elsa van Aswegen

      Dag geleden

      If you look at the charts. The sinking of the city is a result of over population among other things

    • kevin sanjaya

      kevin sanjaya

      Dag geleden

      as indonesian this particular problem never being aired in our national television, but foreign media always give a information about this problem maybe most of indonesian will never know about jakarta is sinking. so thank you Vox.

    • andre chapman

      andre chapman

      Dag geleden

      Can you do one on my country Guyana they say it's sinking

  2. Who Know's?

    Who Know's?

    12 minuten geleden

    Jakartan's people: Our city is sinking Kris Aquino: your City is sinking because?

  3. Deadly Pinch

    Deadly Pinch

    24 minuten geleden

    Vox has officially replaced VICE

  4. Diaz Amandarizky

    Diaz Amandarizky

    27 minuten geleden

    We always put the blame on the governor

  5. Betty Tekeste

    Betty Tekeste

    29 minuten geleden


  6. Putu Chris Susanto

    Putu Chris Susanto

    35 minuten geleden

    Wow, this is very insightful. The situation could be irreversible, that's why moving the capital is essential

  7. Jorge Sanchez

    Jorge Sanchez

    46 minuten geleden

    Solution: Build piped water. Government: Let's build a wall for $40B! And it will defend against water from the side!

  8. bansam loiem

    bansam loiem

    47 minuten geleden

    The acceptable millisecond basically disarm because cheque undoubtedly signal before a petite result. elite, thin port

  9. Fabian Pablo Vidal Maira

    Fabian Pablo Vidal Maira

    Uur geleden

    viva vox

  10. Kori Jenkins

    Kori Jenkins

    Uur geleden

    No, the Europeans are not responsible for Jakarta sinking... The population boom is the real problem.



    2 uur geleden

    Hidup gini amat, itulah kehidupan

  12. Old Coot

    Old Coot

    2 uur geleden

    Ok, you all. I have a question. Why is it that only the water that is pumped from the wells make the land sink? Doesn't the water provided from the pipes come from the same aquifers? Anybody know?

  13. Expose The Truth

    Expose The Truth

    2 uur geleden

    Because Nibiru is coming!!

  14. Calvert Atisha

    Calvert Atisha

    3 uur geleden


  15. Za Eni

    Za Eni

    3 uur geleden

    The average curler nationally worry because wall arthroscopically treat towards a abashed eggnog. hapless, panicky crocus

  16. Prince V&G

    Prince V&G

    4 uur geleden

    It kinda concerns me that jakarta might go under water,bcs recently we are experiencing heavy rains and that the floods will ho up to almost a-chin-high wich is really,i was really concerned about the poor. But, there are good news that the water in jakarta is starting to shrink and also around surabaya's village, the people that lives in that village gets like 700k-2miliion dollars per person so there are so good things happening now



    4 uur geleden

    Is not real,you look SCBD Jakarta

    • Mini M

      Mini M

      2 uur geleden

      SCBD is TINY- only around 50 hectares. And even there, many of the skyscrapers are extracting groundwater. What a hopeless city

  18. omarp690


    4 uur geleden

    Half of this worlds problems came from colonialism. The legacy of European colonialism still haunts to this day

    • Tanki Wolf

      Tanki Wolf

      4 uur geleden

      Proud of my history🇳🇱

  19. Sorin Gabriel Greciuc

    Sorin Gabriel Greciuc

    4 uur geleden

    WAIT! WAIT! WAIT! So you're saying that lack of water caused a flowding? *BEST IRONY I EVER HEARD*

  20. LuckyHearts777


    4 uur geleden

    You shouldn't have children/grandchildren when you're living in poverty and don't have access to basic needs?!

  21. Budi Sutanto

    Budi Sutanto

    4 uur geleden

    Moving the capital will help. A lot of people have jobs that's connected with the government. They will move, following the capital city.

  22. Rey De Guzman

    Rey De Guzman

    5 uur geleden

    The solution is intuitive, yet complicated by people and their synthetic systems. If the aquifers are being depleted, hence, the natural law of tripartite altruism is in imbalance. So what do they need to do? Break the pavements and synthetic materials; reintroduce plants that would restore the aquifer reserves and restore nature's harmonious balance. Act for a complete restoration and cleansing, while producing systems that could blend in with nature, such as Permaculture. In addition, restoring Australia's deserted continent will essentially give tons of impact on its region and its surrounding regions.

  23. Sleepy Jones

    Sleepy Jones

    5 uur geleden

    Wow the Dutch were smart people they were doing all that way back then

  24. Kid B

    Kid B

    5 uur geleden

    So in short: We, as in the 'Dutch', found another way to ruin something for another group, yet, don't feel the need to fix it or even admit it happened

    • Tanki Wolf

      Tanki Wolf

      4 uur geleden


  25. AgentWuT


    5 uur geleden

    Who ever is peeing in the sea stop it

  26. FusionSenpai


    5 uur geleden

    Dang, imagine if the canals were maintained. it could be the Amsterdam of SEA.

  27. Perfect Fresco

    Perfect Fresco

    5 uur geleden

    There’s too many people in Jakarta and the whole island of Java. There should be a mass exodus of the island and let nature take over again.

  28. Martin Hiscocks

    Martin Hiscocks

    5 uur geleden

    What sea level rise? the sea cannot rise in one area and not another! there is no evidence of sea level rise in South Wales in the UK.

  29. aryan


    5 uur geleden

    google -------- faithfreedom chalenge google ------ faithfreedom ali sina articles google ------- internet archive ali sina debates

  30. Avishkar Wankhede

    Avishkar Wankhede

    5 uur geleden

    Allah will save u don't worry😂

  31. ivy ƚ

    ivy ƚ

    6 uur geleden


  32. subhash pni

    subhash pni

    6 uur geleden

    Indonesia n ancient culture. bali,s ugreva.garuda cudint seen

  33. Bao Anh Nguyen

    Bao Anh Nguyen

    6 uur geleden

    As usual, there's a colonial power involved.

  34. RedRibbonZX


    6 uur geleden

    I think the Dutch did setup the background, but it seems this narrative focusing too much on blaming the Dutch. Consider: [1] The population growth explosion of Jakarta is not just from Jakartans alone. Indonesian government focused too much on building Jakarta. The result: many people from across Indonesia want to live in the capital city. [2] Ground water is seen as cheaper option. Build the ground water pump, then free water for live. With piped water you'd pay subscription and consumption fee. As long as ground water pumping is not banned, majority of Jakartans would prefer this cheaper option. [3] Obviously there are piped water infrastructures, which the government failed to expand to support the explosive population growth.

    • Tanki Wolf

      Tanki Wolf

      4 uur geleden


  35. Balbal Bulbul

    Balbal Bulbul

    6 uur geleden

    Ngarep amat keknya jakarta tenggelem nih cebong 😅 iri dengki yg luar biasa.. 😅 tp kalo ngomongin ttg banjir, bnyk daerah di indo yg juga pd kebanjiran woyyy 😅 jng pd pura2 buta dah..

    • Alvis R

      Alvis R

      22 minuten geleden

      Tapi emng fakta sih beberapa tahun Jakarta bakal tenggelam, itu berdasarkan dari permukaan tanah Jakarta yang terus menurun 5-10 cm pertahun, di akibatkan sama pemakaian air tanah, jadi air tanah terus diambil hal hasil banyak rongga tanah yg kosong didalam yang membuat tanah itu semakin menurun apalagi sistem peresapan air di ibukota kurang baik, well Jakarta tenggelam itu benar bukan Channel ini iri dengki, bahkan banyak media” asing maupun lokal yang sudah di beritakan

  36. In Out

    In Out

    6 uur geleden

    What goverment doing?!

  37. dalton gabel

    dalton gabel

    6 uur geleden

    Anybody feel like they've had this video in their recommended for months just to find out it has only been there for 1 week lol

  38. Anangh M K

    Anangh M K

    6 uur geleden

    I thought it was due to global warming ,,,,

  39. mysterious questions

    mysterious questions

    6 uur geleden

    I thought it said stinking and I was like waaat

  40. warambak


    7 uur geleden

    Jakarta banjir; Anis ; Air hujan itu masuk k tnah bukan d buang k laut...😐

  41. Roy Saputro

    Roy Saputro

    7 uur geleden

    Ya Tuhan Semoga Allah ampuni dan tolong kita semua amin

    • Nothing To See Here

      Nothing To See Here

      7 uur geleden

      Bisa salah belanda gimana?

    • Roy Saputro

      Roy Saputro

      7 uur geleden

      Mungkin gara gara belanda?!

  42. Manoj Thapa

    Manoj Thapa

    7 uur geleden

    why can’t they make drinkable water out of the sea water by purifying it or something 🤔

    • Perfect Fresco

      Perfect Fresco

      5 uur geleden

      Desalination is too expensive

  43. Shin Shu

    Shin Shu

    7 uur geleden


  44. Texposure It

    Texposure It

    7 uur geleden

    Itu Cuma Genangan Bukan Banjir.....

  45. Khor Jing Yan

    Khor Jing Yan

    7 uur geleden

    Remember, 10MILLION people lives in jakarta, in an area about 7000km^2. Imagine tokyo with canals and no sky scrapper, no subways, no water supplies.



    8 uur geleden


    • Nothing To See Here

      Nothing To See Here

      7 uur geleden

      Wdym nice? Their country capital city is sinking and respond it nice?

  47. Nobody


    8 uur geleden

    I don't feel safe.. I mean.. isn't the whole world already sinking?

  48. Ricardo8388


    8 uur geleden

    Old news. The question Why? Because the goverment doenst take any action to reduce the groundwater usage. Politicians push the solutions year after year. They dont want to take responsibility. 25 cm isnt even the worst. Some spots sink 1 meter per year.

  49. Hussain Pardawala

    Hussain Pardawala

    8 uur geleden

    Sad to see the impacts of colonisation all across the world till date, be it Asia, Africa or Southern American. The colonizers should be made to pay!

  50. Rashid Abdul

    Rashid Abdul

    8 uur geleden

    Stil got time.

  51. Jack Belk

    Jack Belk

    8 uur geleden

    Build in a swamp and water will be your neighbor.

  52. Jose Lozada

    Jose Lozada

    8 uur geleden

    Is so sad

  53. BBB TV

    BBB TV

    8 uur geleden

    new jakarta 2021

  54. Lily Berana

    Lily Berana

    8 uur geleden

    They shoul make a drain

  55. Zafira Chowdhury

    Zafira Chowdhury

    9 uur geleden

    People come my to this country for pretty pictures but look what’s happening

  56. Tempesttree


    9 uur geleden

    Move. And stop breading.

  57. Dhani Trianggara

    Dhani Trianggara

    9 uur geleden

    Dari setiap kota yang terdampak banjir mungkin sanitasi penyaluran atau pembuangan air dari banjir kurang diperbaiki.

  58. Rusdayati Yus

    Rusdayati Yus

    9 uur geleden

    No.. Jakarta isnot Sinking😊💙Our lovely city is always wonderful even maybe sometimes flood coming in Rainy season,but our goverment can handle it,hope in the future our goverment will found the perfect solution to made our city became more comfortable and safe from the flood

    • Nothing To See Here

      Nothing To See Here

      6 uur geleden

      Nope, your capital city is sinking and need a quick help to stop it, just look at those poor people, they are dying because they have no home to live in the next future event, you can't just happy about it, and the government sir Jokowi can't easily find a good solution to stop the flood for the society

  59. Ahmad Taufiq Rahim

    Ahmad Taufiq Rahim

    9 uur geleden

    Soo, we blame government?

  60. 안상윤


    9 uur geleden


  61. Heal the world For a better place

    Heal the world For a better place

    9 uur geleden

    colonials are Wicked! They poisoned much of counties.

  62. Latte Coffee

    Latte Coffee

    9 uur geleden

    I watched many versions of Jakarta is sinking. But this one is more clear and the only one got historical background. I wish my neighbour capital city country residents safe and sound.

  63. Lucifer


    9 uur geleden

    Sounds like a government problem

  64. Gian Michael Pinca

    Gian Michael Pinca

    9 uur geleden

    So it's the Dutch?. Lol.

    • Nothing To See Here

      Nothing To See Here

      6 uur geleden

      How come its the dutch fault?

  65. Chandra Sekhar

    Chandra Sekhar

    9 uur geleden

    What a great effort to teach people how to be a victims. Your not helping the situation here. You silly woke philosophy videos, get a life .

  66. hihi hihi

    hihi hihi

    9 uur geleden

    Jakarta! Nuuuuuu! Jakarta is sinking Like dying 😢😭😭

  67. Bayu weking yt

    Bayu weking yt

    9 uur geleden

    aku nyasar

  68. iAm Pharaoh

    iAm Pharaoh

    9 uur geleden

    This is what they do... come into our lands, move us out, destroy it, then come to where we migrate, take that, then tell us to go back where we came from. Smh

    • Nothing To See Here

      Nothing To See Here

      6 uur geleden

      By Whom?

  69. John Arnold

    John Arnold

    10 uur geleden

    I thought the Capitol is being moved. When?

  70. Zen Reos

    Zen Reos

    10 uur geleden

    Bruh next thing we know jakarta is building a floating city

  71. Free Thought

    Free Thought

    10 uur geleden

    Its why Indonesia is re-locating a new capital city.

  72. Gaming Lagi

    Gaming Lagi

    10 uur geleden

    good explanation and easy to understand, thanks vox🙏

  73. Rex Appleby

    Rex Appleby

    10 uur geleden

    Money is how a society allocates scarce resources such as in this case piped water and land. If you have enough of it you can buy access to those scarce resources. It's not by accident that poor people don't have those resources. They don't because society/the government has decided/allowed scarce resources to be allocated in this way.

  74. evan griffith

    evan griffith

    10 uur geleden

    The keen octopus coincidently borrow because health spontaneously vanish given a ajar jar. heady, makeshift sailboat

  75. Buliung Daniels

    Buliung Daniels

    10 uur geleden

    because its again sunnatulloh

  76. kenza jeff

    kenza jeff

    10 uur geleden

    The jakarta is siking

  77. Taufiq Hendartomi

    Taufiq Hendartomi

    11 uur geleden

    Gak bisa bahasa Inggris :(

  78. Owen Lantu

    Owen Lantu

    11 uur geleden

    Hopefully in the future Jakarta will be free from the floods that have troubled the people of Jakarta. They have suffered a lot.

    • rozak fassah

      rozak fassah

      10 uur geleden

      They will, because they will be underwater

  79. Ryan Cadeer

    Ryan Cadeer

    11 uur geleden

    usually this usually happens at every beginning of the year

  80. Abhijeet Raushan

    Abhijeet Raushan

    11 uur geleden

    Good Thing need to speed a bit.

  81. •Ronnz•


    11 uur geleden

    You dont have to provide alternatives if most of the people drowned

  82. InTheDream


    11 uur geleden

    so, anies is 100% right, no doubt. The people of jakarta should thinking to move at least 25% of population and prevent urbanization to jakarta at the same time!

  83. Johari Talib

    Johari Talib

    11 uur geleden


  84. valdin0 LAB

    valdin0 LAB

    11 uur geleden

    Jakarta? Floods? I dont wanna do living there.but all the job always in Jakarta.But still idk its goverment fault or the people's about the flood.but we dont really care because we are Indonesian just so relaxing person in the worlds.Still i hope everything will be better in the future for Indonesia

  85. Annabelle Phen Lee

    Annabelle Phen Lee

    11 uur geleden

    The only reason why the older generations say the younger generation is the future is because they expect us to solve their problems.

  86. Fachrudin Syah

    Fachrudin Syah

    11 uur geleden

    money money money ....that about new people now... healthy and enjoy for life between human with earth is zero!

  87. niko andrayudha

    niko andrayudha

    12 uur geleden

    nis anis basbetot ,liat nih vidio

  88. Davienna Milleniva

    Davienna Milleniva

    12 uur geleden

    Dear my french communication professor, I told you someone will make a video on NLcameras about this.

  89. Bad ape

    Bad ape

    12 uur geleden

    But we can do Other than scrolling

  90. M3rc L0p3z

    M3rc L0p3z

    12 uur geleden

    Reparations needed for these people.

  91. Jamie Widodo

    Jamie Widodo

    12 uur geleden

    Guys who else live in Jakarta I am rlly scared :c

  92. Adam Ammar

    Adam Ammar

    12 uur geleden

    Hey fellow indonesians, aku ni jiran kau, orang malaysia, aku nak tanye, betul ke indonesia nak buat kalimantan jadi ibu kota baru? Pls jawab.... Love from malaysia ❤😘

    • Gaming Lagi

      Gaming Lagi

      10 uur geleden


  93. Abhinavv Banait

    Abhinavv Banait

    12 uur geleden


  94. Efrich Cristiansen

    Efrich Cristiansen

    12 uur geleden

    i live at borneo banjarmasin

  95. CHGB Miquel Waren

    CHGB Miquel Waren

    12 uur geleden

    Iya ini betul saya hampir mati

  96. fan vane

    fan vane

    12 uur geleden

    Wow muncul di beranda

  97. Abdullah hussein

    Abdullah hussein

    13 uur geleden

    Government: let's pretend we didn't see that

  98. Tomoko Chiba

    Tomoko Chiba

    13 uur geleden

    blaming the dutch as if the indonesian government was doing anything other than filling up their personal bank accounts

  99. cheeno peralta

    cheeno peralta

    13 uur geleden

    plant trees not buildings.

  100. Leah Sheffler

    Leah Sheffler

    13 uur geleden

    I don't know why people are not investing in desalination plants filling ancient underground cities/crypts/crevices and removing concrete so that the increasing floods can be absorbed and subside. Jakarta is the perfect testing ground for what will work around the world in the future. I wish people would start to understand these problems will not just "go away"!