Indonesia Chooses Name for Its New Capital

So long, Jakarta
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 29, 2019 9:20 AM CDT
Updated Jan 18, 2022 2:40 PM CST
World's 4th Most Populous Country to Get New Capital
Jakarta.   (Getty Images)

(Newser) Update: If memorizing capitals is among your pastimes, here's a new one for you: Nusantara. That's the name that will grace Indonesia's new capital, which is set to take shape somewhere around 2024. It will replace the current government seat, Jakarta, areas of which are sinking at a rate of roughly 10 inches a year, reports the Guardian. Nusantara means "archipelago" in the Indonesian language. CNN reports the country's House of Representatives on Tuesday passed a bill about the relocation of the capital to the province of East Kalimantan, with a government official calling it "the vision of the birth of a new economic center of gravity in the middle of the archipelago." Our original story from April 2019 follows.

Quick, name the capital of Indonesia. If you said "Jakarta," you win, but not for too much longer. The president of the world's fourth most populous nation has set in motion a plan to move the capital away from Jakarta and, in fact, away from the entire island of Java on which it sits, reports the Jakarta Post. It's not yet clear where the new capital will be located, and the wrangling is expected to take a decade. Jakarta is overcrowded and prone to flooding and sinking, thanks to the aggressive extraction of groundwater, per Reuters. President Joko Widodo also thinks too much of the island archipelago's wealth and power is concentrated in this one place.

“We want to have a capital that represents the nation’s identity and improves the efficiency of the central government and establish a smart, green and beautiful city,” says the chief of the nation's planning agency. The island of Borneo is one leading contender for the new capital site, reports the AP. Indonesia has about 260 million people, and more than half live on the island of Java. About 40 million live in or around Jakarta itself, and traffic congestion is notoriously bad. (Read more Indonesia stories.)

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