Posted at November 09, 2021 by Graviela Christie

Indonesia has a variety of cultures that are spread throughout the country. Each region certainly has a different culture. Each region has its own uniqueness, whether in terms of traditional food, traditional clothing, musical instruments, regional languages, and others. Currently, Indonesian culture is not only known by Indonesian citizens, but it is already well-known to foreign countries. Some of them are even included in the UNESCO cultural heritage. So, what are those famous Indonesian cultures? Here are some of them.


Angklung is made of bamboo and is played by shaking its tubes. This musical instrument from West Java is one of Indonesian cultures that has received recognition from UNESCO. Angklung was recognized as part of the World Heritage in the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity on January 19, 2011. Angklung was recognized by UNESCO because it is an important cultural identity of the people in West Java and Banten. In addition, this musical instrument also contains the basic values of cooperation, mutual respect, and social harmony. The certificate was handed over by the former Indonesian Ambassador to UNESCO to the Minister of National Education at that time. In addition, Angklung is also popular in many countries, such as Korea, Japan, and Malaysia, where they have introduced Angklung to school-age children.


Wayang is an art that was developed in Java, especially Central Java and East Java. Wayang is usually used as a medium of entertainment. In addition, Wayang is also used as a tool of cultural learning, where through the stories presented by Wayang, hopefully people will know more about the cultural values of Indonesia. Wayang was recognized by UNESCO on November 7, 2003 as a Masterpiece of Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. UNESCO sees Wayang as a work of art full of philosophical values and moral teachings. Wayang is even studied by foreigners, for example, Australians. Usually, foreigners who are interested and want to learn about this art will live in a certain area and study Wayang art as students, and learn directly from a famous and qualified puppeteer. They are interested to learn about Wayang because they feel that Wayang has a unique character.


Batik is a cloth that historically comes from the Java area. Initially, Batik was only used by kings, the royal family, and their workers. However, Batik was done outside the palace, because the royal workers did not live there. Therefore, Batik began to be well-known and made by many people. This cloth is often used as a souvenir for foreign tourists who come to visit Indonesia. Batik was also included in the UNESCO list on January 9, 2009, during the administration of President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. After Batik was accepted by UNESCO, this cloth was later confirmed as a Humanitarian Heritage for Oral and Intangible Culture after the 4th session of UNESCO in Abu Dhabi on October 2, 2009.


Gamelan is a traditional musical instrument found in Bali and Java. This instrument is made of metal and is played by hitting it. It consists of several musical instruments, such as the xylophone, drum, and gong.  Gamelan has been used as a part of the permanent curriculum at the New Zealand School of Music. In addition, some of the world's top universities also make Gamelan a compulsory subject for students, such as UCLA, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Michigan in the United States. Then, in England, there are Cambridge University and the University of Manchester, and others. In Singapore, Gamelan is used as a subject in schools at the elementary-junior-high school level. Also, a Gamelan set is displayed in one of the exhibition halls of a music museum in the United States.

Saman dance

The Saman dance from Gayo Lues and its surroundings in Aceh Province is officially recognized by UNESCO and is included in the list of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding. This dance was officially recognized in the annual Grand Session on November 22-29, 2011 which was attended by more than 500 delegates from 69 countries, international NGOs, and cultural and media experts in Bali.

Those are some of the world famous Indonesian cultures. This certainly makes us proud as Indonesian citizens. If foreigners admire our culture, then we as Indonesian people should love our own culture more. So, let's learn and preserve Indonesian culture!


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