Cultural Venues in Jakarta

By The Jakarta Team

As I’m getting tired of reviewing club, bars and spas, (and since my girlfriend is getting angry about it), I’ve entered a new phase of reviewing cultural venues in Jakarta. The art scene is not as minuscule as it used to be when I first arrived in Indonesia, and if you aren’t too picky, you will get a chance to attend lots of great performances and expositions.

I think there are two broad kinds of cultural events in Jakarta: Those organised by foreign cultural institutes, and those organised by Indonesian art centres.

Among the foreign cultural institutes, the most active in Jakarta are the Goethe Institute (Germany), the Centre Culturel Français, the Erasmus Huis (Nederland) and the Istituto Italiano di Cultura. Those institutes may sponsor a few local talents, but most of the time, they are about promoting their home country art scene in Indonesia.

There is a vast array of events proposed: Exhibitions, film projection, festivals, concerts, lectures, etc. I regret that many events seem to target a small, elitist group of people already familiar with a foreign culture (or made of expats). You will often meet the same people during these: Indonesian students, employees of those cultural centres, expat wives, embassy/NGO expats… They are a good way to meet people though if you are a new-comer in the city. Once in a while, you also have some more popular events, for instance the French Cinema Festival during spring. I recommend you to get the newsletter of these institutes so you won’t miss anything.

Information about events:
Erasmus Huis, the Dutch cultural centre
Tel: +62-21-524 1069
Website: Erasmus Huis Jakarta
Facebook :

The French Cultural Centre (CCF)
Tel: +62-21 390 85 85
Website: CCF Jakarta
Facebook: Click here

Istituto Italiano di Cultura
Phone Number : +62-21 3927531
Website: Istituto Italiano di Cultura Jakarta
Facebook: IIC Jakarta

Goethe Institut
Tel: +62 21 23550208
Website: Goethe Jakarta

You also have a fair number of Indonesian art centres, which rely on a very active and quite young local scene:

I made a review about T.I.M (Taman Ismail Marzuki) already, which is the main art complex in Indonesia and the best place to see quality local performances.

Another cultural place that I’ve reviewed is the Salihara Theatre, the first black-box theatre in Indonesia.

Another venue is the Bharata Theatre. It has Javanese theatre performances every evening starting 8pm until midnight. The plays are in Indonesian or Javanese so you might not understand much of it if you are limited in those languages. But at least, you shall enjoy the dancing, the costumes and the sound of the gamelan. There are different kinds of shows, among which Ketoprak (on Monday and Thursday), based on Javanese legends, and Wayang Orang (every other day except on Sunday), based on Hindu mythology.

Bharata Theatre
Jl. Kalilio 15 Central Jakarta
Telephone: (62 21) 692 9560

Webpage for Wayang Orang in Bharata Theatre:
Facebook page (very active and recommended) : Click Here.

In Taman Mini Indonesia Indah, in South Jakarta, there are quite many cultural performances even though you will feel it is very touristy. The program is particularly intensive during the week-end, but that is also when hundreds of families visit Taman Mini. If you can bear with that, you have dances and music from all over Indonesia in each of the provinces pavilion.

Taman Mini Indonesia Indah
Jalan Raya, Pondok Gede, Jakarta Timur 13560 Indonesia
Tel: +6221 840 9214; +6221 8409210
E-mail Address:

At last, another popular venue is the Gedung Kesenian Jakarta, a beautiful colonial theatre restored in 1987 with excellent acoustic. As in Bharata, it is possible to enjoy Ketoprak plus other traditional dramas and dances. Occasionally, classical music is also performed here.

Gedung Kesenian Jakarta
Jl Gedung Kesenian 1, City Centre
Phone: +62-21 380 8283
Website down at the time of writing, so I advise you to check its facebook page instead: Gedung Kesenian.

Please help me maintain this page about cultural venues in Jakarta updated by sending me information about any places that I haven’t mentioned here. You can comment here or send me an email:

Photo Credit: All the photos illustrating this article are a courtesy of François Paufique, a French photographer based in Jakarta. You can see more of his work on his personal website:

2 comments to '' Cultural Venues in Jakarta "

  1. His blog is excellent, congratulation and this article in I make concrete help myself very much.. Thank you very much... Juanjo (we have written each other relating to the discotheque of the Hotel Melia.)

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