The Pancasila Building, Historical Moments in Indonesia’s Fight For Independence

Another important building in Jakarta that witnessed historical moments in Indonesia’s fight for Independence and the establishment of the Constitution for the new Republic of Indonesia, is the Pancasila Building. This is a small palatial building that now houses the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but continues to be called Gedung Pancasila.

Here, on 1 June 1945 (two months prior to Indonesia’s Proclamation of Independence) Soekarno, on behalf of the Indonesian nationalist movement gave his historic speech : Lahirnya Pancasila – The Birth of Pancasila – the five Basic Principles on which the envisaged Republic of Indonesia would base her Constitution and Laws.

Indonesia’s  Five Principles of Pancasila are:

  1. Belief in the One True God
  2. A Just and Civilized Humanity
  3. The Unity of Indonesia
  4. Democracy guided by the inner wisdom in the unanimity arising out of deliberations amongst representatives, and
  5. Social Justice for all the people of Indonesia

At the time, even before Independence, the Indonesian people had already determined that the territory and nation of the independent Republic of Indonesia should comprise exactly those territories that were claimed by the Dutch as the Netherlands East Indies.

Soekarno’s speech was given in what was then the “Volksraad” (or People’s Council) whose members, were in fact majority Dutch with only a fraction ofindigenous Indonesians.

In her book : “Sukarno, An Autobiography”, Cindy Adams wrote how  Soekarno described the speech  he then made as follows : “ I rose and walked to the raised marble platform. There between the two huge pillars where once the (Dutch) Governor-General stood to officially open the Volksraad, I unwrapped my five precious pearls : Nationalism, Internationalism, Democracy, Social Justice and Belief in One God “.

Gedung Pancasila where the pancasila was announced to the world by Sukarno
Gedung Pancasila where the pancasila was announced to the world by Sukarno (Source : metrotvnews.com)

The Pancasila Building that today houses Indonesia’s  Ministry of Foreign Affairs, is located on Jalan Pejambon, the short street that connects Lapangan Banteng (Banteng Square) with Jalan Medan Merdeka Timur (East Merdeka Square).

In Dutch days, this was called Hertogslaan (or Duke’s Lane) since Duke Bernhard of Sachsen-Weimar-Eisenach (1792-1862) lived here in this small classicist palace, as army commander. After 1918 the big hall of the palace was used for meetings of the Volksraad. The hall has ionic columns on its short side and Ionic pilasters on its longer sides.

Today, additional highrise constructions have been added behind the the original palace to meet space needed for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Please note that this building is not open for public visits.

ACTIVITIES

The nearest hotel to the Pancasila Building (or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs ) is the Borobudur Hotel. In fact it is within walking distance. Many foreign diplomats having appointments at the Ministry normally stay at this hotel for the sake of convenience. It is a five star hotel and has vast gardens  in the heart of Jakarta with jogging track and large swimming pools, The garden is ideal for outdoor dining and events. The hotel has many exclusive restaurants and a very popular coffeeshop.

Hotel  Borobudur Jakarta

Jalan Lapangan Banteng Selatan,

Jakarta 10710

GET THERE

When travelling from  the Banteng Square pass Borobudur Hotel in the direction of the Merdeka Square, you will see the building on the left side. This is a one way street so you will not miss it. Not far from here is the Protestant Immanuel Church, another heritage of the Dutch colonial period, which stands right across Gambir Station.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is walking distance from Gambir Station, but you can not take this route on vehicle since it is a one way street.  You will have to make a detour to Lapangan Banteng, pass Hotel Borobudur to reach Jalan Pejambon.

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