Jakarta hides behind the wings of Garuda

A dam and a series of islands just off the coast, shaped like the mythical bird Garuda, can protect the Indonesian capital Jakarta against flooding from the sea. The plan also provides space for the construction of new homes and the improvement of infrastructure. The Master Plan was presented during the official visit of Minister Schultz van Haegen to Indonesia in the first week of April.

The Great Garuda

The plan is to build a dam in the bay of Jakarta. The dam will consist of a series of interconnected islands. From the air, the islands and the sea dike will look like the large mythical bird Garuda.

Impressie Great Garuda
Great Garuda Impression


The Indonesian capital Jakarta is facing a number of problems. The Indonesian economy has been growing rapidly for years. Increasing urbanisation is putting considerable pressure on the drinking water supply. Instead of relying on a central drinking water supply, many inhabitants of Jakarta are illegally pumping up ground water. This has caused the land to subside. There are places in the city where the ground is subsiding by some 14 centimetres a year.
Jakarta lies on the seacoast. Because the city is steadily losing elevation, the chance of flooding is increasing. The Great Garuda should protect the city from being inundated by flood waters from the sea.

During the rainy season, parts of the city are currently under water. Once the project is completed, this rainwater can be caught in the lagoons between the islands.
Due to the rapidly growing economy, the population of the city has also grown enormously. There is an urgent need of space for the construction of homes. New roads and new connections for public transport are also urgently needed. This space is being created on the islands of the Great Garuda.


The Netherlands and Indonesia have worked closely together to draft the plan. Dutch companies hope to profit from the collaboration on this large project. And Indonesian companies and knowledge institutes are learning from our expertise in the areas of water management and urban development.


The Garuda is a figure from Hindu and Buddhist mythology. It has the body of a human and the head, wings and tail of a bird. The Garuda is the king of all birds and serves as the mount for the supreme deity Vishnu. The Garuda is the national symbol of Indonesia. In the Indonesian national coat of arms, it is pictured with 17 feathers on each wing, 8 tail feathers, 19 feathers above the tail and 45 neck feathers. These groups of feathers symbolise the Indonesian Day of Independence: 17 August 1945. The national airline of Indonesia is named after this mythological bird.