Indonesia and Germany have long-standing relations in the cultural sector, which dates back to the many Germans that lived in former Dutch India.

In the 19th century, Indonesia played a conspicuous role in Germany’s literary and art scene. For instance, the Indonesian painter Raden Saleh (1807-1880) was a formative influence on Dresden’s Late Romanticism. Indonesia featured in the works of German writers like Theodor Fontane (1819-1898) and Hermann Hesse (1877-1962). The Prussian geographer Franz-Wilhelm Junghuhn is described as the ‘Humboldt of Java’. And the German painter and musician Walter Spies (1895-1942) settled on the island of Bali and strongly influenced local art and music. Today, there are many partners continuing this tradition of close relations, chief among them is the Goethe-Institut, which has offices in Jakarta, Bandung and Surabaya.