Switzerland has been officially represented in Indonesia since 1952 and the two countries have maintained a broad range of bilateral relations since then. Indonesia is a priority country for SECO's economic cooperation. Today, Indonesia is the most important destination for Swiss direct investment in Asia after Japan, Singapore and China, and Switzerland is one of the largest European investors in Indonesia.
Bilateral relations Switzerland–Indonesia
Key aspects of diplomatic relations
Switzerland and Indonesia have maintained very good bilateral relations since 1952. Since 2011, the foreign ministries of both countries have conducted regular political consultations on policy, trade and human rights.
Since 2008, Indonesia has been one of the eight priority countries for economic development cooperation of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO).
Switzerland has been working closely with Indonesia for many years on multilateral environmental policy (forests, biodiversity, chemicals and environmental governance).
The two countries also cooperate within the framework of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), in which Switzerland has had sectoral dialogue partner status since July 2016. Indonesia was one of the five founding states of ASEAN (1967), and the ASEAN secretariat (ASEC) is located in Jakarta.
The Swiss embassy in Jakarta also covers Timor-Leste.
Switzerland sees Indonesia as a market for the future. The volume of trade between the two countries increased by 50% in 2017 compared to the previous year, reaching CHF 2.8 billion.
Currently more than 150 Swiss companies are active in Indonesia. At the end of 2016, according to the Swiss National Bank (SNB), Swiss direct investment totalled CHF 6.9 billion. This direct investment has created more than 20,000 jobs in Indonesia, says the SNB. According to Indonesian figures, Switzerland was the third largest European investor in Indonesia in 2016.
As part of the economic strategy for Indonesia, a Joint Economic and Trade Commission was established at the end of November 2009.
Negotiations for a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (IE-CEPA) between the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) with Indonesia have been ongoing since 2011.
In 2017, the Swiss Business Hub Indonesia was opened to promote trade and investment between the two countries.
Switzerland Tourism is represented in Indonesia with one employee stationed at the embassy in Jakarta. The number of visits Indonesian tourists to Switzerland has increased steadily in recent years.
Cooperation in education, research and innovation
Researchers and artists from Indonesia can apply to the State Secretariat for Education Research and Innovation (SERI) for Swiss Government Excellence Scholarships.
Development cooperation and humanitarian aid
An important basis of bilateral relations was the technical support provided by the SDC and the establishment of polytechnics over a period of 20 years (1976-1996, total volume of supported projects: CHF 277 million), which today still contribute to Switzerland's good reputation in Indonesia.
Since 2008, Indonesia has been one of the eight priority countries for economic development cooperation of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). As part of the Country Strategy 2017-2020, SECO promotes economic and fiscal reforms, strengthens competitiveness and supports the development of sustainable tourism. Another priority area of economic development cooperation with Indonesia is vocational education and training, namely the development of polytechnics and schools of tourism.
To cope with the consequences of the 2004 tsunami, Switzerland committed funds totalling CHF 12.5 million, which were used in corresponding SDC programmes. The assistance provided by Switzerland to activate rescue operations following the severe earthquake in Sumatra in October 2009 amounted to around CHF 2 million. Since then, Switzerland has provided Indonesia with support in the event of natural disasters, in particular flooding.
Since 2013, two regional risk reduction and disaster relief experts have been stationed in Bangkok to support DRR projects in South East Asia and the Pacific, and to be on-site in the event of natural disasters. These experts also support ASEAN in disaster risk management and responsiveness.
Swiss nationals in Indonesia
At the end of 2017, there were 1,112 Swiss nationals living in Indonesia.
History of bilateral relations
In 1952, Switzerland opened a representation in Jakarta. It recognised Indonesia in 1949, after Indonesia gained independence from the Netherlands in 1945. In 1863, a Swiss consulate was opened in Batavia (now Jakarta). A second was opened in Medan (North Sumatra) in 1916. As early as the 17th century, many Swiss citizens settled in Indonesia.
Since the 1990s, Indonesia – especially Bali – has become a popular holiday destination for Swiss tourists.
The expansion of the development cooperation programme in 1971 led to closer relations. Until 1997, Indonesia was a priority country for Swiss development cooperation. Since 2008, Indonesia has been one of SECO's eight priority countries for economic development cooperation.
The 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Indonesia was celebrated in 2017.