Bandung, also spelled Bandoeng, kotamadya (municipality) and capital of West Java (Jawa Barat) propinsi (province), Indonesia, situated in the interior of Java on the northern edge of a plateau nearly 2,400 feet (730 metres) above sea level. Bandung is Indonesia’s third largest city by population, with over 2.4 million, and Greater Bandung made up of 2 municipalities and 38 districts, making it the nation’s 2nd largest metropolitan area with 6,965,655 inhabitants at the 2015.
The city, founded in 1810 by the Dutch, has a mild and pleasant climate. Beautiful mountainous scenery surrounds it, with rice fields, waterfalls, and elevations rising to nearly 7,050 feet (2,150 metres). The Dutch inhabitants of Bandung demanded establishment of a municipality (gemeente), which was granted in 1906, and Bandung gradually developed into a resort city for plantation owners. Luxurious hotels, restaurants, cafes and European boutiques were opened, hence the city was nicknamed Parijs van Java (Dutch: “The Paris of Java”). After Indonesia declared independencein 1945, the city experienced rapid development and urbanization, transforming Bandung from an idyllic town into a dense 16,500 people/km2 (per square kilometer) metropolitan area, a living space for over 2.5 million people. Natural resources have been heavily exploited, particularly by conversion of protected upland area into highland villas and real estate and, although the city has encountered many problems (ranging from waste disposal and floods to a complicated traffic system and lack of road infrastructure), Bandung still attracts large numbers of tourists, weekend sightseers and migrants from other parts of Indonesia.
Bandung is a modern city, with wide, tree-lined streets and many buildings and residences built in Western style. Notable public buildings include the Merdeka and the Dwiwarna, site of the 1955 Bandung Conference of African and Asian countries, which took a strong stance against Western colonialism. Taman Sari, or Jubilee Park, is the finest of three large parks.
Bandung is the centre of Sundanese cultural life. The Sundanese, who compose the largest segment of West Java’s population, differ significantly in customs and language from their Javanese neighbours to the east. In Bandung, Sundanese literature, dance, song, and theatre are preserved, studied, and renewed.