The presidential palace (one of six in Indonesia) stands to the north of Merdeka Square. It was built in 1879 and was Sukarno's official residence during his reign, although Suharto spurned it. On 27 December 1949, the Dutch flag was lowered for the last time and the red-and-white flag of independent Indonesia was raised. Hundreds of thousands of Indonesians gathered to witness the event and chant merdeka (freedom).
Every 17 August, Independence Day is celebrated with a flag-raising ceremony in front of the palace with thousands of dignitaries present.