from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Province coat of arms
Basic data
Area : 57,956 km²
Residents : 5,247,257
Population density : 91 inhabitants / km²
Capital : Banda Aceh
governor Nova Iriansyah (since July 5, 2018)
Location in Indonesia
Singapur Brunei Malaysia Malaysia Philippinen Osttimor Australien Papua-Neuguinea Thailand Aceh Sumatra Utara Riau Sumatra Barat Jambi Bengkulu Sumatra Selatan Lampung Kepulauan Riau Bangka-Belitung Banten Jakarta Jawa Barat Yogyakarta Bali Jawa Tengah Jawa Timur Nusa Tenggara Barat Nusa Tenggara Timur Maluku Utara Sulawesi Utara Maluku Papua Barat Papua Kalimantan Barat Kalimantan Tengah Kalimantan Selatan Kalimantan Timur Kalimantan Utara Sulawesi Barat Gorontalo Sulawesi Tenggara Sulawesi Selatan Sulawesi TengahAceh in Indonesia.svg
About this picture
Website :

Aceh [ ʔaˈt͡ɕɛh ] (old spellings: Atjeh , Atschin , Atjih , English Acheen ) is an Indonesian province on the northwestern tip of the island of Sumatra . The official name is Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam , the capital is Banda Aceh . Aceh is known for the aspirations for independence and a centuries-long struggle that it fought both the Dutch colonial troops and the Indonesian central government. Neighboring to the east is the province of North Sumatra (Sumatra Utara) .

With the peace agreements of 2005, the province enjoys certain autonomy rights as a special region . In March 2003, Aceh became the only Indonesian province to introduce Sharia Islamic law .


Aceh is located in the extreme northwest of Sumatra and borders the province of North Sumatra in the east. The Strait of Malacca begins on the northeast coast , but narrows from 300 km to Singapore to a few kilometers. Traveling north by ship from the headland near Banda Aceh, after 200 to 1000 km you come to the scattered islands of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands , which, however, belong to distant India .

The surface of Aceh is characterized by mountains that reach a height of 3380 m in the Gunung Leuser National Park . A broader coastal plain lies along the northeast coast, in the south some swamp plains . In the southeast, the province has a share in the Gunung Leuser National Park. The capital Banda Aceh has about 266,000 inhabitants.

Administrative division

Aceh consists of the following 18 Kabupaten ( administrative districts ) and 5 Kota ( cities ):

coat of arms Kabupaten / Kota
administrative district / city
Seat of government location Kecamatan sub-
Mukim / Gampong
Area [km²] Population (2019) Inhabitants / km² (2019)
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Barat.png Kabupaten Aceh Barat Meulaboh Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Barat.svg 12 33/322 000000000002927.95000000002,927.95 000000000194712.0000000000194.712 000000000000066.500000000066.5
Lambang-abdya.jpg Kabupaten Aceh Barat Daya Blangpidie Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Barat Daya.svg 9 20/152 000000000001490.60000000001,490.60 000000000151474.0000000000151.474 000000000000101.6000000000101.6
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Besar.png Kabupaten Aceh Besar Kota Jantho Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Besar.svg 23 68/604 000000000002969.00000000002,969.00 000000000390037.0000000000390.037 000000000000131.4000000000131.4
Coat of arms of Aceh Jaya.jpg Kabupaten Aceh Jaya Calang Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Jaya.svg 9 21/172 000000000003812.99000000003,812.99 000000000090624.000000000090,624 000000000000023.800000000023.8
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Selatan.png Kabupaten Aceh Selatan Tapaktuan Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Selatan.svg 18th 43/260 000000000003841.60000000003,841.60 000000000234761.0000000000234,761 000000000000061.100000000061.1
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Singkil.png Kabupaten Aceh Singkil Singkil Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Singkil.svg 11 16/116 000000000002185.00000000002,185.00 000000000126768.0000000000126,768 000000000000058.000000000058.0
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Tamiang.png Kabupaten Aceh Tamiang Karang Baru Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Tamiang.svg 12 27/213 000000000001956.72000000001,956.72 000000000294350.0000000000294,350 000000000000150.4000000000150.4
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Tengah.png Kabupaten Aceh Tengah Takengon Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Tengah.svg 14th 18/295 000000000004318.39000000004,318.39 000000000213056.0000000000213.056 000000000000049.300000000049.3
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Tenggara.png Kabupaten Aceh Tenggara Kutacane Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Tenggara.svg 16 51/385 000000000004231.43000000004,231.43 000000000225139.0000000000225,139 000000000000053.200000000053.2
Lambang Kabupaten Aceh Timur.png Kabupaten Aceh Timur Idi Rayeuk Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Timur.svg 24 45/513 000000000006286.01000000006,286.01 000000000429006.0000000000429.006 000000000000068.200000000068.2
Lambang kab acehutara.png Kabupaten Aceh Utara Lhoksukon Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Aceh Utara.svg 27 67/852 000000000003236.86000000003,236.86 000000000583350.0000000000583,350 000000000000180.2000000000180.2
Lambang Kabupaten Bener Meriah.png Kabupaten Bener Meriah Simpang Tiga Redelong Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Bener Meriah.svg 10 12/232 000000000001454.09000000001,454.09 000000000159636.0000000000159,636 000000000000109.8000000000109.8
Logo Bireuen.jpg Kabupaten Bireuen Bireuen Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Bireuen.svg 17th 75/609 000000000001901.20000000001,901.20 000000000438615.0000000000438,615 000000000000230.7000000000230.7
Gayo lues logo.jpg Kabupaten Gayo Lues Blangkejeren Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Gayo Lues.svg 11 25/136 000000000005719.58000000005,719.58 000000000099937.000000000099,937 000000000000017.500000000017.5
Lambang Kabupaten Nagan Raya.png Kabupaten Nagan Raya Suka Makmue Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Nagan Raya.svg 10 30/222 000000000003363.72000000003,363.72 000000000170207.0000000000170.207 000000000000050.600000000050.6
Lambang Kabupaten Pidie.jpg Kabupaten Pidie Sigli Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Pidie.svg 23 94/730 000000000003086.95000000003,086.95 000000000440231.0000000000440.231 000000000000142.6000000000142.6
Lambang Kabupaten Pidie Jaya.png Kabupaten Pidie Jaya Meureudu Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Pidie Jaya.svg 8th 34/222 000000000001073.60000000001,073.60 000000000160115.0000000000160.115 000000000000149.1000000000149.1
LOGO KABUPATEN SIMEULUE.png Kabupaten Simeulue Sinabang Lokasi Aceh Kabupaten Simeulue.svg 10 29/138 000000000002051.48000000002,051.48 000000000092977.000000000092,977 000000000000045.300000000045.3
Lambang Kota Banda Aceh.png Kota Banda Aceh Banda Aceh Lokasi Aceh Kota Banda Aceh.svg 9 17/90 000000000000061.360000000061.36 000000000244689.0000000000244,689 000000000003987.80000000003,987.8
Pemko langsa.jpg Kota Langsa Langsa Lokasi Aceh Kota Langsa.svg 5 6/66 000000000000262.4100000000262.41 000000000186432.0000000000186,432 000000000000710.5000000000710.5
Lambang Kota Lhokseumawe.gif Kota Lhokseumawe Lhokseumawe Lokasi Aceh Kota Lhokseumawe.svg 4th 9/68 000000000000181.0600000000181.06 000000000193395.0000000000193,395 000000000001068.10000000001,068.1
Lambang Kota Sabang.png Kota Sabang Sabang Lokasi Aceh Kota Sabang.svg 2 7/18 000000000000153.0000000000153.00 000000000042015.000000000042,015 000000000000274.6000000000274.6
Lambang-kota-subulussalam.jpg Kota Subulus Salam Subulus salam Lokasi Aceh Kota Subulussalam.svg 5 8/82 000000000001391.00000000001,391.00 000000000085731.000000000085.731 000000000000061.600000000061.6
Provinsi Aceh Banda Aceh 289 755 / 6.497 57956.00 5,247,257 90.5

The villages in Aceh Province are called Gampong . A mukim consists of several of these villages.

Source: Peraturan Menteri Dalam Negeri RI Nomor 72 Tahun 2019 (ordinance of the Minister of the Interior of October 2019):

The population information is based on updates by the regional civil registration offices and comes from the first half of 2019.


The population of Aceh is large, dark-skinned, and ethnically different from the rest of Indonesians. The majority of people, or Aceh Acehnese called, speaks its own language (Aceh language or Acehnese called). There are a number of other population groups who live mainly inland, including the Alas and Kluet , who linguistically belong to the Batak peoples, the Gayo and the Aneuk Jamee, the descendants of immigrant Minangkabau . A language of its own is spoken on the island of Simeulue . The population there has many cultural similarities to that of Nias . There is also a small group of immigrant Arabs .

97% of the population are Muslims (80% of them Orthodox, so-called " Santris "), 2% Christians and minorities of animists.


Aceh has one of Indonesia's largest oil and gas reserves . Many international oil companies have set up in the province. In stark contrast to oil wealth, however, is the poverty of the population. Other mineral resources include copper, gold and iron. Aceh has large areas of rainforest that are threatened by the production of palm oil .


The Islam reached in the Indian Ocean projecting Aceh earlier than other Indonesian regions, probably already in the eighth century. In the ninth century the first Islamic kingdom, Perlak, was established; Pasai , Tamiah, Aceh followed, so that Islam gained a foothold in this area by the end of the 13th century.

Sultanate of Aceh (1496-1903)

When the Portuguese took Malacca in 1511 , many traders (especially Muslims) moved to other ports and the Sultanate of Aceh developed into an important trading power. In 1566 envoys were sent to Istanbul to get support against the advancing Portuguese. The Turkish admiral Kurtoğlu Hızır Reis commanded a fleet of 15 ships in 1566/67, which sailed via Surat , Janjira and Sri Lanka, two of which arrived in Aceh. More ships followed. Aceh became a protectorate of the Ottoman Empire. In the 17th century, the European colonial powers (especially Portugal , Great Britain , the Netherlands ) began to influence the region. In 1602, the Dutch East India Company founded a trading post in Aceh, but the sultanate was still able to maintain its independence, even after 1824, when the British contractually guaranteed the Dutch sovereignty over Sumatra.

From 1821 to 1837 the Padri Wars broke out between the Orthodox Muslims of Aceh (Padri) and the Minangkabau as followers of a popular Islam ( Adat ) interspersed with ancient customs . The Minangkabau were supported by Dutch troops . On March 26, 1873, the Netherlands declared war on Aceh, and on April 8, an expedition invaded the Kraton . This is where the sultan's fortified residence was, so valiantly defended that the Dutch withdrew on April 28th. A second, more powerful expedition under General van Swieten had advanced against the Kraton since December 11, 1873, with uninterrupted bloody fighting, and finally took it on January 24, 1874. From around 1880 the country was organized politically, a province with three districts was formed, and attempts were made to completely calm down civil violence. But already in 1884 a military governor had to be appointed again. One of the independence fighters was Teuku Umar (1854–1899), who fought with guerrilla actions for a free Aceh from 1873 and is now counted among the Indonesian national heroes. He died in an attack by Dutch troops on his hometown of Meulaboh .

Struggle for independence and resistance struggle (1903-2004)

The resistance of the Achenes dragged on for several decades, in fact the region could never be completely pacified until the Second World War . The Japanese army occupied Sumatra from March 1942 to 1945. After that, the Netherlands tried to reestablish their influence; In 1949 they recognized Indonesia's independence. Aceh hoped for regional independence, but Indonesian troops marched into the province, which was perceived by the population as a foreign invasion . In September 1953, a long-lasting uprising against the Indonesian central government began in Aceh under the name Darul Islam . After the first unsuccessful attempts to put down the uprising militarily, the central government began negotiations at the end of 1956. On May 26, 1959, in an agreement with the regional government, it guaranteed the status of a special region ( daerah istimewa ) with autonomy in religious matters.

After peace returned to Aceh in 1961, the regional government published a program for the reconstruction and development of the region in January 1962. In Article 39, this provided for the creation of a regional fatwa council ( majelis ifta ). The regional representative body passed a resolution in August 1962 calling for the use of "elements of Islamic Sharia" ( unsur-unsur syariat Islam ) for Muslims. To implement the decision, a commission was set up to draw up rules for the application of Sharia law. The program point of creating a fatwa council was implemented in 1966 with the establishment of the scholar council ( majelis ulama ). In September 1967 the regional representative body adopted a "Memorandum Concerning Religious Life" in Aceh calling for action against missionary activities by Christian groups.

For the separatists, however, the status as a special region did not go far enough. In the 1970s the resistance group Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM; Movement Free Aceh) was founded; numerous conflicts arose with the central government. The heir to the throne of the last Sultan dynasty of Aceh, Prince Hasan di Tiro , proclaimed independence on December 4, 1976. In 1979 he fled to Sweden , where he lived until shortly before his death in June 2010. Between 1990 and 1998 the province was an unofficial military operation area ("Daerah Operasi Militer", DOM), where the army had a relatively free hand to take action against the separatists. Several thousand civilians, including many children and the elderly, were killed. Arbitrary arrests, " disappearances " and torture were common. The separatists were militarily defeated as early as 1991; they could only carry out small attacks. With the Operasi Sadar Rencong III , the Indonesian military TNI attempted to break up the GAM in February 2000. Units from Kostrad and special units of the Brimob police were relocated to Aceh. The Kopassus special unit was also significantly active in the province; she committed numerous human rights violations .

In mid-2001, the new President Wahid signed a law that guaranteed the province 70% of the revenue from natural gas revenues instead of 5%. In 2002 the “separatists” and the government agreed on a peace plan (Cessation of Hostilities Agreement), which finally failed in May 2003 at the latest. The Indonesian government took a major military action against the separatists in 2004.

Tsunami and partial autonomy (from 2004)

Attempts are currently being made to enforce the GAM flag as the flag of the Aceh province.

The region was badly affected by the nearby seaquake in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 and its massive tsunami ; Tens of thousands of people were killed, the authorities speak of the number of victims around 300,000. On the coast all houses and the whole area were destroyed and devastated by the masses of water. The civil war and the isolation decided by the Indonesian government initially prompted the latter to cover up the severity of the disaster . This delayed and made the necessary relief efforts more difficult.

On August 15, 2005, government officials and the Free Aceh Movement (GAM) signed a peace agreement in Helsinki . The agreement stipulated that the GAM would be disarmed and a political party would be established. The Indonesian security forces should gradually withdraw from the province. In addition, the conflicting parties agreed on partial autonomy for the province and an amnesty for convicted members of the GAM. Compliance with the agreement was monitored by the Aceh Monitoring Mission (AMM) of the European Union , five member states of the Community of Southeast Asian Nations ( ASEAN ) (Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand) and Norway and Switzerland. For this purpose, observers under the direction of the Dutchman Pieter Feith were deployed in the 11 districts. By January 27, 2006, the GAM had handed over around 850 weapons to the AMM. In return, 1,800 GAM fighters and sympathizers were released from prisons and given an amnesty.


The immigration of a large number of Javanese people , who, due to the overpopulation of the island of Java, are being settled by the government in various regions as part of the “Transmigrasi” program, creates potential for conflict . In many places, including Aceh, this is why there are conflicts between immigrants and the local population.

There are many reasons for the current struggle for independence:

  • The historical development / lack of self-determination: Aceh always regarded itself as a separate nation, which was oppressed by the Dutch and the Indonesian central government.
  • Controversy over mineral resources: the wealth of oil contrasts with the poverty of the population; the Aceh people feel plundered by the Javanese in terms of mineral resources; the profits from the oil concessions end up in distant Jakarta, while the environmental damage has local effects and the like. a. to have fishing.
  • Religion: Aceh has a stricter interpretation of Islamic laws ( Sharia ) than the rest of Indonesia.
  • Migration policy: Just over half of all Indonesians live on the overpopulated island of Java. The government is therefore relocating many people to other regions as part of the Transmigrasi policy, which in many places leads to conflicts with the local population.

Human rights

The introduction of Sharia law is associated with massive restrictions on personal and religious freedom in everyday life and causes displeasure among part of the population. Since January 2010, women are no longer allowed to wear tight trousers if they don't wear an ankle-length skirt over them. Unmarried couples shouldn't sit too close together. Sharia police punish inappropriate behavior . On December 11, 2011, police picked up 64 young punks at a punk concert because their lifestyle was incompatible with Islam. Their heads were shaved and they were given a re-education program outside of town.

The pressure on Christians is growing under the influence of Sharia law. In early May 2012, 17 church buildings in Aceh Province were closed. Christians are also affected by Sharia law; Among other things, they face flogging for behavior that is incompatible with Islam.

According to the mayor of Aceh province, most sexual assaults take place in the country, so women were banned from working after 11 p.m. in 2015. Only nurses and midwives are allowed to work outside their home after this time. This mainly affects women who work in restaurants, sports and entertainment centers. After this time, women are no longer allowed to visit these facilities privately without a male companion. The religious police ensure that women are generally not found on the street without a male companion after 11 p.m. The homosexuality is punished. In 2016, 339 people suffered corporal punishment , including whipping , according to Human Rights Watch .


Before secular state schools were introduced, the educational system in Aceh relied on the Islamic tradition of madrasa and dayah. Today there are two parallel school systems in Aceh: the Dayah religious school system, which is based on Islam, and the Indonesian system, which is geared towards the production of modern secular citizens. In the secular state schools, subjects such as Indonesian language, English language, education in Pancasila and civic studies, mathematics, natural sciences, social studies, arts and crafts are on the agenda. In the Dayah schools, however, the following subjects are mainly cultivated: Arabic language, Koran and Hadith , ʿAqīda and ethics, Fiqh and Islamic history. Particularly in rural areas, parents like to send their children to Dayah schools after they have finished primary school ( Sekolah Dasar ). The entry age is 12 to 13 years. Many girls also attend such schools.


  • Edward Aspinall: From Islamism to Nationalism in Aceh, Indonesia. In: Nations and Nationalism. Vol. 13, No. 2, 2007, pp. 245-263.
  • Jacques Bertrand: Nationalism and Ethnic Conflict in Indonesia. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 2003, ISBN 978-0-521-52441-4 .
  • Clive J. Christie: Nationalism and the 'House of Islam': the Acehnese Revolt and the Republic of Indonesia. In: Clive J. Christie (Ed.): A Modern History of Southeast Asia: Decolonization, Nationalism, and Separatism. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies, Singapore 1996, ISBN 981-3055-92-8 .
  • Cees Van Dijk: Rebellion Under the Banner of Islam: The Darul Islam in Indonesia. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague 1981.
  • Elizabeth F. Drexler: Aceh, Indonesia: Securing the Insecure State. University of Pennsylvania Press, Philadelphia 2008, ISBN 978-0-8122-4057-3 .
  • C. Snouck Hurgronje: The Acehnese. Translated by AWS O'Sullivan. Vols. I and II, Brill, Leiden 1906.
  • Antje Missbach: freedom fighter or trader? The armed struggle of the Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (GAM) taking into account classic and new guerrilla theories. Logos, Berlin 2005, ISBN 978-3-8325-0789-3 .
  • Jacqueline Aquino Siapno: Gender, Islam, Nationalism and the State in Aceh. The Paradox of Power, Co-optation and Resistance . Routledge, Abingdon, 2002.
  • James T. Siegel: The Rope of God. The University of California Press, Berkeley 1969, ISBN 978-0-472-08682-5 .
  • Anthony Reid (Ed.): Verandah of Violence: The historical background of the Aceh problem. Singapore University Press, Singapore 2006, ISBN 9971-69-331-3 .
  • Geoffrey Robinson: Rawan is as Rawan Does: The Origins of Disorder in New Order Aceh. In: Indonesia, Vol. 66. 1998, pp. 127–156
  • Christoph Schuck: The civil war in Aceh. Consequences for Indonesia's path to democracy. In: WeltTrends. Journal of International Politics and Comparative Studies. Potsdam 42.2004, pp. 101-111. ISSN  0944-8101
  • Aceh Dalam Angka 2020, Badan Pusan ​​Statistics Provinsi Aceh ( E-book, Indonesian / English )

Web links

Commons : Aceh  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. Peraturan Menteri Dalam Negeri RI Nomor 72 Tahun 2019: pages 6, 7
  3. ^ Klaus Kreiser: Der Ottmanische Staat, Oldenbourg Verlag, Munich 2008, p. 28
  4. See BJ Boland: The Struggle of Islam in Modern Indonesia. Martinus Nijhoff, The Hague 1971. pp. 68-74.
  5. See Boland 176f.
  6. See Boland 178.
  7. See Boland 179.
  8. Watch Indonesia: The ›unfinished business‹ in Aceh: from the flag to the tight trousers , July 20, 2013
  9. Philipp Abresch: With the baton for the Sharia. Weltspiegel , June 18, 2017, accessed June 18, 2017 .
  10. Indraswari: When women are banned from wearing trousers. The Jakarta Post, November 13, 2009
  11. Bernd Musch-Borowska: Islamic law applies in Aceh: On the go with the Sharia police. ( Memento from January 26, 2010 in the Internet Archive ). ARD, January 24, 2010 (audio)
  12. ^ Vaswani: Indonesia's Aceh punks shaved for 're-education. BBC News, December 14, 2011
  13. Nurdin Hasan: Aceh 'Punks' Arrested for 'Re-education'. ( Memento of December 14, 2012 in the Internet Archive ). The Jakarta Globe, December 13, 2011
  14. Nurdin Hasan: Church Row a 'Dark Time' for Aceh. ( Memento of May 15, 2012 in the Internet Archive ) Jakarta Globe, May 11, 2012
  15. Sharia court in Aceh condemns two Christians | DOMRADIO.DE. Retrieved March 3, 2018 .
  16. Women out and about at night? Forbidden!, June 9, 2015
  17. ^ Sharia police in Indonesia: first touch, then punishment., April 25, 2016
  18. Sewell Chan: 2 Men in Indonesia Sentenced to Caning for Having Gay Sex. The New York Times, May 17, 2017, accessed May 17, 2017 .
  19. Phelim Kine: Indonesia's Aceh Authorities Lash Hundreds Under Sharia Statutes. Human Rights Watch, February 8, 2017, accessed May 17, 2017 .
  20. Siapno: Gender, Islam, Nationalism . 2002, p. 71.
  21. Siapno: Gender, Islam, Nationalism . 2002, p. 140.

Coordinates: 5 ° 0 '  N , 96 ° 0'  E