Pekalongan, also known as the “Batik City” is home to 300,000 people. It is a multicultural city where different ethnic communities live together, often enjoying each other’s cultural expressions in the many exhibitions, parades and events held throughout the year.
Handcrafts, such as hand-drawn and hand-stamped batik, are the main pillars of the city’s economy. Closely tied to art, culture and the economy, batik design and production are an essential part of Pekalongan’s identity. Integrated into the city’s educational system, Batik culture is also well integrated into the city’s creative economy development plans.
Safeguarding and further developing Batik culture and the surrounding Batik craft villages is a priority for Pekalongan. The Batik Museum and the adjacent workshops for students form an important arts centre and have been recognized as a Best Safeguarding Practice of intangible heritage.
Pekalongan is an excellent example of how culture-based development can support citizens, particularly women, in developing viable income generating activities and improving their quality of life.
As a Creative City of Crafts and Folk Arts, Pekalongan envisages:
- safeguarding the Batik tradition and its unique combination of art, craft and income generation for Pekalongan’s citizens;
- developing the social, cultural and economic infrastructures linked to the Batik-making process;
- strengthening relevant institutions and supporting scientific and technological advancement in order to stimulate education on Batik, and to safeguard and develop Batik culture;
- fostering the creative economy through supporting clusters and centres specialized in Batik as well as increasing efforts to promote Batik on local, national and global levels;
- creating collaborative networks with academic, governmental and civil society stakeholders in the Batik industry;
- promoting an environmentally friendly Batik industry; and
- developing information and communication technologies to support the development of the Batik sector.