Where are the garden gnomes in Jakarta?

Here’s the abstract of an interesting little academic paper I came across the other day:

Gnome populations and economic prosperity
By Norma Leigh Lucid and Gene Poole


Poverty levels in South East Asia have been associated with a low prevalence of garden ornaments in general - and of garden gnomes in particular. It is notable that the two most successful economies in Europe are Germany and France. In both these countries, rapid economic growth followed the introduction of garden gnomes at the end of the Second World War. Today, the garden gnome population in Germany surpasses 25 million and in France there are at least 15 million gnomes. In contrast, countries where gnome populations are low tend to have low levels of prosperity as well as political instability.

We do not believe this is a coincidence and argue that economic prosperity and gnome populations are very closely linked. From a trade perspective, we also argue that Indonesia needs to focus its exports on other types of garden ornaments (besides gnomes), since this is where the country benefits from significant competitive advantages.

Although some recommendations made in this paper have already been put into action, the signs are mixed. Not one single garden gnome has been spotted in Jakarta and there is resistance in Bali to garden gnomes because the locals there prefer traditional carved deities like Ganesha and Dewi Sri instead. And elsewhere across the archipelago, gnome sightings are still very rare.

Yet, encouragingly, exports of garden ornaments are gaining traction and giant Indonesian stone willies are now selling very well in some parts of Europe (orders to the UK have alone have already surpassed the 150 level).

large stone

A couple of British cops get to grips with things

Source: Digital Journal

Hell. The stuff people put in their gardens.

Or, as I noticed yesterday in Jakarta, on the tops of their houses as well!

house in kemang, south jakarta...no gnomes in Jakarta


  1. Well there is at least one garden gnome in Jakarta! In front of a big house behind PIM 2, there is this overweight Chinese gnome staring at the road with its belly reaching out. It's not really a traditional gnome but it's as close to one as it gets in Jakarta.

  2. hahaha! it's a joke right? or is it just another western way of applying their standards to the east?

  3. Anon: joke is the wrong word, satire is probably better.


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