The Istana Merdeka (Freedom Palace) is the official residence of the President. The current president (Suharto) does not live there. He prefers to live in his own residence in Central Jakarta. This palace is located north of the National Monument. Prior to 1949, the palace was the residence of the Governor General of the Dutch East Indies (that's how Indonesia was known before the Independence Day. The front yard of the palace is the center stage of Indonesia's Independence Day celebration on August 17.