Coastal flooding poses serious threats to coastal areas, and the vulnerability of coastal communities and economic sectors to flooding will increase in the coming decades due to environmental and socioeconomic changes. It is increasingly recognised that estimates of the vulnerability of cities are essential for planning adaptation measures. Jakarta is a case in point, since parts of the city are subjected to regular flooding on a near-monthly basis. In order to assess the current and future coastal flood hazard, we set up a GIS-based flood model of northern Jakarta to simulate inundated area and value of exposed assets. Under current conditions, estimated damage exposure to extreme coastal flood events with return periods of 100 and 1,000 years is high (€4.0 and €5.2 billion, respectively). Under the scenario for 2100, damage exposure associated with these events increases by a factor 4-5, with little difference between low/high sea-level rise scenarios. This increase is mainly due to rapid land subsidence and excludes socioeconomic developments. We also develop a detemporalised inundation scenario for assessing impacts associated with any coastal flood scenario. This allows for the identification of critical points above which large increases in damage exposure can be expected and also for the assessment of adaptation options against hypothetical user-defined levels of change, rather than being bound to a discrete set of a priori scenarios. The study highlights the need for urgent attention to the land subsidence problem; a continuation of the current rate would result in catastrophic increases in damage exposure. © 2010 The Author(s).