The unity of all ethnical
groups is represented by one star. The colour
(yellow/gold) of the star stands for a golden future. The
red stripe stands for progress and love, the green for
hope and fertility, and white for peace and justice.
Mark Sensen, 2 March 1996
Facts for the Traveler
Visas: Virtually all
visitors require a visa. There are Surninamese embassies
in the Netherlands, Germany and the US. Visitors from
other countries can obtain visas on arrival.
Health risks: cholera, malaria, rabies, typhoid,
Time Zone: GMT/UTC -3
Dialling Code: 597
Electricity: 127V ,60Hz
Weights & measures: Metric
When to Go
Suriname's dry seasons, from
early February to late April and from mid-August to early
December, are the best times for a visit. From March to
July, several species of sea turtles come ashore to nest
at Wia Wia and Galibi reserves.
The Hindu New Year's
festival, Holi Phagwah, is held in March or April, while
the Muslim holiday Id ul fitr celebrates the end of
fasting at Ramadan.
Money & Costs
Currency: Surinam Guilder
Suriname is moderately expensive. The cheapest accommodation is very
basic and costs US$6 per night, while a good room is at
least US$25. A reasonable restaurant meal is at least
US$5. Budget travelers can get by on around US$25 per
day, while those looking for more comfort should expect
to spend closer to US$50 per day.
US dollars are the most common foreign currency in
Suriname, but euros and other major currencies are
accepted at banks. Banks are open weekdays from 8am to
3pm. Changing money can involve time-consuming paperwork.
In practice, many businesses will accept US dollars at
the usual rate, and many quote their prices in dollars.
Credit cards are accepted at major hotels and at travel
agencies. American Express is more common than either
MasterCard or Visa.
In restaurants, it is customary to tip about 10% of the
bill. In general, waiters and waitresses are poorly paid,
so if you can afford to eat out, you can afford to tip.
Taxi drivers do not require tips, although you may round
off the fare for convenience. Long-distance bus or shared
taxi fares are negotiable. Purchases from handicrafts
markets will be subject to bargaining and haggling on
hotel prices is possible in the off-season or for long
Paramaribo (often abbreviated to 'Parbo') is a curious
hybrid of northern Europe and tropical America. Imposing
brick buildings overlook grassy squares and wooden houses
crowd narrow streets, but towering palms shade some areas
and mangroves still hug the riverside. Mosques and
synagogues sit side by side, while Javanese vendors
peddle satay and Dutch-speaking Creoles guzzle beer at
The ONLY place in the world where a
mosque and a synagogue stand side by side... A real
testimony of Surinam's unique population and the kind of
tolerance that prevails there.
Central Paramaribo's focus is
the Onafhankelijksplein (Independence Square), fronting
the Presidential Palace. Immediately behind the palace is
the Palmentuin, an attractive park with tall palms
inhabited by tropical birds. To the east is Fort
Zeelandia, a 17-century riverside fortification used for
the detention and torture of political prisoners after
the coup of 1980. The main market is found on the
riverside boulevard, Waterkrant, and ferries for Meerzog,
on the other side of the river, leave from nearby.
Brownsberg Nature Park
This park comprises an area
of montane tropical rainforest overlooking one of the
world's largest reservoirs, the W J van Blommestein Meer,
about one and a half hours from Paramaribo by car. Guided
tours are available and include a short walk on the
Mazaroni plateau, which gives fine views of the reservoir
to the east, and a longer hike which involves a steep
descent into a canyon with small but attractive
Off the Beaten Track
Albina is a small, run-down
village on the Marowijne River, the border with French
Guiana. With permission from the Carib Indians (and a
hired canoe), it is possible to visit the nearby Galibi
Nature Reserve, where Ridley, green and leatherback
turtles nest in June and July. Albina has no
accommodation but it may be possible to find a bed in a
private house or sling a hammock in the park
The original inhabitants of
the Guyanese coast were Carib Indians. Covered by
mangroves, the thinly populated, muddy coastline failed
to attract Spaniards in search of gold, though they made
occasional slave raids. Interior tropical forest peoples
such as the Macushi and Tirió also survived in relative
The English established sugar and tobacco plantations on
the west bank of the Suriname River around 1650 and
founded the settlement now known as Paramaribo. Two
decades later, the Dutch took possession in one of the
silliest property deals ever transacted: they swapped New
Amsterdam (present-day New York) for the English
territory in Suriname. To expand their plantations, the
Dutch imported west African slaves. From the mid-18th
century, escaped slaves formed Maroon (Bush Negro)
settlements in the interior, and retained many African
customs. The abolition of slavery led to labour shortages
in the early 19th century, and indentured labourers were
brought in from the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia),
India, China, Portugal and Lebanon.
Despite limited autonomy, Suriname remained a colony
until 1954, when it became a self-governing state;
another 20 years passed before it gained independence. A
military coup in 1980 brought Desi Bouterse to power. His brutal regime saw that
all political opponents were murdered, and he also
carried out a vicious campaign to suppress a rebellion of
Bush Negroes. Posing as a Marxist, Bouterse flirted with
Cuba (to the alarm of the USA and Brazil) and then with
Libya (to the alarm of French Guiana). In 1987 free
elections were held and a multiracial government was
Although Bouterse no longer holds power, he staged
another coup in 1990 and still lingers in the background
as the main opposition leader. Despite leftist rhetoric,
Ronald Venetiaan's coalition government proved amenable
to multinationals, such as Suralco (a subsidiary of
Alcoa), which control the country's lucrative bauxite
industry. Venetiaan also granted many gold and timber
concessions, but ultimately was unable to establish a
working majority. In July 1996 Jules Wijdenbosch, from
Bouterse's NDP party, was elected and immediately ended
Venetiaan's structural adjustment programs.
In June 1999 Wijdenbosch called for an early election in
a bid to avoid his removal from office. In response to
the Suriname guilder's plunge from 700 to 2200 to the
dollar, sometimes violent protests drew as many as 20,000
people. Elections were originally scheduled for 2001, but
Wijdenbosch bowed out prematurely to his predecessor
Ronald Venetiaan, who was elected for his second tour of
duty in August 2000.
In January 2004, in an effort designed to restore
confidence in the economy and especially in the national
currency, the government replaced the guilder with the
Suriname dollar. In the middle of the same year an United
Nations tribunal was set up in an effort to arbitrate
once and for all on a strip of offshore land disputed
between Suriname and neighbouring Guyana, which could end
up holding a lucrative oil field.
Suriname's ethnic mix is
reflected in the religious allegiances of its people. The
most important Christian denominations are Roman Catholic
and Moravian Brethren, but many Christian groups also
practice traditional African beliefs such as obeah and
winti. About 80% of the East Indian population are Hindu.
Although Dutch is the official language, the vernacular
Sranan (also known as Surinaams), an English-based
creole, is widely spoken. Hindi, Javanese, Chinese, Djuka
and Saramaccan (both English-based creoles) and various
Amerindian languages are also spoken.
The development of a strong national arts scene has been
hampered by the fact that many of the country's
intelligentsia live abroad (mostly in the Netherlands),
partly because of greater economic opportunities and
partly because of military repression. However, gamelan
offers an insight into the cultural life of the
Indonesian community; sculpture and carvings express the
values of the Amerindian and Bush Negro populations.
Suriname's food is an exotic mix of East Indian, Indian,
Creole and Chinese cuisines; the cheapest eateries are
warungs, Javanese food stalls serving fried noodle and
Suriname lies on the northern
coast of South America, squeezed in between Guyana and
French Guiana to the west and east, and Brazil to the
south. The majority of Surinamese inhabit the Atlantic
coast, where most of the country's few roads are located.
The densely forested interior is accessible only by air
or via the north-south rivers, though rapids limit the
navigability of most rivers.
and humidity are high. The major rainy season is from
April to July, with a shorter one in December and
Read More Here At
Afghan Muslims of Guyana and Suriname
Looks Like Love (A
The picture above this is the Coat of Arms of
The words justitia, pietas and fides are Latin and mean:
justice, peace and loyalty. Click on this
link to read more about the
Suriname Coat of Arms.
Suriname Anthem - Original version:
Opo kondre man oen opo!
Sranan gron e kari oen.
Wans ope tata komopo
wi moe seti kondre boen.
Stré de f'stré, wi no sa frede.
Gado de wi fesiman.
Eri libi te na dede
wi sa feti gi Sranan.
God zij met ons Suriname
Hij verheff' ons heerlijk land
Hoe wij hier ook samenkwamen
Aan zijn grond zijn wij verpand
Werkend houden w'in gedachten
Recht en waarheid maken vrij
Al wat goed is te betrachten
Dat geeft aan ons land waardij
Dutch Translation of
Landgenoten staat op!
De Surinaamse grond roept u.
Waar de voorouders ook vandaan kwamen
Wij moeten het land opbouwen.
Strijd is er te voeren, wij zullen niet versagen.
God is onze leidsman.
Heel ons leven tot de dood
Zullen wij strijden voor Suriname.
Translation: Translation of Original version:
The Suriname ground is calling you.
Where ever our ancestors came from,
we must build up this country.
Struggles have to be made, but we won't be afraid.
God is our leader.
During our whole lives until death
We will fight for Suriname.
Translation of Dutch
God is with our Suriname
He elevates our wonderful country
In what ever way we came here
We are attached to his ground
While we work we keep in mind
Justice and truth set free
To try out whatever is right
That gives dignity to our country