Suriname: Wikis


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Republic of Suriname
Republiek Suriname (Dutch) Ripoliku Sranan (Sranan Tongo)
Flag Coat of arms
MottoJustitia - Pietas - Fides  (Latin)
"Justice - Duty - Loyalty"
AnthemGod zij met ons Suriname   (Dutch)
('God be with our Suriname')
(and largest city)
5°50′N 55°10′W / 5.833°N 55.167°W / 5.833; -55.167
Official language(s) Dutch
Recognised regional languages Sranan Tongo, Hindi, English, Sarnami, Javanese, Indonesian, Bhojpuri, Hakka, Cantonese, Saramaccan, Paramaccan, Ndyuka, Kwinti, Matawai, Cariban, Arawakan Kalina[citation needed]
Demonym Surinamese
 -  President Ronald Venetiaan
Independence From the Netherlands 
 -  Date November 25, 1975 
 -  Total 163,821 km2 (91st)
63,251 sq mi 
 -  July 2009 estimate 481,267[1] (167th)
 -  2004 census 456,829[2] 
 -  Density 2.9/km2 (231st)
7.6/sq mi
GDP (PPP) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $4.364 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $8,187[3] 
GDP (nominal) 2008 estimate
 -  Total $2.933 billion[3] 
 -  Per capita $5,504[3] 
HDI (2007) 0.769[4] (medium) (97th)
Currency Surinamese dollar (SRD)
Time zone ART (UTC-3)
 -  Summer (DST) not observed (UTC-3)
Drives on the left
Internet TLD .sr
Calling code 597
Suriname's ISO 3166 code is SR

Suriname[5] (Dutch: Suriname; Sarnami: शर्नम् Sarnam, Sranan Tongo: Sranangron), officially the Republic of Suriname, is a country in northern South America.

Suriname is situated between French Guiana to the east and Guyana to the west. The southern border is shared with Brazil and the northern border is the Atlantic coast. The southernmost borders with French Guiana and Guyana are disputed along the Marowijne and Corantijn rivers, respectively; while a part of the disputed maritime boundary with Guyana was arbitrated by the United Nations Convention on Law of the Sea on September 20, 2007.

Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in terms of area and population in South America. The country is the only Dutch-speaking region in the Western Hemisphere that is not a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Suriname has a typical multicultural society with extreme ethnic, linguistic, and religious diversity. Suriname's geographical size is just under 165,000 km2 (64,000 sq mi), and it has an estimated population of about 470,000 people, most of whom live on the country's north coast.



The name, Suriname, may derive from a Taino (Arawak-speaking) group called "Surinen" who first inhabited the region prior to European arrival.[citation needed]

Originally, the country was spelt Surinam by English settlers who founded the first colony at Marshall's Creek,[6] along the Suriname River, and was formerly known as Nederlands Guyana, Netherlands Guiana or Dutch Guiana. "Surinam" can still be found in English. A notable example of this is Suriname's own national airline, Surinam Airways. The older English name is reflected in the English pronunciation of "Suriname", /ˈsʊrɨnæm/ or /ˈsʊrɨnɑːm/. In Dutch, the official language of Suriname, the pronunciation is [ˌsyriˈnamə], with the main stress on the first syllable.


A map of Suriname with the disputed areas included
Map of Suriname.

Suriname is the smallest independent country in South America. Situated on the Guiana Shield, the country can be divided into two main geographic regions. The northern, lowland coastal area (roughly above the line Albina-Paranam-Wageningen) has been cultivated, and most of the population lives here. The southern part consists of tropical rainforest and sparsely inhabited savanna along the border with Brazil, covering about 80% of Suriname's land surface.

There are two main mountain ranges in the Bakhuys Mountains and the Van Asch Van Wijck Mountains. Julianatop is the highest mountain in the country at 1,286 metres (4,219 ft) above sea level. Other mountains include Tafelberg at 1,026 metres (3,366 ft), Mount Kasikasima at 718 metres (2,356 ft), Goliathberg at 358 metres (1,175 ft) and Voltzberg at 240 metres (790 ft).

Districts and resorts

Map of the districts of Suriname in alphabetical order
River landscape in Suriname.
Suriname is divided into ten districts:

Suriname is further subdivided into 62 resorts (ressorten).


Lying 2 to 5 degrees north of the equator, Suriname has a very hot tropical climate, and temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. The year has two wet seasons, from April to August and from November to February. It also has two dry seasons, from August to November and February to April.

Nature reserves

In the upper Coppename River watershed, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve is a UNESCO World Heritage Site cited for its unspoiled rainforest biodiversity. There are many national parks in the country: Galibi National Reserve, Coppename Manding National Park and Wia Wia NR along the coast, Brownsberg NR, Raleighvallen/Voltzeberg NR, Tafelberg NR and Eilerts de Haan NP in the centre and the Sipaliwani NR on the Brazilian border. In all, 12.6% of the country's land area are national parks and lakes, according to the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre[7].


The Jules Wijdenbosch Bridge is a bridge over the river Suriname between Paramaribo and Meerzorg in the Commewijne district. The bridge was built during the tenure of President Jules Albert Wijdenbosch (1996–2000) and was completed in 2000. The bridge is 52 metres (171 ft) high, and 1,504 metres (4,934 ft) long. It connects Paramaribo with Commewijne, a connection which previously could only be made by ferry. The purpose of the bridge was to facilitate and promote the development of the eastern part of Suriname. The bridge consists of two lanes and is not accessible to pedestrians.

The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul in Paramaribo

The Cathedral of St. Peter and Paul is 114 years old. Before it became a cathedral it was a theatre and was owned by La Parra. The theatre was built in 1809 and burned down in 1820. The construction of the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral started on January, 13, 1883.

Mosque next to a synagogue

Suriname is one of the few countries in the world where a synagogue is located next to a mosque (another place is Sofia, Bulgaria). The two buildings are located next to each other in the centre of Paramaribo and have been known to share a parking facility during their respective religious rites, should they happen to coincide with one another.


Beginning in the 16th century, the area was discovered by, French, Spanish and English explorers. A century later, plantation colonies were established by the Dutch and English along the many rivers in the fertile Guyana plains. The earliest documented colony in Guiana was along the Suriname River and called Marshall's Creek. The area was named after an Englishman.[6] Disputes arose between the Dutch and the English. In 1667, the Dutch decided to keep the nascent plantation colony of Suriname conquered from the English, resulting from the Treaty of Breda. The English were left with New Amsterdam, a small trading post in North America, which later became New York City.

The Dutch planters relied heavily on African slaves to cultivate the coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and cotton plantations along the rivers. Treatment of the slaves by their owners was notoriously bad, and many slaves escaped the plantations. With the help of the native South Americans living in the adjoining rain forests, these runaway slaves established a new and unique culture that was highly successful in its own right. Known collectively in English as the Maroons, in French as the Nèg'Marrons and in Dutch as "Bosnegers" (literally meaning "bush negroes"), they actually established several independent tribes, among them the Saramaka, the Paramaka, the Ndyuka or Aukan, the Kwinti, the Aluku or Boni, and the Matawai.

The Maroons would often raid the plantations to recruit new members, acquire women, weapons, food and supplies. These attacks were often deadly for the planters and their families, and after several unsuccessful campaigns against the Maroons, the European authorities signed several peace treaties with them in the 19th century, granting the Maroons sovereign status and trade rights.

Javanese people, picture taken between 1880-1900

Slavery was abolished by the Netherlands in Suriname in 1863, but the slaves in Suriname were not fully released until 1873, after a mandatory 10 year transition period during which time they were required to work on the plantations for minimal pay and without state sanctioned torture. As soon as they became truly free, the slaves largely abandoned the plantations where they had suffered for several generations, in favor of the city, Paramaribo. As a plantation colony, Suriname was still heavily dependent on manual labor, and to make up for the shortfall, the Dutch brought in contract laborers from the Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia) and India (through an arrangement with the British). In addition, during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, small numbers of mostly men were brought in from China and the Middle East. Although Suriname's population remains relatively small, because of this history it is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse in the world.

Maroon village, Suriname River, 1955

In 1954, the Dutch placed Suriname under a system of limited self-government, with the Netherlands retaining control of defense and foreign affairs. In 1973, the local government, led by the NPK (a largely Creole, meaning ethnically African or mixed African-European, party) started negotiations with the Dutch government leading towards full independence, which was granted on 25 November 1975. The severance package was very substantial, and a large part of Suriname's economy for the first decade following independence was fueled by foreign aid provided by the Dutch government.

The first President of the country was Johan Ferrier, the former governor, with Henck Arron (the then leader of the Nationale Partij Suriname (Suriname's National Party)) as Prime Minister. Nearly one third of the population of Suriname at that time emigrated to the Netherlands in the years leading up to independence, as many people feared that the new country would fare worse under independence than it did as an overseas colony of the Netherlands. Suriname's diaspora therefore includes more than a quarter of one million people of Suriname origin living in the Netherlands today, including several recent members of the Dutch national football (soccer) team.

On February 25, 1980, a military coup sidelined the democratic government and declared a Socialist Republic,[1] and with it began a period of economic and social hardship for the country. On 8 December 1982, the military, then under the leadership of Desi Bouterse, rounded up several prominent citizens who were accused of plotting against the government. They were allegedly tortured and certainly killed during the night, and the Netherlands quickly suspended all foreign aid to Suriname after this event. (As of August 2008, Desi Bouterse is currently standing trial in Suriname for his role in these killings.)

Elections were held in 1987 and a new constitution was adopted, which among other things allowed the dictator to remain in charge of the army. Dissatisfied with the government, Bouterse summarily dismissed them in 1990, by telephone. This event became popularly known as "the telephone coup". Bouterse's power began to wane after the 1991 elections however, and a brutal civil war between the Suriname army and the Maroons, loyal to the rebel leader Ronnie Brunswijk, further weakened his position during the 1990s.

Suriname's democracy gained some strength after the turbulent 1990s, and its economy became more diversified and less dependent on Dutch financial assistance. Bauxite (Aluminum ore) mining continues to be a strong revenue source, but the discovery and exploitation of oil and gold has added substantially to Suriname's economic independence. Agriculture, especially of rice and bananas, remains a strong component of the economy, and ecotourism is providing new economic opportunities. More than 80% of Suriname's land-mass consists of unspoiled rain forest, and with the establishment of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve in 1998, Suriname signaled its commitment to conservation of this precious resource. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve became a World Heritage Site in 2000.


Ministry of Finance

The economy of Suriname is dominated by the bauxite industry, which accounts for more than 15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings. Other main export products include rice, bananas and shrimp. Suriname has recently started exploiting some of its sizeable oil[8] and gold[9] reserves. About a quarter of the people work in the agricultural sector. The Surinamese economy is very dependent on commerce, its main trade partners being the Netherlands, the United States, Canada and Caribbean countries.

After assuming power in the fall of 1996, the Wijdenbosch government ended the structural adjustment program of the previous government, claiming it was unfair to the poorer elements of society. Tax revenues fell as old taxes lapsed and the government failed to implement new tax alternatives. By the end of 1997, the allocation of new Dutch development funds was frozen as Surinamese Government relations with the Netherlands deteriorated. Economic growth slowed in 1998, with decline in the mining, construction, and utility sectors. Rampant government expenditures, poor tax collection, a bloated civil service, and reduced foreign aid in 1999 contributed to the fiscal deficit, estimated at 11% of GDP. The government sought to cover this deficit through monetary expansion, which led to a dramatic increase in inflation.

  • GDP (2006 est.): U.S. $2.11 billion.
  • Annual growth rate real GDP (2006 est.): 5.8%.
  • Per capita GDP (2006 est.): U.S. $4,000.
  • Inflation (2006): 5.6%.
  • Natural resources: Bauxite, gold, oil, iron ore, other minerals; forests; hydroelectric potential; fish and shrimp.
  • Agriculture: Products—rice, bananas, timber, and citrus fruits.
  • Industry: Types—alumina, oil, gold, fish, shrimp, lumber.
  • Trade (2005):
    • Exports—U.S. $929.1 million: alumina, gold, crude oil, wood and wood products, rice, bananas, fish, and shrimp. Major markets—Norway (23.9%), U.S. (16.8%), Canada (16.4%), France (8.1%), Iceland (2.9%).
    • Imports--$1.1 billion: capital equipment, petroleum, iron and steel products, agricultural products, and consumer goods. Major suppliers—U.S. (24.4%), Netherlands (14.5%), Trinidad and Tobago (10.5%), China (5.4%), Japan (4.3%), Brazil (3.6%).


The population growth of Suriname. Note the y-axis is the number inhabitants in thousands.

In November 2007, Suriname's population was estimated to be 494,347. It is made up of several distinct ethnic groups.

  • Hindoestanen form the largest major group at 27% of the population. They are descendants of nineteenth-century contract workers from India. They are from the Indian states of Bihar and Eastern Uttar Pradesh, in Northern India, along the Nepali border.
  • The Surinamese Creoles form the middle group 18% of the population. They are the mixed descendants of West African slaves and Europeans (mostly Dutch).
  • The Javanese (descendants of contract workers from the former Dutch East Indies on the island of Java, Indonesia) make up 15% (close to 90,000) of the population.[10]
  • Surinamese Maroons (descendants of escaped West African slaves) make up 15% and are divided into five main groups: Ndyuka (Aucans), Kwinti, Matawai, Saramaccans and Paramaccans.
  • Mixed 12.5%
  • Amerindians form 3.7% of the population, the main groups being the Akuriyo, Arawak, Carib/Kaliña, Trío (Tiriyó), and Wayana.[10]
  • Chinese, mainly descendants of the earliest nineteenth-century contract workers, 1.8% and number about 14,000.
  • Boeres (derived from boer, the Dutch word for farmer) are descendants of Dutch nineteenth-century immigrant farmers. Most Boeres left after independence in 1975.
  • Brazilians, many of them gold miners.[11] Most of the nearly 40,000 Brazilians living in Suriname arrived during the past several years.[12]

File:Mosque suriname.gif

Synagogue in Paramaribo

There is no predominant religion in the country. Christianity, both in the form of Roman Catholicism and various denominations of Protestantism, is dominant among Creoles and Maroons. The Creoles and to a lesser degree the Maroons, both descendants of enslaved Africans, were forced to convert to Christianity, but a lot of them still retain their Afro-American religion called Winti. Most of the Hindustani are Hindu, but some practice Islam or Christianity. The Javanese practice either Islam or Christianity. Suriname's population is 20% Muslim, which is the highest minority-percentage of Muslims of any country in the New World.[13]

The makeup of Suriname's population is similar to that of neighboring Guyana, with the exception of the large Indonesian population (which is not present in Guyana). French Guiana, which is a part of France, does not collect ethnic statistics, but is believed to contain much smaller Hindustani and Indonesian populations.

The vast majority of people (about 90%) live in Paramaribo or on the coast. There is also a significant Surinamese population in the Netherlands. In 2005 there were 328,300 Surinamese people living in the Netherlands, which is about 2% of the total population of the Netherlands, compared to 438,000 Surinamese in Suriname itself.

Old flag of Suriname

These groups are all represented in the old flag of Suriname.


A variety of languages are spoken in Suriname. Dutch is the sole official language,[1] and is the language of education, government, business and the media. Over 60 percent of the population speak it as a mother tongue,[14] and most of the rest speak it as a second or third language. In 2004, Suriname became an associate member of the Dutch Language Union.[15] In Paramaribo, Dutch is the main home language in two-thirds of households.[16]. The recognition of "Surinaams Nederlands" ("Surinam Dutch") as a natiolect equal to "Nederlands Nederlands" ("Dutch Dutch") and "Vlaams Nederlands" ("Flemish Dutch") was expressed in 2009 by the publication of the Woordenboek Surinaams Nederlands (Surinamese Dutch Dictionary) [17]. Only in the interior of Suriname is Dutch seldom used.

Sranan Tongo, a local creole language originally spoken by the Creole population group, is the most widely used language in the streets and often interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality of the setting.[18]

Surinamese Hindi or Sarnami, a dialect of Bhojpuri, is the third-most used language, spoken by the descendants of British Asian contract workers. Javanese is used by the descendants of Javanese contract workers. The Maroon languages, somewhat intelligible with Sranan Tongo, include Saramaka, Paramakan, Ndyuka, Aukan, Kwinti and Matawai. Amerindian languages, spoken by Amerindians, include Carib and Arawak. Hakka and Cantonese are spoken by the descendants of the Chinese contract (koelie, coolie) workers. Mandarin is spoken by some few recent Chinese immigrants. English, Spanish and Portuguese are also used. Spanish and Portuguese are spoken by Latin American residents and their descendants and sometimes also taught in schools.

The public discourse about Suriname's languages is a part of an ongoing debate about the country's national identity.[18] While Dutch is perceived as a remnant of colonialism by some,[18] the use of the popular Sranan became associated with nationalist politics after its public use by former dictator Dési Bouterse in the 1980s,[18] and groups descended from escaped slaves might resent it.[18] Some propose to change the national language to English, so as to improve links to the Caribbean and North America, or to Spanish, as a nod to Suriname's location in South America, although it has no Spanish-speaking neighbours.[18]


Fertility rate was at 2.6 births per woman.[19] Public expenditure was at 3.6 % of the GDP in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at 4.2 %.[19] There were 45 physicians per 100,000 in the early 2000s.[19] Infant mortality was at 30 per 1,000 live births.[19] Male life expectancy at birth was at 66.4 years, whereas female life expectancy at birth was at 73 years.[19]


Suriname and neighboring Guyana are the only two countries on the (in-land) American continent who still drive on the left. In Guyana this practice is inherited from United Kingdom colonial authorities. The reason for the left hand drive in Suriname is explained by several sources. It is thought that this is because the first cars imported were from England, but this is yet undocumented. In addition, this view does not make statements on traffic before the automobile era. Another explanation is that the Netherlands, at the time of colonization of Suriname, used the left-hand side of the road for traffic,[20] or that Suriname was first colonized by the English.[21] Although the Netherlands converted to driving to the right at the end of the 18th century (Peter Kincaid, and [22]), Suriname did not. An interesting viewpoint on this is forwarded by Peter Kincaid, and further explored by Ian Watson,[23] in that territories such as Suriname, with no neighbors or no connecting roads to neighbour countries, had no external pressure to either change or to maintain the status quo on driving sides.


Presidential palace.
The National Assembly.

The Republic of Suriname is a constitutional democracy based on the 1987 constitution.

The legislative branch of government consists of a 51-member unicameral National Assembly, simultaneously and popularly elected for a five-year term.

The president, who is elected for a five-year term by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly or, failing that, by a majority of the People's Assembly, heads the executive branch. If at least two-thirds of the National Assembly cannot agree to vote for one presidential candidate, a People's Assembly is formed from all National Assembly delegates and regional and municipal representatives who were elected by popular vote in the most recent national election. As head of government, the president appoints a 16-minister cabinet. There is no constitutional provision for removal or replacement of the president unless he resigns.

The judiciary is headed by the Court of Justice (Supreme Court). This court supervises the magistrate courts. Members are appointed for life by the president in consultation with the National Assembly, the State Advisory Council and the National Order of Private Attorneys. In April 2005, the regional Caribbean Court of Justice, based in Trinidad, was inaugurated. As the final court of appeal, it was intended to replace the London-based Privy Council.

The country is divided into 10 administrative districts, each headed by a district commissioner appointed by the president. The commissioner is similar to the governor of a United States-type state, but is appointed and removed by the president.


Waterfront houses in Paramaribo, 1955.

Owing to the country's multicultural heritage, Suriname celebrates a variety of distinct ethnic and religious festivals.

National celebrations

January 1 - New Year's Day
March 1 (varies) - Holi/ Phagwa
May 1 - Labour Day
June 5 - Immigration of the Indians
July 1 - Keti Koti, Emancipation Day (end of slavery)
August 8 - Day of the indigenous people
August 9 - Immigration of the Javanese
November 25 - Independence Day
December 5 - Children's day (Sinterklaas)
December 25 - Christmas Day
December 26 - Second Christmas Day

There are several Hindu and Islamic national holidays like Divali (deepavali), Phagwa and Eid ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-adha. These holidays do not have specific dates on the Gregorian calendar as they are based on the Hindu and Islamic calendars, respectively.

There are several holidays which are unique to Suriname. These include the Indian, Javanese and Chinese arrival days. They celebrate the arrival of the first ships with their respective immigrants.

New Year's Eve

Pagara (Red-firecracker-ribbons)

New Year's Eve in Suriname is called Oud jaar, or "old year". It is during this period that the Surinamese population goes to the city's commercial district to watch demonstrational fireworks. The bigger stores invest in these firecrackers and display them out in the streets. Every year the length of them is compared, and high praises are held for the company that has managed to import the largest ribbon. These celebrations start at 10 in the morning and finish the next day. The day is usually filled with laughter, dance, music, and drinking. When the night starts, the big street parties are already at full capacity. The most popular fiesta is the one that is held at café 't Vat in the main tourist district. The parties there stop between 10 and 11 at night. After which the people go home to light their pagaras (red-firecracker-ribbons) at midnight. After 12, the parties continue and the streets fill again until daybreak.


Some of the greatest football players to represent the Netherlands, such as Frank Rijkaard, Ruud Gullit, Patrick Kluivert, Edgar Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Aron Winter, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, Stanley Menzo, Ryan Babel, Ken Monkou, Edson Braafheid,[Boy Waterman], Regi Blinker and Fabian Wilnis are of Surinamese descent. Davids in particular has written of his passionate pride in his Surinamese heritage and his love of attending football matches there. There are a number of local heroes in other sports as well, like Primraj Binda, best known as the athlete who dominated the local 10 km for nearly a decade, Steven Vismale and Letitia Vriesde. Another notable track athlete from Suriname was Tommy Asinga.

Anthony Nesty is the only person to win a medal (for swimming) for Suriname at the Olympics. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, not Suriname, he now lives in Gainesville, Florida, USA, and is a coach of the University of Florida. He is mainly a distance coach.

Multiple K-1 champion and legend, Ernesto Hoost, was born in Suriname. Remy Bonjasky also a multiple K-1 champion is also from Surinamese descent. MMA and Kickboxing champions Melvin Manhoef, Gilbert Yvel and Alistair Overeem were born in Suriname or from Surinamese descent. Retired female kickboxer Ilonka Elmont was also born in Suriname. Another notable up and comer kickboxer and K-1 fighter, Tyrone Spong, was born in Suriname. Ginty Vrede, a former Muay Thai Heavy Weight Champion who passed away in 2008 aged 22, was born in Suriname.


The net primary enrollment rate was 94 % in 2004.[19] Education is compulsory until the age of 12. [24] Literacy is very common, particularly among males.[19] The university of the country is the Anton de Kom University of Suriname. Boy Waterman


A popular newspaper is De Ware Tijd. Suriname has 24 radio stations from which a couple broadcast through the Internet (Apintie and Radio10). There are also a dozen television networks including STVS, RBN, ABC, ATV, Mustika, and Garuda). Also listened to is mArt, a broadcaster from Amsterdam founded by people from Suriname. Kondreman is one of the popular cartoons in Suriname.


Royal Torarica, was opened in the night district of Paramaribo on the Suriname River. The hotel industry is important to Suriname's economy. The rental of apartments, or the rent-a-house phenomenon, is also popular in Suriname.

Most tourists visit Suriname for the outstanding biodiversity of the pristine Amazonian rain forests in the south of the country, which are noted for their flora and fauna. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is the biggest and one of the most popular reserves, along with the Brownsberg Nature Park which overlooks the Brokopondo Reservoir, the latter being one of the largest man-made lakes in the world. Tonka Island in the reservoir is home to a rustic eco-tourism project run by the Saramaccaner Maroons. There are also many waterfalls throughout the country: Raleighvallen, or Raleigh Falls, is a 56,000 hectare nature reserve on the Coppename River, rich in bird life. Also are the Blanche Marie Falls on the Nickerie River and the Wonotobo Falls. Tafelberg Mountain in the centre of the country is surrounded by its own reserve- the Tafelberg Nature Reserve- around the source of the Saramacca River, as is the Voltzberg Nature Reserve further north on the Coppename River at Raleighvallen. In the interior are many Maroon and Amerindian villages which often have their own reserves and are open to visitors.

Suriname is one of the few countries in the world where at least one of each biome that the state possesses has been declared a wildlife reserve. Around 30% of the total land area of Suriname is protected by law as reserves.

Other attractions include plantations such as Laarwijk, which is situated along the Suriname River. This plantation can only be reached by boat via Domburg, in the north central Wanica District of Suriname.


Airlines from Suriname

Airlines operating to Suriname

See also


  1. ^ a b c Central Intelligence Agency (2009). "Suriname". The World Factbook. Retrieved January 23, 2010. 
  2. ^ Suriname Population UN Stats. Pg. 47, Appendix 1. Retrieved 26 June 2009
  3. ^ a b c d "Suriname". International Monetary Fund. Retrieved 2009-10-01. 
  4. ^ "Human Development Report 2009. Human development index trends: Table G". The United Nations. Retrieved 2009-10-18. 
  5. ^ ISO 3166
  6. ^ a b Encyclopedia Britannica: A Dictionary of Arts, Sciences, and General Literature, Volume XI (Ninth Edition—Popular Reprint ed.).'s+creek+suriname+river&source=web&ots=0K5mXYlN2U&sig=W4HB3ar7m5DBXsjsHlECqvnXQnE&hl=en. Retrieved 2008-05-04. "In 1614 the states of Holland granted to any Dutch citizen a four years' monopoly of any harbour or place of commerce which he might discover in that region (Guiana). The first settlement, however, in Suriname (in 1630) was made by an Englishman, whose name is still preserved by Marshall's Creek." 
  7. ^ (English) UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre World Databbase on Protected Areas
  8. ^ (English) Rigzone Staatsolie Launches Tender for 3 Offshore Blocks
  9. ^ (English) Cambior Development of the Gross Rosebel Mine in Suriname
  10. ^ a b
  11. ^ "Violence erupts in Surinam". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. December 26, 2009.
  12. ^ "Guyana: Caught in Brazil's Net?; Small Nation, New to Free Markets, Fears Loss of Its Identity". The New York Times. March 30, 2000.
  13. ^ Muslim Minorities in the West: Visible and Invisible By Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, Jane I. Smith, pg 271
  14. ^ (Dutch) "Het Nederlandse taalgebied". Nederlandse Taalunie. 2005. Retrieved 2008-11-04. 
  15. ^ (Dutch) Nederlandse Taalunie
  16. ^ Algemeen Bureau voor de Statistiek. "Update Census 7" (PDF). ABS. Retrieved 2008-07-24. 
  17. ^ Prisma Woordenboek Surinaams Nederlands, edited by Renata de Bies, in cooperation with Willy Martin and Willy Smedts, ISBN: 978-90-491-0054-4
  18. ^ a b c d e f Simon Romero (March 23, 2008). "In Babel of Tongues, Suriname Seeks Itself". New York Times. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f g United Nations Development Programme
  20. ^ unreferenced
  21. ^ ["The Rule of the Road: An International Guide to History and Practice", by Peter Kincaid (Greenwood Press, 1986; ISBN 0-313-25249-1]
  22. ^ [1]
  23. ^ [The rule of the road, 1919-1986. A case study of standards change. Ian Watson, 1999, at]
  24. ^ The UN Refugee Agency

External links

General information

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

South America : Suriname
Quick Facts
Capital Paramaribo
Government Constitutional democracy
Currency Surinamese Dollar(SRD)
Area total: 163,270 km2
land: 161,470 km2
water: 1,800 km2
Population 436,494 (July 2002 est.)
Language Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes called Taki-Taki, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population), Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese
Religion Hindu 27.4%, Muslim 19.6%, Roman Catholic 22.8%, Protestant 25.2% (predominantly Moravian), indigenous beliefs 5%
Electricity 110-127V/60HZ (Europe & USA plug)
Calling Code +597
Internet TLD .sr
Time Zone UTC-3

Suriname, formerly the colony of Netherlands Guiana or Dutch Guiana, is a country in Northern South America. It has a North Atlantic Ocean coastline in the north and is surrounded by French Guiana to the east, Brazil to the south and Guyana to the west. It is the smallest independent country on South American continent. The relatively small population lives mostly along the coast.


Administrative divisions Suriname is divided into 10 districts (distrikten, singular - distrikt). They are Brokopondo, Commewijne, Coronie, Marowijne, Nickerie, Para, Paramaribo, Saramacca, Sipaliwini, Wanica

  • Baboen hol
  • Bigi Pan
  • Blaka Watra
  • Brownsberg
  • Carolina kreek
  • Cola kreek
  • Djumu
  • Galibi
  • Matapica
  • Palumeu
  • Republiek
  • Raleigh Vallen
  • Stuwmeer
  • White beach
Map of Suriname
Map of Suriname



Tropical; moderated by trade winds; yearly rain average 2200 mm. There are 2 dry seasons (February to March, August to November) and 2 rainy seasons (December to January, April to August).


Mostly rolling hills, rising towards maximum of around 1000 meters in the south; narrow coastal plain with mangrove swamps. Mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that is in excellent condition, though is increasingly threatened by new development.

Elevation extremes
highest point: Juliana Top 1,230 m


Independence from the Netherlands was granted in 1975. Five years later the civilian government was replaced by a military regime that soon declared a socialist republic. It continued to rule through a succession of nominally civilian administrations until 1987, when international pressure finally forced a democratic election. In 1989, the military overthrew the civilian government, but a democratically-elected government returned to power in 1991.

Get in

If you want to visit Suriname and you are not a citizen of one of the countries of the Caribbean Community or Switzerland, you have to ensure that your visa papers are in order. If you want to apply for a visa please contact one of the Suriname Consulates listed in Contact.

Note that in most cases you will receive a single-entrance visa. So you only will be able to enter Suriname one time with that visa. In most cases this is no issue, but it can become an issue if you want to combine your trip to Suriname with a visit to for instance Guyana or French-Guiana.

When you arrive in Suriname it is important that you inform the authorities where you are staying. Therefore you must go to the foreigners registration office in the 'Nieuwe Haven' within a week after your arrival. The customs-official will remind you of this.

By plane

From Amsterdam you can get the daily KLM flight. Surinam Airways [(] also offers flights from Amsterdam and various caribbean destinations.

From the United States, airline service is available via Surinam Airways and Caribbean Airlines [1], with a stopover in Trinidad.

You will arrive at The Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, which was formerly called Zanderij International Airport. It is located 45 Kilometres south of Paramaribo. From there you can take the taxi or bus into town. A taxi (if private one) will cost around 80SRD. However, prices will vary between drivers. Make sure to arrange and set a price with the driver before going anywhere. There are weekly flights to Trinidad, Belem (Brazil), Cayenne (French Guiana) and Aruba.

By train

There are no trains in Suriname.

By car

Guyana has road access to Suriname. In Guyana, Georgetown inquire in for mini-buses traveling to Suriname. Note that entering Suriname, Nieuw Nickerie by water travel from in Guyana is illegal. Buses leave Georgetown for the Surinamese border daily. Ask for Berbice car park. In the west(Guyana-Suriname border) there's a regular river ferry between Guyana and Suriname.

There's a possibility of traveling from French Guiana by car (there a small car ferry between Suriname and Guyana). In the east there are small boats and small ferry between Albina (Suriname) and St. Laurent (French Guiana) The price is usually around SRD 10,- or €5,- p.p.

By bus

For around SRD 30,- or €10,- you can take the bus from Albina (border French Guyana) to Paramaribo.

By boat

In the east there are small boats and small ferry between Albina (Suriname) and St. Laurent (French Guiana) The price is usually around SRD 10,- or €5,- p.p.

In the west there's a regular river ferry between Guyana and Suriname. The ferry from Guyana is $10 US and runs only once a day at 11 AM. The ferry departs the Suriname side for Guyana also at 11 AM (Suriname is 1 hr ahead of Guyana).

Get around

Since not many tourists visit Suriname yet and the innerland is not within easy reach, the expenses of travel are higher than you might expect. Tourist attractions can be more expensive than in Europe or the United States. It is expected that this will change in the near future since there is an annual increase visible in foreign tourists, creating the necessity of working on better roads as well as other ways of cheaper transportation. The best way to go around in Suriname is by boat or car. There are not that many roads going into the country. At every riverbank you can charter boats at reasonable prices. You can't go alone. It is wise to always travel with a tourguide. The second way of transport is by air. There are mainly two local airlines providing connections with the innerland. Bluewing Airlines and Gumair. It is also an option to rent a car, although some rental companies don't allow you to go into the forrest with their cars. Always rent a four-wheel drive. Suriname traffic drives at the left side of the road.

Central Suriname Nature Reserve

The Central Suriname Nature Reserve (CSNR) protects some of the most remote, ancient, and pristine wilderness on Earth. It comprises more than 1.6 million hectares of primary tropical forest. The Reserve forms a corridor linking the three most important protected areas in central Suriname: the Raleighvallen Nature reserve in the north, and the Tafelberg and Eilerts de Hann Gebergte Nature Reserves in the central and southern portion of the corridor. The area —an area the size of New Jersey— protects the watershed of one of Suriname's most important river systems, the Coppename River, where there are countless varieties of flora and fauna, many of them endemic. The Raleighvallen Nature Reserve is one of the most important protected areas in South America. Vegetation there consists mostly of moist highland forest, the same forest that covers approximately 80 percent of Suriname. The Tafelberg Nature Reserve is in a remote area that includes the geographic center of suriname. This area is made up of primary rainforest and savanna ecosystems. The Eilerts de Hann Gebergte Nature Reserve has no human populations living within or around its boundaries. This reserve includes parts of the Eilerts de Hann Gebergte mountain range and is made up of primary tropical rain forest and savanna ecosystems. Since there has been very little exploration in this Reserve, very little is known about is flora and fauna. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve is an important precendent in protecting large blocks of undisturbed tropical wilderness. But it is only a first step. The challenge for Conservation International and its funding partners is to continue these efforts to protect the ecological viability of the world's last remaining tropical wilderness areas. Conservation International has been active in Suriname since 1991, using an integrated approach that draws on both the knowledge and expertise of highly trained Surinamese conservationists as well as CI's on-the-ground experience in twenty-two other countries of the world.

Rather than sell the country's forests to the highest-bidding timber companies, the Surinamese government made a commitment in 1998 to protect the forests and explore the long-term economic benefits of sustainable development and ecotourism. Conservation International (CI) joined Suriname to help design, fund, and promote this effort to carefully blend biodiversity conservation and economic opportunity.

Seven years later, the uniquely constructed tourist facilities on Foengoe Island—tucked neatly within the CSNR—are poised to become a premier destination for ecotourism in the Guayana Shield, the massive, two billion-year-old geological formation that underlies five countries in northeastern South America.

Raleighvallen Nature Reserve

This nature reserve has an area of 78,170 ha and is situated along the Coppename River. It can be reached by airplane (less than an hour) or by car (120 mi) to be followed by a 3-4 hour boat ride. The reserve headquarters and the tourist lodges are located on Fungo Island in the middle of the Coppename River.

Raleighvallen (Raleigh Falls) is the name for the extensive set of rapids near Fungo Island in the upper Coppename River.

The reserve is internationally known as a bird and monkey paradise. You'll see toucans, macaws and parrots and 400 other species. Hanging from the tree branches on and around Fungo Island you'll notice the pendulum-shaped nests of the weaver birds (oropendulas) which are large, colonial nesting birds with yellow outer feathers. These nests can be close to a meter long.

Another interesting feature is the Voltzberg. This granite sugarloaf mountain can be reached on foot in about three hours by jungle trail from Foengoe Island. The Voltzberg rises about 150 m (375 ft) above the forest canopy. The night can be spent in a hammock in a sinple jungle camp at the base of the mountain. During the night you will be surrounded by the sounds of monkeys, tree frogs, and other creatures from the tropical rainforest.

The reserve is also the home of the spectacular and rare cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola).

There is the possibility, as well, of encountering deer, tortoises, tinamous, and several species of monkey on the 7 km (one-way) hike to the mountain. The trail is good but the damp climate of the rainforest, and the steep climb up the Volzberg, make it a heavy trip, especially for the out-of-shape hiker.


This park is situated 130 km (90 mi) south of Paramaribo, and can easily be reached by car. The park headquarters and tourist bungalow/lodges are situated on the cool, 500 m (1500 ft) high Mazaroni Plateau. At several places on the plateau there is a beautiful view over the Brokopondo Reservoir. And trails lead to creeks, waterfalls and lookouts, giving spectacular panoramic views of the interior. Except for the park staff, there is no permanent habitation in the park itself. The Brownsberg is known for its rich flora and fauna. The Brownsberg is also a paradise for birdwatchers. Of the 650 birds known for Suriname, more than 200 can be found here. Some of the birds are rarely seen because they live in the forest canopy, although their songs and whistling are heard regularly. Irenevallen is a waterfall of about 10 m high in the Brownskreek. It is about an hour's walk from park headquarters. After a heavy rain it is wonderful to stand under this natural shower. Witikreek is a secluded rushing stream at the foot of the Brownsberg. You can walk to it in about a two-hour downhill hike. Once there you can swim, nap in a hammock, and have a picnic.

Galibi Nature Reserve

Galibi Nature Reserve is world famous as a nesting site for endangered sea turtles. Four species come ashore to lay their eggs between February and August. The nearby Amerindian villages of Christiannkondre and Langemankondre can also be visited, giving you an opportunity to purchase Carib indian artwork. This is a wonderful place to relax for a few days. Here are undisturbed sea turtle nesting beaches, where you have the best chance to observe different species of turtles: the green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas), the leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea), and the olive ridley (Lepidochelys olivacea). Eilanti Beach is the only beach where mass nesting aggregations (arribadas) of the olive ridley are known to have occurred in the Atlantic region. The hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata) nests only sporadically in Suriname with rarely more than twenty-five nests per year for all of Suriname.

The Galibi Nature Reserve is situated in the Northeast corner of Suriname, at the mouth of the Marowijne River, bordering French Guiana. Because the saline oceanic Guiana Current and the freshwater flow of the Marowijne River collide along the east and north borders of the reserve, it is exposed to many different environmental factors. This results in a great biological diversity characterized by the Suriname coast.

The Galibi reserve and the nearby Amerinidan villages are accessible only by boat, about 1 1/2 hours downstream from the drop in point, Albina. The villagers are allowed to use the reserve for fishing, hunting, plant collecting and small-scale agricultural activities.


Languages Dutch (official), English (widely spoken), Sranang Tongo (Surinamese, sometimes referred to as Taki-Taki in the French Guiana, is native language of Creoles and much of the younger population and is lingua franca among others), Sarnami (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese, Chinese(Mandarin, Hakka and Cantonese) and Portuguese

Sranang Tongo is the mostly used language here and it was previously called nengre or negerengels (Dutch, "negroenglish"). For many years the Dutch suppressed Sranantongo, but now it has risen to become the most spoken language in Suriname. With such an extreme population of immigrants, many do not speak Dutch or English here, everyone is expected to know Sranantongo. There is very little written online, but if you know English, it will not be hard to learn.


The Saint Petrus and the Paulus Cathedral, the largest wooden structures build in Latin America, within the grave of Peerke Donders, a Dutch declare saint.


You will much enjoy the entertainment there like music and watching soccer


Suriname uses the Suriname dollar (SRD) as currency, which is roughly a third of a US dollar. One can exchange currency at all banks as well as most cambio's. Automatic teller machines (ATM) are also available in Suriname. The atm's of the RBTT bank accept most international bank cards. Accommodation and food is relatively on the cheap side. Retail prices for clothing, gifts, etc. are similar to most of United States of America.

Things which are well worth buying are:

  • Handcrafted jewelery
  • Tropical flowers
  • Perfumes


Because of the ethnic diversity there is a variety of exotic food available. Indian (specially roti with chicken), Chinese, Javanese (Indonesian), Creole.


Although Indonesian food might be appropriate, the Indonesian people we have in Suriname are mostly if not all from the island Java. And Java has its own cuisine which is different from Indonesian food. Furthermore as you might have guessed the food has evolved to a more Surinamese culture and is thus (very) different from food you'd find in Java. Nevertheless it tastes great and you should try it. The most popular places where you would find such food is in 'warung's' Lelydorp on your way from the airport to Paramaribo, or Blauwgrond in Paramaribo, and since recently near the bridge in Commewijne.


Chinese food tastes great everywhere in the world. Suriname is no exception. Good restaurants can be found in Paramaribo Also try visiting the Chinese market on Sunday and many of their Dim Sum restaurants


East Indian food is less spicy compared to original Indian food, but still a well appreciated meal.


International menu are available in the more expensive downtown restaurant and hotels in Paramaribo.


Suriname wouldn't be the tropical paradise it is without its a wide variety of great fruit juices. Even the well known orange juice is a sensational taste, but do not hesitate to try great tropical fruits like passion fruit (known locally as 'markoesa') or soursap, better known as Guanábana (locally known as 'zuurzak'). Since locals have an appetite for sweet, sugar is added to most juices you buy in bottles. For pure juice it is best to ask for fresh made juice.

The Javanese have a pink (and occasionally green) colored drink called dawet, which consists of coconut milk.

Try to get a local 'east-indian' to make you a glass of lassi if you have the chance.


Beer: Try the local 'Parbo-beer', which when comes in 1 liter bottles is called a 'djogo'. In 2008 Suriname finally got Parbo beer in a can, which was somewhat of a major event in the country. Guinness is a popular import beer, and for that reason Parbo also brews a very decent own stout variant: Parbo Stout. Of course imported beer is also available. Rum: Borgoe and Black Cat.


There are several good hostels and guest-houses available in Paramaribo and Nickerie. See the appropriate page for more information. When going into the rainforrest it is best to buy a hammock in Paramaribo. Some guest houses in the forrest provide hammocks, but these tend to be less hygenic, since washing machines are not that available in the forrest.


The University of Suriname Universiteit van Suriname [2]

However, it should be noted that students wishes to pursue education here must have a working knowledge of Dutch as classes are only instructed in Dutch.


Working as a foreigner in Suriname without a work permit is illegal, though granted, there is not much of a force to stop you. However, relations do exist between the Netherlands and Suriname for work exchange programs and extra labour, especially those of skilled classes.

Stay safe

If you are concerned about safety try to avoid venturing at night alone. Try using a bike when possible. When in Paramaribo at night, avoid the Palm Garden as this is a well known crime site where much drug trade is done. The police force is only so large and can only protect you to a certain extent. Therefore, stay where you know police protection is offered. So please, use common sense when venturing outside downtown, which in itself can have problems. Do NOT venture to the bush (binnenland) alone.

Stay healthy

To enter Suriname there’s no need for any special kind of vaccination, though some are recommended (see below). If you plan a jungle-trip, which is highly recommended, it is possible that you may want to take precautions against malaria, depending on the area you are planning to visit (altough since 2005 there have not been any cases of malaria reported in Suriname). Be sure to check with BOG, or your local pharmacist or health clinic what prophylaxe you should take. The bigger threat nowadays comes from dengue, also spread by mosquitos, for which there is no prophylaxe, nor any cure. Travelers diarrhea can also potentially be a problem.

Yellow fever vaccination is recommended. (Required to get into Brazil afterwards!) Tetanus-diphtheria vaccination is recommended. Hepatitis A vaccination is recommended.

The Adult HIV/AIDS prevalence is reaching 2% or 1 in 50 adults, which is 3 times higher than the US and 9 times higher than the Netherlands. Be sure to practice safe sex.


Be respectful when taking photographs. Like everywhere else, one should respect the environment and the culture. For example the inland-people consider certain trees and spots holy and it is likely you need consent before taking a photograph. Your local guide will usually also indicate so. Ask for consent when you think it is appropriate as you would anywhere else.

  • Alarmnumber, 115.  edit


  • Consulate of Belgium, Domineestraat 32, bov, Paramaribo Suriname P.O.B.. 1841, (597)472.545, (597)474690 (fax: (597)410563).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, Avenue Louise 379 1050 Brussel, Belgium, (32)26401172 (fax: (32)26463962).  edit
  • Consulate of Brazil, Maratakkastraat 2, Paramaribo Suriname, (597)400200 (fax: (597)400205).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, SHIS-Q1 Conjunto 1 Casa 6, 71600, Brasilia, (55)612483995 (fax: (55)612483791).  edit
  • Consulate of Canada, Wagenwagstraat 50bov, Paramaribo, Suriname P. O.B. 1449, (597)424527.  edit
  • Consulate of China, Anton Dragtenweg 154, Paramaribo Suriname, (597)451570 (fax: (597) 452560).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, 3-7-1- Kinguomanwai, Beijing 100020, China, (86)1065322939 (fax: (86) 1065002022).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, ITC Building IM 124, Willemstad, Curaçao, (599) 94636650 (fax: (599) 94636450).  edit
  • Consulate of France, Gravenstraat 5-7, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 475222 (fax: (597) 471208).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, 38 ter RUW Christoph Colomb, 97300, Cayenne, French Guiana, (594)300461 (fax: (594)317645).  edit
  • Consulate of Guyana, Gravenstraat 82, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 477895 (fax: (597) 472679).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, 304 Church St. P.O.B. 334, Georgetown, Guyana, (592) 267844 (fax: (592) 253476).  edit
  • Consulate of India, Rode Kruislaan 10, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 498344 (fax: (597) 499538).  edit
  • Consulate of Indonesia, Van Brussellaan 3, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 431230 (fax: (597) 498234).  edit
  • Consulate of Japan, Gravenstraat 23 - 25, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 474860 (fax: (597) 412208).  edit
  • Consulate of Korea, Heerenstraat 8, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 484747.  edit
  • Consulaat of Netherlands, the, Van Roseveltkade 5 , Paramaribo, Suriname, (597)477211 (, fax: (597)477792).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, Alexander Gogelweg 2, 2517JH, The Hague, Netherlands, (31) 703650844 (fax: (31) 703617445).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, De Cuserstraat 11, 1081CK, Amsterdam,, (31) 206426137 (fax: (31) 206465311).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, 11 Maraval Road 5th Floor Tatil Building, Port of Spain, Trinidad, (1) 8686260704 (fax: (1) 8686280086).  edit
  • United States Embassy, Dr. Sophie Redmondstraat 129, Paramaribo, Suriname, (597) 472900 (fax: (597) 425690). Monday – Friday, 7:30 – 16:00.  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, 7235 NW 19th St Suite A, FL 33126, Miami, USA, (1) 3055932163 (fax: (1) 3055991034).  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, Van Ness Centre Eve Suite 108 4301, Connecticut Washington DC 20008, USA, (1) 2022447590 (fax: (1) 2022445878).  edit
  • Consulate of Venezuela, Gravenstraat 23 - 25, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 475401.  edit
  • Consulate of Suriname, Entre 7a y 8a Transversal 41 Qta Los Milagros Altamira Caracas 1060 A, Venuzuela, (58) 22631554 (fax: (58)2612724).  edit
  • First Aid - Academisch ziekenhuis, Flustraat 1, Paramaribo Suriname, (597) 442222 (fax: (597) 440022).  edit
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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary



Wikipedia has an article on:


Proper noun




  1. A country in South America. Official name: Republic of Suriname.


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Dutch Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia nl

Proper noun

Suriname n.

  1. Suriname.


Finnish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia fi

Proper noun


  1. Suriname



German Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia de

Proper noun

Suriname n.

  1. Suriname

Derived terms


Italian Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia it

Proper noun

Suriname m.

  1. Suriname

Derived terms

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