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Suriname | Wikipedia audio article

Suriname | Wikipedia audio article

Suriname (, US also , also spelled Surinam),
officially known as the Republic of Suriname (Dutch: Republiek Suriname [reːpyˌblik syːriˈnaːmə]),
is a country on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the
north, French Guiana to the east, Guyana to the west and Brazil to the south. At just under 165,000 square kilometers (64,000
square miles), it is the smallest sovereign state in South America. Suriname has a population of approximately
558,368, most of whom live on the country’s north coast, in and around the capital and
largest city, Paramaribo. Suriname was long inhabited by various indigenous
people before being invaded and contested by European powers from the 16th century,
eventually coming under Dutch rule in the late 17th century. During the Dutch colonial period, it was primarily
a plantation economy dependent on African slaves and, following the abolition of slavery,
indentured servants from Asia. In 1954, Suriname became one of the constituent
countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 25 November 1975, the country of Suriname
left the Kingdom of the Netherlands to become an independent state, nonetheless maintaining
close economic, diplomatic, and cultural ties to its former colonizer. Suriname is considered to be a culturally
Caribbean country, and is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). While Dutch is the official language of government,
business, media, and education, Sranan, an English-based creole language, is a widely
used lingua franca. Suriname is the only sovereign nation outside
Europe where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population. As a legacy of colonization, the people of
Suriname are among the most diverse in the world, spanning a multitude of ethnic, religious,
and linguistic groups.==Etymology==
The name Suriname may derive from an indigenous people called Surinen, who inhabited the area
at the time of European contact.British settlers, who founded the first European colony at Marshall’s
Creek along the Suriname River, spelled the name as “Surinam”. When the territory was taken over by the Dutch,
it became part of a group of colonies known as Dutch Guiana. The official spelling of the country’s English
name was changed from “Surinam” to “Suriname” in January 1978, but “Surinam” can still be
found in English. A notable example is Suriname’s national airline,
Surinam Airways. The older English name is reflected in the
English pronunciation, . In Dutch, the official language of Suriname, the pronunciation is
[ˌsyriˈnaːmə], with the main stress on the third syllable and a schwa terminal vowel.==History==Indigenous settlement of Suriname dates back
to 3,000 BC. The largest tribes were the Arawak, a nomadic
coastal tribe that lived from hunting and fishing. They were the first inhabitants in the area. The Carib also settled in the area and conquered
the Arawak by using their superior sailing ships. They settled in Galibi (Kupali Yumï, meaning
“tree of the forefathers”) at the mouth of the Marowijne River. While the larger Arawak and Carib tribes lived
along the coast and savanna, smaller groups of indigenous people lived in the inland rainforest,
such as the Akurio, Trió, Warrau, and Wayana.===Colonial period===Beginning in the 16th century, French, Spanish
and English explorers visited the area. A century later, Dutch and English settlers
established plantation colonies along the many rivers in the fertile Guiana plains. The earliest documented colony in Guiana was
an English settlement named Marshall’s Creek along the Suriname River.Disputes arose between
the Dutch and the English for control of this territory. In 1667, during negotiations leading to the
Treaty of Breda, the Dutch decided to keep the nascent plantation colony of Suriname
they had gained from the English. The English were able to keep New Amsterdam,
the main city of the former colony of New Netherland in North America on the mid-Atlantic
coast. Already a cultural and economic hub in those
days, they renamed it after the Duke of York: New York City. In 1683, the Society of Suriname was founded
by the city of Amsterdam, the Van Aerssen van Sommelsdijck family, and the Dutch West
India Company. The society was chartered to manage and defend
the colony. The planters of the colony relied heavily
on African slaves to cultivate, harvest and process the commodity crops of coffee, cocoa,
sugar cane and cotton plantations along the rivers. Planters’ treatment of the slaves was notoriously
bad—historian C.R. Boxer wrote that “man’s inhumanity to man just about reached its limits
in Surinam”—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 in the interior that was highly successful in its own right. They were known collectively in English as
Maroons, in French as Nèg’Marrons (literally meaning “brown negroes”, that is “pale-skinned
negroes”), and in Dutch as Marrons. The Maroons gradually developed several independent
tribes through a process of ethnogenesis, as they were made up of slaves from different
African ethnicities. These tribes include the Saramaka, Paramaka,
Ndyuka or Aukan, Kwinti, Aluku or Boni, and Matawai. The Maroons often raided plantations to recruit
new members from the slaves and capture women, as well as to acquire weapons, food and supplies. They sometimes killed planters and their families
in the raids; colonists built defenses, which were so important they were shown on 18th-century
maps, but these were not sufficient.The colonists also mounted armed campaigns against the Maroons,
who generally escaped through the rain forest, which they knew much better than did the colonists. To end hostilities, in the 18th century the
European colonial authorities signed several peace treaties with different tribes. They granted the Maroons sovereign status
and trade rights in their inland territories, giving them autonomy.===Abolition of slavery===
From 1861 to 1863, with the American Civil War underway and enslaved people escaping
to Southern territory controlled by the Union, United States President Abraham Lincoln and
his administration looked abroad for places to relocate people who were freed from enslavement
and who wanted to leave the United States. It opened negotiations with the Dutch government
regarding African-American emigration to and colonization of the Dutch colony of Suriname. Nothing came of the idea, and the idea was
dropped after 1864.The Netherlands abolished slavery in Suriname in 1863, under a gradual
process that required slaves to work on plantations for 10 transition years for minimal pay, which
was considered as partial compensation for their masters. After 1873, most freedmen largely abandoned
the plantations where they had worked for several generations in favor of the capital
city, Paramaribo. As a plantation colony, Suriname had an economy
dependent on labor-intensive commodity crops. To make up for a shortage of labor, the Dutch
recruited and transported contract or indentured laborers from the Dutch East Indies (modern
Indonesia) and India (the latter through an arrangement with the British, who then ruled
the area). In addition, during the late 19th and early
20th centuries, small numbers of laborers, mostly men, were recruited from China and
the Middle East. Although Suriname’s population remains relatively
small, because of this complex colonization and exploitation, it is one of the most ethnically
and culturally diverse countries in the world.===Decolonization===During World War II, on 23 November 1941,
under an agreement with the Netherlands government-in-exile, the United States occupied Suriname to protect
the bauxite mines to support the Allies’ war effort. In 1942, the Dutch government-in-exile began
to review the relations between the Netherlands and its colonies in terms of the post-war
period. In 1954, Suriname became one of the constituent
countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands Antilles and the
Netherlands. In this construction, the Netherlands retained
control of its defense and foreign affairs. In 1974, the local government, led by the
National Party of Suriname (NPS) (whose membership was largely Creole, meaning ethnically African
or mixed African-European) started negotiations with the Dutch government leading towards
full independence, which was granted on 25 November 1975. A large part of Suriname’s economy for the
first decade following independence was fueled by foreign aid provided by the Dutch government.===Independence===The first President of the country was Johan
Ferrier, the former governor, with Henck Arron (the then leader of the NPS) as Prime Minister. In the years leading up to independence, nearly
one-third of the population of Suriname emigrated to the Netherlands, amidst concern that the
new country would fare worse under independence than it had as a constituent country of the
Kingdom of the Netherlands. Indeed, Surinamese politics soon degenerated
into ethnic polarization and corruption, with the NPS using Dutch aid money for partisan
purposes. Its leaders were accused of fraud in the 1977
elections, in which Arron won a further term, and the discontent was such that a large chunk
of the population fled to the Netherlands, joining the already significant Surinamese
community there.===1980 military coup===On 25 February 1980, a military coup overthrew
Arron’s government. It was initiated by a group of sixteen sergeants,
led by Dési Bouterse. Opponents of the military regime attempted
counter-coups in April 1980, August 1980, 15 March 1981, and again on 12 March 1982. The first counter attempt was led by Fred
Ormskerk, the second by Marxist-Leninists, the third by Wilfred Hawker, and the fourth
by Surendre Rambocus. Hawker escaped from prison during the fourth
counter-coup attempt, but he was captured and summarily executed. Between 2 am and 5 am on 7 December 1982,
the military, under the leadership of Dési Bouterse, rounded up 13 prominent citizens
who had criticized the military dictatorship and held them at Fort Zeelandia in Paramaribo. The dictatorship had all these men executed
over the next three days, along with Rambocus and Jiwansingh Sheombar (who was also involved
in the fourth counter-coup attempt).===1987 elections and constitution===
National elections were held in 1987. The National Assembly adopted a new constitution
that allowed Bouterse to remain in charge of the army. Dissatisfied with the government, Bouterse
summarily dismissed the ministers in 1990, by telephone. This event became popularly known as the “Telephone
Coup”. His power began to wane after the 1991 elections. The brutal civil war between the Suriname
army and Maroons loyal to rebel leader Ronnie Brunswijk, begun in 1986, continued and its
effects further weakened Bouterse’s position during the 1990s. In 1999, the Netherlands tried Bouterse in
absentia on drug smuggling charges. He was convicted and sentenced to prison but
remained in Suriname.===21st century===
On 19 July 2010, the former dictator Dési Bouterse returned to power when he was elected
as the new President of Suriname. Before his election in 2010, he, along with
24 others, had been charged with the murders of 15 prominent dissidents in the December
murders. However, in 2012, two months before the verdict
in the trial, the National Assembly extended its amnesty law and provided Bouterse and
the others with amnesty of these charges. He was reelected on 14 July 2015.==Politics==The Republic of Suriname is a parliamentary
representative democratic republic, based on the Constitution of 1987. The legislative branch of government consists
of a 51-member unicameral National Assembly, simultaneously and popularly elected for a
five-year term. In the elections held on Tuesday, 25 May 2010,
the Megacombinatie won 23 of the National Assembly seats followed by Nationale Front
with 20 seats. A much smaller number, important for coalition-building,
went to the “A‑combinatie” and to the Volksalliantie. The parties held negotiations to form coalitions. Elections were held on 25 May 2015, and the
National Assembly again elected Desire Bouterse as President.The President of Suriname is
elected for a five-year term by a two-thirds majority of the National Assembly. 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. The president may be elected by a majority
of the People’s Assembly called for the special election. As head of government, the president appoints
a sixteen-minister cabinet. A vice president, is normally elected for
a five-year term at the same time as the president, by a simple majority in the National Assembly
or People’s Assembly. There is no constitutional provision for removal
or replacement of the president, except in the case of resignation. The judiciary is headed by the High Court
of Justice of Suriname (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.===Foreign relations===President Dési Bouterse was convicted and
sentenced in the Netherlands to 11 years of imprisonment for drug trafficking. He is the main suspect in the court case concerning
the ‘December murders,’ the 1982 assassination of opponents of military rule in Fort Zeelandia,
Paramaribo. These two cases still strain relations between
the Netherlands and Suriname.Due to Suriname’s Dutch colonial history, Suriname had a long-standing
special relationship with the Netherlands. The Dutch government has stated that it will
only maintain limited contact with the president.Bouterse was elected as president of Suriname in 2010. The Netherlands in July 2014 dropped Suriname
as a member of its development program.Since 1991, the United States has maintained positive
relations with Suriname. The two countries work together through the
Caribbean Basin Security Initiative (CBSI) and the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for
AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Suriname also receives military funding from
the U.S. Department of Defense.European Union relations and cooperation with Suriname are
carried out both on a bilateral and a regional basis. There are ongoing EU-Community of Latin American
and Caribbean States (CELAC) and EU-CARIFORUM dialogues. Suriname is party to the Cotonou Agreement,
the partnership agreement among the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group
of States and the European Union.On 17 February 2005, the leaders of Barbados and Suriname
signed the “Agreement for the deepening of bilateral cooperation between the Government
of Barbados and the Government of the Republic of Suriname.” On 23–24 April 2009, both nations formed
a Joint Commission in Paramaribo, Suriname, to improve relations and to expand into various
areas of cooperation. They held a second meeting toward this goal
on 3–4 March 2011, in Dover, Barbados. Their representatives reviewed issues of agriculture,
trade, investment, as well as international transport.In the late 2000s, Suriname intensified
development cooperation with other developing countries. China’s South-South cooperation with Suriname
has included a number of large-scale infrastructure projects, including port rehabilitation and
road construction. Brazil signed agreements to cooperate with
Suriname in education, health, agriculture, and energy production.==Military==The Armed Forces of Suriname have three branches:
the Army, the Air Force, and the Navy. The President of the Republic, Dési Bouterse,
is the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces (Opperbevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten). The President is assisted by the Minister
of Defence. Beneath the President and Minister of Defence
is the Commander of the Armed Forces (Bevelhebber van de Strijdkrachten). The Military Branches and regional Military
Commands report to the Commander. After the creation of the Statute of the Kingdom
of the Netherlands, the Royal Netherlands Army was entrusted with the defence of Suriname,
while the defence of the Netherlands Antilles was the responsibility of the Royal Netherlands
Navy. The army set up a separate Troepenmacht in
Suriname (Forces in Suriname, TRIS). Upon independence in 1975, this force was
turned into the Surinaamse Krijgsmacht (SKM):, Surinamese Armed Forces. On 25 February 1980, a group of 15 non-commissioned
officers and one junior SKM officer, under the leadership of sergeant major Dési Bouterse,
overthrew the Government. Subsequently, the SKM was rebranded as Nationaal
Leger (NL), National Army.==Administrative divisions==The country is divided into ten administrative
districts, each headed by a district commissioner appointed by the president, who also has the
power of dismissal. Suriname is further subdivided into 62 resorts
(ressorten).==Geography==Suriname is the smallest independent country
in South America. Situated on the Guiana Shield, it lies mostly
between latitudes 1° and 6°N, and longitudes 54° and 58°W. 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. The two main mountain ranges are 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).===Borders===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 by these countries along the Marowijne and Corantijn rivers,
respectively, while a part of the disputed maritime boundary with Guyana was arbitrated
by a tribunal convened under the rules set out in Annex VII of the United Nations Convention
on the Law of the Sea on 20 September 2007.===Climate===
Lying 2 to 5 degrees north of the equator, Suriname has a very hot and wet tropical climate,
and temperatures do not vary much throughout the year. Average relative humidity is between 80% and
90%. Its average temperature ranges from 29 to
34 degrees Celsius (84 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit). Due to the high humidity, actual temperatures
are distorted and may therefore feel up to 6 degrees Celsius (11 degrees Fahrenheit)
hotter than the recorded temperature. 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===
Located in the upper Coppename River watershed, the Central Suriname Nature Reserve has been
designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its unspoiled forests and biodiversity. There are many national parks in the country
including Galibi National Reserve along the coast; Brownsberg Nature Park and Eilerts
de Haan Nature Park in central Suriname; and the Sipaliwani Nature Reserve on the Brazilian
border. In all, 16% of the country’s land area is
national parks and lakes, according to the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.==Economy==Suriname’s democracy gained some strength
after the turbulent 1990s, and its economy became more diversified and less dependent
on Dutch financial assistance. Bauxite (aluminium ore) mining continues to
be a strong revenue source, and the discovery and exploitation of oil and gold has added
substantially to Suriname’s economic independence. Agriculture, especially 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; with the establishment of the Central Suriname Nature Reserve in
1998, Suriname signalled its commitment to conservation of this precious resource. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve became
a World Heritage Site in 2000. The economy of Suriname was dominated by the
bauxite industry, which accounts for more than 15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings
up to 2016. Other main export products include rice, bananas
and shrimp. Suriname has recently started exploiting some
of its sizeable oil and gold 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, mainly Trinidad and Tobago and the islands of the former Netherlands
Antilles.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. It takes longer on average to register a new
business in Suriname than virtually any other country in the world (694 days or about 99
weeks). GDP (2010 est.): U.S. $4.794 billion. Annual growth rate real GDP (2010 est.): 3.5%. Per capita GDP (2010 est.): U.S. $9,900. Inflation (2007): 6.4%. Natural resources: Bauxite, gold, oil, iron
ore, other minerals; forests; hydroelectric potential; fish and shrimp. Agriculture: Products—rice, bananas, timber,
palm kernels, coconuts, peanuts, citrus fruits, and forest products. Industry: Types—alumina, oil, gold, fish,
shrimp, lumber. Trade:
Exports (2012): $2.563 billion: alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice,
bananas. Major consumers: US 26.1%, Belgium 17.6%,
UAE 12.1%, Canada 10.4%, Guyana 6.5%, France 5.6%, Barbados 4.7%. Imports (2012): $1.782 billion: capital equipment,
petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods. Major suppliers: US 25.8%, Netherlands 15.8%,
China 9.8%, UAE 7.9%, Antigua and Barbuda 7.3%, Netherlands Antilles 5.4%, Japan 4.2%.==Demographics==According to the 2012 census, Suriname had
a population of 541,638 inhabitants. The Surinamese populace is characterized by
its high level of diversity, wherein no particular demographic group constitutes a majority. This is a legacy of centuries of Dutch rule,
which entailed successive periods of forced, contracted, or voluntary migration by various
nationalities and ethnic groups from around the world. The largest ethnic group are the Afro-Surinamese
which form about 37% of the population, and are usually divided into two groups: the Creoles
and the Maroons. Surinamese Maroons, whose ancestors are mostly
runaway slaves that fled to the interior, comprise 21.7% of the population; they are
divided into five main groups: Ndyuka (Aucans), Kwinti, Matawai, Saramaccans and Paramaccans. Surinamese Creoles, mixed people descending
from African slaves and mostly Dutch Europeans, form 15.7% of the population. East Indians, who form 27% of the population
are the second largest group. They are descendants of 19th-century contract
workers from India, hailing mostly from the modern Indian states of Bihar, Jharkhand,
and Eastern Uttar Pradesh along the Nepali border. Javanese make up 14% of the population, and
like the East Indians, descend largely from workers contracted from the island of Java
in the former Dutch East Indies (modern Indonesia). 13.4% of the population identifies as being
of mixed ethnic heritage. Other sizeable groups include the Chinese,
originating from 19th-century contract workers and some recent migration, who number over
40,000 as of 2011; Lebanese, primarily Maronites; Jews of Sephardic and Ashkenazi origin, whose
center of population was the community of Jodensavanne; and Brazilians, many of them
laborers mining for gold.A small but influential number of Europeans remain in the country,
comprising about 1 percent of the population. They are descended mostly from Dutch 19th-century
immigrant farmers, known as “Boeroes” (derived from boer, the Dutch word for “farmer”), and
to a lesser degree other European groups, such as Portuguese from Madeira. Many Boeroes left after independence in 1975. Various indigenous peoples make up 3.7% of
the population, with the main groups being the Akurio, Arawak, Kalina (Caribs), Tiriyó
and Wayana. They live mainly in the districts of Paramaribo,
Wanica, Para, Marowijne and Sipaliwini.The vast majority of Suriname’s inhabitants (about
90%) live in Paramaribo or on the coast. The choice of becoming Surinamese or Dutch
citizens in the years leading up to Suriname’s independence in 1975 led to a mass migration
to the Netherlands. This migration continued in the period immediately
after independence and during military rule in the 1980s and for largely economic reasons
extended throughout the 1990s. The Surinamese community in the Netherlands
numbered 350,300 as of 2013; this is compared to approximately 566,000 Surinamese in Suriname
itself.===Religion===Suriname’s religious makeup is heterogeneous
and reflective of the country’s multicultural character. According to the 2012 census, 48.4% were Christians,
among whom 26.7% were Protestants (including 11.18% Pentecostal, 11.16% Moravian, and 4.4%
of various other Protestant denominations) and 21.6% were Roman Catholics. Hindus formed the second-largest religious
group in Suriname, comprising 22.3% of the population, the third largest proportion of
any country in the Western Hemisphere after Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago, both of which
also have large proportions of Indians. Almost all practitioners of Hinduism are found
among the Indo-Surinamese population. Muslims constitute 13.9% of the population,
which is proportionally the largest in the Americas, and are found mostly among those
of Javanese and to a lesser degree those of Indian descent. Other religious groups include Winti (1.8%),
an Afro-American religion practiced mostly by those of Maroon ancestry; Javanism (0.8%),
a syncretic faith found among some Javanese Surinamese; and various indigenous folk traditions
that are often incorporated into one of the larger religions (usually Christianity). In the 2012 census, 7.5% of the population
declared they had “no religion”, while a further 3.2% left the question unanswered.===Languages===Dutch is the sole official language, and is
the language of education, government, business, and the media. Over 60% of the population speaks Dutch as
a mother tongue, and most of the rest of the population speaks it as a second language. In 2004 Suriname became an associate member
of the Dutch Language Union. It is the only Dutch-speaking country in South
America as well as the only independent nation in the Americas where Dutch is spoken by a
majority of the population, and one of the two non-Romance-speaking countries in South
America, the other being English-speaking Guyana. In Paramaribo, Dutch is the main home language
in two-thirds of households. The recognition of “Surinaams-Nederlands”
(“Surinamese Dutch”) as a national dialect 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). Only in the interior of Suriname is Dutch
seldom spoken. Sranan, a local creole language originally
spoken by the creole population group, is the most widely used language in the streets
and is often used interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality of the setting.Surinamese
Hindi or Sarnami, a dialect of Bhojpuri, is the third-most used language, spoken by the
descendants of South Asian contract workers from then British India. Javanese is used by the descendants of Javanese
contract workers. The Maroon languages, somewhat intelligible
with Sranan, include Saramaka, Paramakan, Ndyuka (also called 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 workers. Mandarin is spoken by some few recent Chinese
immigrants. English and Portuguese are also used.===Largest cities===
The national capital, Paramaribo, is by far the dominant urban area, accounting for nearly
half of Suriname’s population and most of its urban residents; indeed, its population
is greater than the next nine largest cities combined. Most municipalities are located within the
capital’s metropolitan area, or along the densely populated coastline.==Culture==Owing to the country’s multicultural heritage,
Suriname celebrates a variety of distinct ethnic and religious festivals.===National holidays===
1 January – New Year’s Day 6 January – Three Kings Day
January – World Religion Day January/February – Chinese New Year
25 February – Day of the Revolution March (varies) – Holi
March/April – Good Friday March/April – Easter
1 May – Labour Day May/June – Ascension day
5 June – Indian Arrival Day 1 July – Keti Koti (Emancipation Day – end
of slavery) 8 August – Javanese Arrival Day
9 August – Indigenous People’s Day 10 October – Day of the Maroons
20 October – Chinese Arrival day October/November – Diwali
25 November – Independence Day 25 December – Christmas
26 December – Boxing DayThere are several Hindu and Islamic national holidays like Diwali
(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====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 given for the company that has imported 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 people go home to light their pagaras (red-firecracker-ribbons) at
midnight. After 12, the parties continue and the streets
fill again until daybreak.===Sports===
The Suriname Olympic Committee is the national governing body for sports in Suriname. The SOC was established in 1959 and now has
17 members: Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Chess, Cycling, Football, Judo, Karate,
Shooting, Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, and Wrestling. One of the major sports in Suriname is football. Many Suriname-born players and Dutch-born
players of Surinamese descent, like Gerald Vanenburg, Ruud Gullit, Frank Rijkaard, Edgar
Davids, Clarence Seedorf, Patrick Kluivert, Ryan Babel, Aron Winter, Georginio Wijnaldum,
Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink and Jeremain Lens have turned out to play for Oranje. In 1999, Humphrey Mijnals, who played for
both Suriname and the Netherlands, was elected Surinamese footballer of the century. Another famous player is André Kamperveen,
who captained Suriname in the 1940s and was the first Surinamese to play professionally
in the Netherlands. The most famous international track & field
athlete from Suriname is Letitia Vriesde, who won a silver medal at the 1995 World Championships
behind Ana Quirot in the 800 metres, the first medal won by a South American female athlete
in World Championship competition. In addition, she also won a bronze medal at
the 2001 World Championships and won several medals in the 800 and 1500 metres at the Pan-American
Games and Central American and Caribbean Games. Tommy Asinga also received acclaim for winning
a bronze medal in the 800 metres at the 1991 Pan American Games. Swimmer Anthony Nesty is the only Olympic
medalist for Suriname. He won gold in the 100-meter butterfly at
the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul and he won bronze in the same discipline at the 1992
Summer Olympics in Barcelona. Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, he now
lives in Gainesville, Florida, and is the coach of the University of Florida, mainly
coaching distance swimmers. Cricket is popular in Suriname to some extent,
influenced by its popularity in the Netherlands and in neighbouring Guyana. The Surinaamse Cricket Bond is an associate
member of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Suriname and Argentina are the only ICC associates
in South America, although Guyana is represented on the West Indies Cricket Board, a full member. The national cricket team was ranked 47th
in the world and sixth in the ICC Americas region as of June 2014, and competes in the
World Cricket League (WCL) and ICC Americas Championship. Iris Jharap, born in Paramaribo, played women’s
One Day International matches for the Dutch national side, the only Surinamer to do so.In
the sport of badminton the local heroes are Virgil Soeroredjo & Mitchel Wongsodikromo
and also Crystal Leefmans. All winning medals for Suriname at the Carebaco
Caribbean Championships, the Central American and Caribbean Games (CACSO Games) and also
at the South American Games, better known as the ODESUR Games. Virgil Soeroredjo also participated for Suriname
at the 2012 London Summer Olympics, only the second badminton player, after Oscar Brandon,
for Suriname to achieve this. Current National Champion Sören Opti was
the third Surinamese badminton player to participate at the Summer Olympics in 2016. Multiple K-1 champion and legend, Ernesto
Hoost, is of Surinamese descent. MMA and kickboxing champions Melvin Manhoef
and Gilbert Yvel were born in Suriname or are of Surinamese descent. Rayen Simson, another legendary multiple world-champion
kickboxer; Remy Bonjasky also a multiple K-1 champion; as well as retired female kickboxer,
Ilonka Elmont; notable up-and-comer kickboxer and K-1 fighter, Tyrone Spong; and former
Muay Thai champion, Andy Ristie, were born in Suriname. Involving the sport of tennis, historic national
champions include Gerard van der Schroeff (men’s single national champion for 10 consecutive
years between the years 1931–41, plus champion of multiple future titles). Herman Tjin-A-Djie (men’s national champion
1941 and 1945, plus men’s national double champion for 10 consecutive years with his
brother Leo). Leo Tjin-A-Djie (between 1948 and 1957 he
was eight-time national champion and men’s national double champion for 10 consecutive
years with his brother Herman). From Leo spawned the Opa Leo Tjin-A-Djie Tennis
tournament. Randolf Tjin-A-Djie was national champion
for 1960.==Transportation==Suriname, along with neighboring Guyana, is
one of only two countries on the mainland South American continent that drive on the
left, although many vehicles are left hand drive as well as right hand drive. One explanation for this practice is that
at the time of its colonization of Suriname, the Netherlands itself used left-hand traffic,
also introducing the practice in the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia. Another is that Suriname was first colonized
by the British, and for practical reasons, this was not changed when it came under Dutch
administration. Although the Netherlands converted to driving
to the right at the end of the 18th century, Suriname did not.===Air===
Airlines with departures from Suriname: Blue Wing Airlines
Caribbean Commuter Airways (Caricom Airways) (Surinam Airways Commuter)
Gum Air Surinam Airways (SLM)Airlines with arrivals
in Suriname: Caribbean Airlines (Trinidad & Tobago)
Insel Air (Curaçao) KLM (Netherlands)
Gol Transportes Aéreos (Brazil) Tui (Netherlands)
Surinam Airways (SLM) (Aruba, Brazil (Belem), Curaçao, Guyana (Georgetown), Netherlands
(Amsterdam), Trinidad & Tobago (Port of Spain), & USA (Miami).)Other national companies with
an air operator certification:==Health==
The fertility rate was at 2.6 births per woman in 2009. Public expenditure was at 3.6% of the GDP
in 2004, whereas private expenditure was at 4.2%. There were 45 physicians per 100,000 in the
early 2000s. Infant mortality was at 30 per 1,000 live
births. Male life expectancy at birth was at 66.4
years, whereas female life expectancy at birth was at 73 years.==Education==Education in Suriname is compulsory until
the age of 12, and the nation had a net primary enrollment rate of 94% in 2004. Literacy is very common, particularly among
men. The main university in the country is the
Anton de Kom University of Suriname. From elementary school to high school there
are 13 grades. The elementary school has six grades, middle
school four grades and high school three grades. Students take a test in the end of elementary
school to determine whether they will go to the MULO (secondary modern school) or a middle
school of lower standards like LBO. Students from the elementary school wear a
green shirt with jeans, while middle school students wear a blue shirt with jeans. Students going from the second grade of middle
school to the third grade have to choose between the business or science courses. This will determine what their major subjects
will be. In order to go on to study math and physics,
the student must have a total of 12 points. If the student has fewer points, he/she will
go into the business courses or fail the grade.==Biodiversity==Due to the variety in habitats and temperatures,
biodiversity in Suriname is considered high. In October 2013, 16 international scientists
researching the ecosystems during a three-week expedition in Suriname’s Upper Palumeu River
Watershed catalogued 1,378 species and found 60—including six frogs, one snake, and 11
fish—that may be previously unknown species. According to the environmental non-profit
Conservation International, which funded the expedition, Suriname’s ample supply of fresh
water is vital to the biodiversity and healthy ecosystems of the region.Snakewood (Brosimum
guianense), a shrub-like tree, is native to this tropical region of the Americas. Customs in Suriname report that snakewood
often illegally exported to French Guiana, thought to be for the crafts industry.===Environmental preservation===
On 21 March 2013, Suriname’s REDD+ Readiness Preparation Proposal (R-PP 2013) was approved
by the member countries of the Participants Committee of the Forest Carbon Partnership
Facility (FCPF).As in other parts of Central and South America, indigenous communities
have increased their activism to protect their lands and preserve habitat. In March 2015, the “Trio and Wayana communities
presented a declaration of cooperation to the National Assembly of Suriname that announces
an indigenous conservation corridor spanning 72,000 square kilometers (27,799 square miles)
of southern Suriname. The declaration, led by these indigenous communities
and with the support of Conservation International (CI) and World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Guianas,
comprises almost half of the total area of Suriname.” This area includes large forests and is considered
“essential for the country’s climate resilience, freshwater security, and green development
Media==Traditionally, De Ware Tijd was the major
newspaper of the country, but since the ’90s Times of Suriname, De West and Dagblad Suriname
have also been well-read newspapers; all publish primarily in Dutch.Suriname has twenty-four
radio stations, most of them also broadcast through the Internet. There are twelve television sources:
ABC (Ch. 4-1, 2), RBN (Ch. 5-1, 2), Rasonic TV (Ch. 7), STVS (Ch. 8–1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6),
Apintie (Ch. 10–1), ATV (Ch. 12–1, 2, 3, 4), Radika (Ch. 14), SCCN (Ch. 17–1,
2, 3), Pipel TV (Ch. 18–1, 2), Trishul (Ch. 20–1, 2, 3, 4), Garuda (Ch. 23–1, 2, 3),
Sangeetmala (Ch. 26), Ch. 30, Ch. 31, Ch.32, Ch.38, SCTV (Ch. 45). Also listened to is mArt, a broadcaster from
Amsterdam founded by people from Suriname. Kondreman is one of the popular cartoons in
Suriname. There are also two major news sites: Starnieuws
and Suriname Herald. In 2012, Suriname was ranked joint 22nd with
Japan in the worldwide Press Freedom Index by the organization Reporters Without Borders. This was ahead of the US (47th), the UK (28th),
and France (38th).==Tourism==
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 biodiversity
of the 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. Pangi wraps and bowls made of calabashes are
the two main products manufactured for tourists. The Maroons have learned that colorful and
ornate pangis are popular with tourists. Other popular decorative souvenirs are hand-carved
purple-hardwood made into bowls, plates, canes, wooden boxes, and wall decors. There are also many waterfalls throughout
the country. Raleighvallen, or Raleigh Falls, is a 56,000-hectare
(140,000-acre) 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, many of which have their own reserves that are generally 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 be reached only by boat
via Domburg, in the north central Wanica District of Suriname. Crime rates continue to rise in Paramaribo
and armed robberies are not uncommon. According to the current U.S. Department of
State Travel Advisory at the date of the 2018 report’s publication, Suriname has been assessed
as Level 1: exercise normal precautions.===Landmarks===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 (one lane
each way) and is not accessible to pedestrians. The construction of the Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral started on 13 January
1883. Before it became a cathedral it was a theatre. The theatre was built in 1809 and burned down
in 1820. Suriname is one of the few countries in the
world where a synagogue is located next to a mosque. 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. A relatively new landmark is the Hindu Arya
Dewaker temple in the Johan Adolf Pengelstraat in Wanica, Paramaribo, which was inaugurated
in 2001. A special characteristic of the temple is
that it does not have images of the Hindu divinities, as they are forbidden in the Arya
Samaj, the Hindu movement to which the people who built the temple belong. Instead, the building is covered by many texts
derived from the Vedas and other Hindu scriptures. The beautiful architecture makes the temple
a tourist attraction.==See also==Index of Suriname-related articles
Outline of Suriname==Notes====References====Further reading====External links==Websites of the government, President and
National Assembly(in Dutch) Website of the President of the Republic of Suriname
(in Dutch) Website of the Government of the Republic of Suriname
(in Dutch) Website of the National Assembly of the Republic of Suriname

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