Country - Suriname

Suriname

Suriname Country Information

There are three nations or regions with the similar sounding suffix “Guiana or Guyana” on the extreme north eastern border of South American continent. British Guyana (or simply Guyana), Dutch Guiana (a region which was semi-officially referred to as Suriname) and French Guiana lie in a row from west to east on the north eastern periphery of the continent.  All the three of them are bordered in the east by Brazil and they have a common uninterrupted sea coast of Atlantic Ocean in the north. Amazon forest, which represents about 50% of the rain forest area of the entire blue planet, has its presence in all the three nations Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana in addition to Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.

Paramaribo is the capital and the largest city of Suriname. Dutch is the main official language used in official correspondence, media and academics although Sranan, an English-based creole is widely spoken common language in the country. The majority of its population, 48.4%, is dominated by Christians; Hindus make for 22.3% of the total population. The rest of people comprise Muslims and other religions.

In the pre-independence era, Suriname was treated a constituent country of the Kingdom of Netherlands from 1954 to 1975. Suriname had been given full autonomy by the Dutch except in the matters of defence and foreign affairs. When it gained compete independence from Netherlands in 1975, the country has officially rechristened itself as Republic of Suriname, reflecting the democratic feature of its government.

As per the estimate of 2016, the total population of Suriname was 558,368 with an average density of population 2.9/sq.km. The country has recorded awesome performance with the per capita GDP (nominal) of US$ 6,506. The greatest share of export revenue is from the bauxite, an aluminum ore which forms 70% of the total exports. The main items of exports were bauxite, gold, oil, hardwood (lumber) and bananas in 2014. The major imports of Suriname constituted capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton and consumer goods.

In the world map, Suriname has on its both sides of west and east the flakes of regions under dispute with Guyana and French Guiana respectively. Suriname is the smallest country by land area in the South American continent while Brazil is the largest. Indians in Suriname are the original inhabitants though they are currently reduced to a small minority. Production of rice on regular basis with two harvest seasons in a year might be attributed to the eating habits of Indians who have been permanent dwellers from the mid-nineteenth century. Paddy is cultivated in almost half of the entire arable land. The country achieved 95.6% literacy with the Dutch system of education being practised at school level. Being in the range of 2 – 5 degrees near the equator, the average temperature is moderately hot between 26 to 33º C. Main mode of transport is through rivers as the road network is not adequate to suit the present requirements.

While in the capital city Paramaribo, tourists get to see the Dutch style architecture in government buildings as well as private bungalows. The Presidential Palace in Independence Square is a white three-floored bungalow where a carefully pruned leafy parapet fence is maintained as a border to the front yard.  The city is home to the Cathedral of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, the biggest wooden structure in the southern hemisphere, the Fort Zealandia which safeguarded the old part of the city and Palmentuin, the garden of palm trees.

The Central Suriname Nature Reserve, away from the hectic life of city is a serene place with plenty of fresh air, pristine forests and bio-diversity, designated for being included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. If you go into binnenland of Suriname, you find yourself in the midst of diverse flora and fauna. Big groups of eagle-sized scarlet macaws with their wings bordered by bright blue plumes will be a spectacular natural show. The rainforests of Amazon have plenty to offer to the nature lovers.

The heterogeneous culture of different ethnic people can be seen during various festivals that occur in a year. Sprinkling fistfuls of multi-coloured powders and spraying coloured water-jets at one another marks the jubilation of the festival Holi Phagwa observed by indigenous Hindus in March. The Wandelmars of four-day march on the eve of Easter is the local version of Mardi Gras where people from all races take to streets for collective marches or dances draped in variegated costumes. The year-end street parties marking abolishment of slavery, Surifesta and Owru Yari are the crowning glory of all the festivities in Suriname.