Suriname, the former colony of Dutch Guiana, is the smallest independent country on the South American continent. Bordering countries are Guyana, Brazil and French Guiana. In the north, the country has a coastline to the Atlantic, where the majority of the fairly manageable population lives.

In 1975 Suriname gained its independence from the Netherlands. Five years later, the government was replaced by a military regime that proclaimed the Socialist Republic. International pressure led to a democratic election in 1987. Although the military seized power again in 1989, a civilian government was re-elected in 1991.



Suriname is administratively divided into ten districts. The Sipaliwini district in the south is larger than all other districts combined and is administered directly from the capital, Paramaribo. The population density there is only 0.3 inhabitants per km². The other districts, with the exception of Para and Brokopondo (around the artificially created Blommesteinsee), are concentrated on the coast.

The following division of the country should be relevant to tourism:

Coast - includes, from west to east, the districts of Nickerie, Coronie, Saramacca, Wanica, Paramaribo (capital district), Commewijne and Marowijne. The two districts of Wanica and Paramaribo are not only the smallest, but also the most populous and therefore the most densely populated districts in the country.
East - This includes the districts of Para, Brokopondo and the extreme east of the Sipaliwini district.
Wilhelmina Mountains - covers the southwest. At 1,280 meters, the Julianatop is the highest point in the country.


Cities / places

1 Albina . From here you can take a boat down the Marowijne to Galibi. Boat trips up the river are also possible. Ferry connection to neighboring Guyane Française to the east.
2 Groningen . With almost 3000 inhabitants, this is the main town of the Saramacca district.
Lelydorp. The capital of the district of Wanica, with 19,000 inhabitants, is the second largest town in the country. The population consists predominantly of Surinamese of Javanese and Indian origin.
3 Moengo . This used to be one of the centers for bauxite mining. For several years attempts have been made to establish the place as a center for contemporary art.
New Nickerie. The car ferry to Guyana can be reached from here. Boat trips up the border river Corantijn are possible.
4 Paramaribo. Capital with 200,000 inhabitants and numerous attractions: including Waterkant, synagogue and mosque right next to each other (!!!), Fort Zeelandia, Cathedral (one of the largest wooden buildings in South America), Independence Square with the Presidential Palace and the entire city center as a World Heritage Site.
paranam. An industrial town with a disused aluminum smelter with no tourist attractions.
5 totness. Central place of the so-called coconut district Coronie. Good stopover on the way from Paramaribo to Nieuw Nickerie.
6 Wageningen. Center of rice cultivation in the district of Nickerie. Without tourist attractions.

More goals
1 Galibi. Nature reserve where sea turtles can be seen. Accessible by boat from Albina. Overnight accommodation in Langamankondre and Christiaankondre.
2 Brownsberg. Nature reserve with a great view of the Brokopondostausee. Unfortunately, there has already been severe destruction of nature through gold mining.


Getting in

entry requirements
All travelers need a passport valid for at least six months. Possession of an onward or return ticket is mandatory.

Germans, Austrians, Swiss and Liechtensteiners no longer need a visa for stays of up to 30 days (extendable to 90 days). For entry by plane, a single-entry “tourist card” is now available online in advance for a fee (2021: US$54). The processing time is given as 72 hours. Citizens whose countries are not on the tourist card list require an electronic visa.
Those arriving by land must also purchase their "Tourist Card" in advance. This is no longer possible in Georgetown, here you can refer to the online application.

Consulates in neighboring countries are: For a long time there was no Surinamese representation in French Guiana. In the meantime, if necessary, you can apply for an entry permit at the consulate in Cayenne (3 Avenue Léopold Hédér, near the intersection with Rue F. Arago; Mon-Fri 9am-2pm) or St. Laurent du Maroni (6 Rue Victor Schoelcher). In Belém, Brazil, the consulate is at Avenida Governador José Malcher 108, Bairro Nazaré.

All non-tourist travelers need a visa, which can be obtained from the consulate in Amsterdam (De Cuserstraat 11, 1081 CK Amsterdam, ☎ +31 20 6426137. If necessary, you can also contact the embassy in Brussels (Franklin Rooseveltlaan 200, 1050 Brussels). Please note that the form must be filled out online (note: the date must be separated by "/" as the separator, otherwise an error message will appear.) EU citizens will receive a visa in Amsterdam in one day, other nationalities will have to wait at least two weeks.

For stays longer than one month, registration with the Department for Alien Registration, Ministry of Justice and Police; Mr. J. Lachmonstraat 166-168 (on the EG of the Ministry of Public Works). Passport and onward flight must be presented.'

duty-free amounts
200 cigarettes or 20 cigars or 500g of tobacco. 1 liter of liquor or 4 liters of wine or 8 liters of beer. 50ml perfume. Import and export of local currency is limited to 150 SRD.

By plane
There are (relatively expensive) flights with KLM or Suriname Airways several times a week from Amsterdam.

Suriname Airways flies in the region via Cayenne to Belem and via Port of Spain to Curaçao. Miami is served with stopovers in either Aruba or Georgetown. Caracas can also be reached with Caribbean Airlines.

Planes land at Johan Adolf Pengel International Airport, formerly called Zanderij International Airport. It is located 45 km south of Paramaribo. From there you can take a taxi or bus into the city. The big hotels usually organize a free shuttle service.

By train
There are no long-distance trains in Suriname; only two disused routes, the z. T. have already been recaptured by nature.

By bus
In the street
There is the possibility to rent cars. Warning: left-hand traffic! Foreigners must have an international driver's license or can obtain a local one for SRD 150 (payable at the main post office in Paramaribo, Kerkplein 1). Obtainable from the Driver's Licenses Department, at Bureau Nieuwe Haven Police Station in Paramaribo.

By boat
If you don't arrive on a sailing yacht, you hardly have a chance to get to Suriname by ship. From time to time cruise ships dock in Paramaribo.


Getting around

Traffic drives on the left in Suriname.



The official language is Dutch. In addition, the creole language Sranan Tongo is widespread, which contains Dutch, Portuguese and African elements. Most of the time you get along well with English.



Exchange rate (Nov 2021): 1 = 24.15 SRD. US dollars are preferred for cash exchanges.



In Paramaribo there are restaurants, bars, night clubs and a surprising number of casinos. Some casinos are also likely to be used to launder money from drug trafficking.



Employment, including any short-term volunteering, requires a work visa.



Both when leaving Suriname and when entering Amsterdam, there are sometimes very strict drug controls. You should plan enough time for this and under no circumstances take parcels, parcels or gifts with you that you do not know the contents of. As in many regions of the world, the same applies here: Valuables should not be carried openly and you should not carry more cash with you than is absolutely necessary. The number of robberies has increased in recent years. Also, drinks are occasionally mixed with narcotics. The threat of punishment for drug offenses is rigorous.

Police presence outside of Paramaribo is very low.



The usual precautions for tropical countries should be observed. Dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever occur - especially in the interior of the country. Insect repellent for skin and clothing is advisable. Since Paramaribo is almost at sea level, the city is criss-crossed by canals, so mosquitoes have to be reckoned with there too. In any case, you should inquire about malaria prophylaxis before you travel. Yellow fever vaccination is required for travel to/from French Guyana. This disease also occurs in the country itself and in Venezuela. Vaccination against hepatitis A is also recommended, and vaccination protection against polio and tetanus should be refreshed if necessary.

One should refrain from unprotected sexual contacts because of possible AIDS or hepatitis infections.



The climate of Suriname is tropical-equatorial. A distinction is made on the coast between the small rainy season from December to February, which is followed by the small dry season in March and April, and the large rainy season from May to July, which is followed by the large dry season from August to December. The best travel time is between February and April. The downpours begin in May and are accompanied by heavy thunderstorms. Countless hordes of mosquitoes swarm the air, and the vegetation develops with the greatest rapidity and luxuriance, but the noxious vapors rising from the ground make this season the unhealthiest. By June the rains begin to subside and in August the pure, clear skies appear. The east winds rise, and sometimes the great dry season, especially, brings a harmful drought. The heat is moderated from 10 a.m. by sea winds, which increase towards evening and decrease again at night. At daybreak it is often noticeably cool.



Due to its colonial past, Suriname is multicultural. So it is important to respect Hindus, Muslims, Jews and Christians alike.


Practical hints

emergency calls
Police: ☎ 112 or 115 Ambulance: ☎ 113



With an area of 163,820 km², Suriname is the smallest independent country in South America. With a population density of around four people per square kilometer, it is the most sparsely populated country in South America, along with the overseas department of French Guiana, and one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world.



Behind a maximum 80 km wide swampy coastal plain, the country rises in steps and forms the Suriname plateau, the northern slope of the Guiana mountains, from which three extensive mountain ranges in the southern half of the country, the Wilhelmina mountains, the Eilerts-de-Haan mountains and the Tumuk-Humak mountains, stand out. The highest elevation is the Julianatop at 1280 meters.



The climate is humid tropical. The short rainy season lasts from the beginning of December to the beginning of February and the long rainy season from the end of April to mid-August. In between there is the short dry season from the beginning of February to the end of April and the long dry season from mid-August to the beginning of December. The average temperature varies between 24 and 36 degrees Celsius.

The amount of precipitation increases from the coast (approx. 1500 mm) inland (up to almost 3000 mm in the southeast). The seasons follow the movement of the inner-tropical convergence zone (ITC), whereby the boundaries between the seasons, especially in the coastal area, cannot be clearly separated due to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean and the associated sea wind circulation.



According to the Environmental Performance Index, State and Dynamics of the Environmental System, released in January 2021, Suriname ranked 81st out of 180 countries in 2020. In the WorldRiskReport 2021, the country ranks 77th out of 181 countries with the highest risk of an extreme natural hazard leading to a disaster.


Inland waters

Large rivers are the Suriname, the Saramacca, the Coppename and the border rivers Corantijn and Marowijne. All rivers run from south to north.

From 1960 to 1965 the Brokopondo reservoir was created to generate electricity. It is located in the northeast of Suriname and covers a maximum area of 1560 km².

mud banks
Along the Surinamese coast lie eight major mud flats averaging 20 km wide and extending some 15 km into the Atlantic. 90 to 95% of the silt comes from the Amazon.


Flora and fauna

Suriname has a great variety of flora and fauna. From a European point of view, both were first further developed by Maria Sibylla Merian, who conducted scientific studies from 1699 to 1701 and published her results in her work Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium. In 1975, on the occasion of independence, Suriname received one of the original editions as a gift from the Netherlands.

About 80% of the basic area still consists of rainforest with e.g. more than 1000 tree species. This jungle is part of the largest tropical rainforest in the world, the Amazon rainforest, most of which is on Brazilian territory. The Surinamese bush country is therefore a popular place of study for biologists from all over the world. Some inhabitants (fauna) of the rainforest are u. a. the caiman, the jaguar, the sloth, the tapir, the capybara, the armadillo, the howler monkey and the parrot etc. It should also be noted that special populations of sea turtles (called Aikanti by the Caribs) stay on the beaches at Galibi to lay their eggs.

As in most tropical countries, nature in Suriname is endangered by overexploitation, such as Deforestation through clearing, bauxite mining and pollution as a result of around 2000 to 3000 legal and illegal gold mines.

However, Suriname has a long history of conservation. Various organizations such as the state authorities, Dienst van's Lands Bosbeheer (LBB), Stichting Natuurbehoud Suriname (STINASU) and the WWF are trying to protect the existing natural ecosystems.

Suriname has eleven nature reserves, one natural park and four special environmental areas (multiple-use management areas), which are multi-use areas located in the coastal area.



Besides the capital Paramaribo, only the border towns of Albina and Nieuw Nickerie and Lelydorp are of any importance.



Most of the population resides in the towns and villages of the coastal plain, with 241,000 in the capital, Paramaribo. The ethnic origin of the population is very heterogeneous, which is also reflected in religious affiliation and mother tongues.

Many Suriname residents have emigrated. In 2015, according to the UN, 237,000 native-born people lived abroad (most of them in the Netherlands), which corresponded to an emigration rate of 30.4% of the population.



According to the results of the 8th census in 2012, the population consists of 541,638 people:
37.4% (202,500 people) of African descent – divided into two groups:
21.7% (117,567 people) count themselves among the group of Maroons, Dutch Marrons. They are descendants of slaves who fled before 1863. The Surinamese rainforest offered them a place to hide, and tribal associations emerged in which many elements of West African culture, language and religion can still be found today. The two largest groups are the Ndyuka and Saramaccans,
15.7% (84,933 people) describe themselves as Creoles, descendants of slaves who were formerly abducted from Africa and who had not fled inland. After the abolition of slavery in 1863 and the end of the subsequent ten-year obligation to work, they settled on the plantations and especially in the capital Paramaribo, where they sometimes mixed with other population groups.
27.4% (148,443 people) of Indian origin – the so-called Hindustans,
13.7% (73,975 people) are Javanese,
13.4% (72,340 people) belong to the mixed group,
7.6% (40,985 people) identify themselves as belonging to other groups, such as the Chinese, Arabs (Syrian Christians, Palestinians and Lebanese), Europeans and indigenous people,
0.6% (3,395 people) unknown.



Information according to religious affiliation (result of the 8th census 2012):
48.4% Christian
22.3% Hindus
13.9% Muslims
12.3% other or no religious affiliation
3.2% unknown

There are many denominations among the Christian religious communities. Among them are the Roman Catholic Church, the Moravian Church, the Reformed Church, the Lutherans, the Pentecostal movement, Jehovah's Witnesses, the Methodists, etc. There is also a small Jewish religious community - see also Jodensavannah and photo gallery Paramaribo. Finally, indigenous South American religions and traditional cults of traditional African religions are also represented.

The World Day of Prayer in March 2018 was prepared by women from Surinam.



Education is compulsory up to the age of 12. It is largely followed. A minority of the population are illiterate. Most of them are female. The country's university is the Anton de Kom Universiteit van Suriname.



The fertility rate is two and a half children. Public health expenditure was 3.6% of GDP in 2004 and private 4.2%. The doctor density in the early 2000s was 45 per 100,000 inhabitants. The infant mortality rate was 30 per 1000 live births. The life expectancy of the residents of Suriname from birth was 71.8 years in 2020 (women: 75.2, men: 68.6).



The area of present-day Suriname was founded around 3000 BC. first settled by humans. The largest recent indigenous tribes were the Arawak and Caribs; the Arawak were the first to settle in the Suriname area, later they were conquered by the Caribs. Both Arawak and Caribs settled on the coast and in the savannah; smaller indigenous tribes, such as the Akurio, Tiriyó, Wayarekule, Warao, and Wayana, lived in the rainforests.

Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover the coast in 1498, and in 1499 an expedition under the command of Amerigo Vespucci and Alonso de Ojeda explored the coast more closely. Vicente Yáñez Pinzón explored the interior in 1500.

A first permanent European settlement was established in 1651 by the English on behalf of Francis Willoughby. In 1667 the Netherlands took over the colony. The status quo remained with the Treaty of Breda, which was concluded in the same year. The English kept the conquered Dutch colony of Nieuw Amsterdam (later New York) and the Dutch, in turn, conquered Suriname. Therefore one also speaks of a barter trade. After the Third Anglo-Dutch War, this status became official in 1674 with the Peace of Westminster. In 1683 the Sociëteit van Suriname was founded as the new owner. Until it was dissolved in 1795, this society, with its decision-makers, the changing directors in Amsterdam and the governors they sent, was to have a decisive say in the checkered history of Suriname. The neighboring areas of Berbice and Essequibo, which roughly constitute present-day Guyana, were also colonized by the Dutch in the 17th century. Together with Suriname they formed the so-called Dutch Guiana. In the first half of the 18th century, agriculture flourished in Dutch Guiana; Sugar cane, coffee, cotton and cocoa were grown with the help of African slaves. While the Netherlands was annexed to France, the British occupied Dutch Guiana in 1799–1802 and 1804–1815. What is now Suriname was returned after Napoleon's defeat, while what is now Guyana remained in British hands. The return was regulated in the British-Dutch treaty of August 13, 1814. It included a statement that no Dutch citizen was allowed to be involved in the slave trade anymore. In fact, the slave trade and the importation of slaves into Suriname did not end until 1826.


Abolition of slavery

Slavery was abolished on July 1, 1863, although the former slaves had to work on the plantations as paid workers for another ten years (the so-called Staatstoezicht period). With the abolition of slavery, the Dutch state paid the owners compensation (staat van tegemoetkoming) of 300 guilders per slave for the "loss". A total of around 35,000 slaves were freed on July 1, 1863. In addition, the colonial administration had to assign surnames to the slave households for the first time. With the large number of names, the most bizarre neologisms came about.


Contract workers

In order to compensate for the resulting shortage of workers in the plantation economy, contract workers from British India, the Chinese Empire and the Dutch East Indies (today Indonesia) were brought to Suriname from 1873.


Way to independence

In 1866, Suriname took the first cautious steps towards democracy and self-government. After the elections of April 5, 1866, the Colonial Staten was formed as a representative body. It consisted of 13 members, nine elected deputies and four deputies appointed by the governor.

Universal suffrage was introduced on December 9, 1948; women were also entitled to vote. The number of MPs increased to 21.

In 1954, Suriname, like the Netherlands Antilles, was granted the status of an equal and self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In 1973, the local government began negotiations for independence with the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and on November 25, 1975, Suriname became independent. Active and passive women's suffrage was confirmed.


Time of the military dictatorship

After a phase of political instability and increased dissatisfaction, especially among the military who had been trained in the Netherlands and returned to Suriname in 1975, there was a putsch on February 25, 1980, also known as the Sergeant Coup, carried out by 16 young non-commissioned officers led by Sergeant-Major Desi Bouterse. The military deposed the government of Prime Minister Henck AE Arron. This coup d'état was welcomed by a large part of the population, as they expected a reduction in corruption and an increase in living standards. The Dutch government also initially accepted the new rulers, who formed an eight-strong National Military Council (NMR) chaired by Sergeant Badrissein Sital. Other members of the NMR were: Bouterse (on the way to commander), Oberfeldwebel Roy Horb, Feldwebel Laurens Neede, Lieutenant Michel van Rey (the only one with officer training) and three other non-commissioned officers. The elections scheduled for March 27, 1980 were suspended, and the doctor Hendrick Chin A Sen, who was not active in party politics, was surprisingly appointed head of government. After three members of the council, Chairman Sital, Chas Mijnals and Stanley Joeman, were disarmed and arrested at Bouterse's instigation on charges of planning a counter-coup, a state of emergency was declared on August 13, 1980, the constitution suspended and dissolved Parliament. President Johan Henri Eliza Ferrier, who had been in office since 1975, resigned under pressure from the military. The previous head of government, Hendrick R. Chin A Sen, took over the office of president, and the newly founded Militair Gezag (military command, leadership), consisting of Bouterse and Horb, now officially moved into the center of political power.

On February 4, 1982, Hendrick R. Chin A Sen resigned over disagreements with the National Military Council over the country's political and economic course, and the jurist and politician Ramdat Misier took over as President.

The policy of the Netherlands changed towards Suriname when the military murdered fifteen opposition figures in Fort Zeelandia on December 8, 1982 (see December murders). The period between 1986 and 1992 was marked by a guerrilla war in the jungle, in which the city of Albina was almost completely destroyed. The official government forces were led by Desi Bouterse and the opposition by his former bodyguard, Ronnie Brunswijk. The group around Brunswijk was also known as "Jungle Commando". The war was sometimes waged with the utmost cruelty. On November 29, 1986, a military unit attacked the village of Moiwana, burning down Ronnie Brunswijk's house and killing at least 35 people, most of them women and children.

According to Ronald Reagan's diaries (The Reagan Diaries), published in May 2007, the Dutch government considered military intervention in Suriname in 1986 after the Moiwana massacre. The Hague wanted to overthrow the military regime of Desi Bouterse. To this end, The Hague sent a request for help to the United States for the transport of 700 Dutch soldiers from the Mariniers Corps. The US considered the request for assistance, but before a decision was made, the Dutch government withdrew its request.

On November 30, 2007, the trial before the Krijgsraad, the court martial or military court in Boxel, south of Paramaribo, began against those accused of involvement in the murder of 15 opposition figures of the military dictatorship on December 8, 1982. A total of 25 people were formally served with summonses. Shortly before the conclusion of the criminal proceedings, an amnesty law extension was passed in parliament on April 4, 2012 with 28 votes in favor of the governing coalition and 12 votes against by the opposition. This granted amnesty to the accused, including the main accused, President Desi Bouterse, for the December 1982 killings.


Restoration of democracy

In 1987, under international pressure – among other things due to declining financial support for the Netherlands – the democratic order was restored with the help of the so-called “old parties” (from before 1980). Since 1987, the state leadership has been democratically elected again, but some of the old military still have an influence on politics and everyday life in the country. This became clear in 2010, when Desi Bouterse was elected the new President of Suriname on July 19 by parliament.

The non-profit, non-governmental organization Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) calls Suriname “The new paradigm of a criminalized state” in a report published in March 2017.



Form of government

Suriname is a representative democracy with parliamentary executive power based on the 1987 amended Basic Law.

Parliamentary elections are held every five years. Suriname has a unicameral system, the National Assembly (De Nationale Assemblée, DNA). The DNA elects the President and Vice President by a two-thirds majority. The President, in turn, appoints and dismisses the ministers. If a candidate does not win a two-thirds majority in the DNA after two ballots, the United People's Assembly (Verenigde Volksvergadering, VVV) meets to elect the President and Vice-President; the United People's Assembly consists of an electoral college of members of the DNA (51 MPs) and deputies of the regional councils.

In the parliamentary elections on 25 May 2020, Chan Santokhi's Vooruitstrevende Hervormingspartij (VHP) became the strongest party with 20 seats. On July 13, 2020, in a special session of the National Assembly of Suriname, Chan Santokhi was elected President and Ronnie Brunswijk of the Algemene Bevrijdings- en Ontwikkelingspartij (ABOP) was elected Vice-President of Suriname.

Legal system and rights
Jurisdiction is carried out on behalf of the Republic on the basis of applicable law, by independent judges and courts. Homosexuality in Suriname is legal from the age of 18.


Foreign policy

border conflicts
After Suriname militarily defended its maritime territorial claims against Guyana in June 2000 by deploying two patrol boats against the Canadian company CGX Energy Inc. and thus prevented the construction of an oil drilling platform, the state of Guyana appealed to the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA), based in The Hague, in February 2004 to clarify the border dispute.

In consultation with the PCA, on September 20, 2007 Presidents Ronald Venetiaan and Bharrat Jagdeo publicly announced the final judgment of the five-member Arbitral Tribunal of September 17, 2007. The arbitral tribunal awarded Guyana 33,152 km² and Suriname 17,871 km² of the resource-rich sea area. Both heads of state welcomed the decision and the settlement of the dispute. The verdict makes it possible for oil companies to start exploring and developing the coastal basin. Oil reserves of 15 billion barrels and gas deposits of 1.2 trillion cubic meters are suspected there under the sea floor.

According to previous investigations, most of these deposits are probably on the Guyanese side. The area that led to the military intervention by Suriname in June 2000 and forced the company CGX Energy to withdraw is also within the area assigned to Guyana. The tribunal dismissed the US$34 million in compensation sought from Guyana for this action.

The arbitral tribunal further confirmed that the entire Corantijn River is part of Surinamese territory. This gives Suriname control of all shipping from the mouth on the Corantijn.

A large part of the population lives abroad as migrant workers; around 345,000 people of Surinamese origin live in the Netherlands alone (as of January 1, 2011). Many of them emigrated at the time of independence, after the 1980 coup d'état or after the "December murders" of 1982. For the Surinamese community, this emigration meant a considerable bloodletting, since a large part of the trained personnel left the country or did not leave the country after completing their studies returned. This has had a significant negative impact in many areas (brain drain).

On the other hand, a study by the University of Utrecht (here: Utrecht School of Economics) showed that in 2006, 70% of Surinamese or Dutch people of Surinamese descent living in the Netherlands transferred 125 million euros to Suriname. 47% of Surinamese households benefited from this.



During the negotiations to prepare for the independence of Suriname between the Dutch and Surinamese delegations, the establishment of an army under the name Surinamese War Power (SKM) was agreed upon at Suriname's request.

Until autonomy, Surinamese and the so-called autochthonous Dutch were drafted into military service. Some remained thereafter as professional military personnel in the colonial army, which in Suriname was called Troepenmacht in Suriname (TRIS). With independence looming, most Dutch Surinamese chose to remain in the Dutch Army. There was therefore a risk that the SKM, which was to be founded on November 25, 1975, would be left without a manager and even without a commander. In order to forestall this situation, it was decided that the Surinamese professional military personnel who would transfer from the Dutch Armed Forces to the SKM would be remunerated with an allowance to be paid by the Netherlands in addition to their Surinamese pay. Only after this regulation could the military cadre required for the formation of the SKM be committed. At the same time, it was agreed that a Dutch Military Mission (NMM) should be established as part of the Dutch Embassy in Paramaribo to look after this group. Colonel Hans Valk was appointed as the first leader and military attaché. However, due to the agreed financial arrangement, two groups of military personnel were formed within the SKM. One who had joined the SKM in Suriname and received no allowance at the same rank, and one who, at the same position, had a significantly higher income from the allowance.

With the assumption of sovereignty, the TRIS was abolished and the materiel, supplies and buildings taken over by the newly formed SKM, later renamed the Surinamese National Army (SNL).

The armed forces of Suriname include approximately 2000 soldiers. In addition, the country has a small air unit that u. a. has been equipped with two Spanish-made CASA C 212-200 transport aircraft since 1998/99. It is based at Zorg en Hoop Air Force Base in Paramaribo. Since the beginning of 2015, the Air Force has also had three HAL Chetak helicopters, which Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. has bought for a total of around 13.4 million US dollars. (HAL) were delivered.

In November 2012, three patrol boats (Fast Patrol Boats) were ordered from the French company OCEA for a total of EUR 16 million for the Coast Guard and delivered in mid-2013. This is intended to strengthen the Coast Guard to better protect territorial waters and the border rivers Corantijn and Marowijne.

Currently (2015) Suriname has a purely professional army. The compulsory military service provided for in the Basic Law was suspended.


Administrative division

Suriname is divided into ten districts. The district capitals are given in brackets.

Brokopondo, 15,909 inhabitants, 7364 km² (Brokopondo)
Commewijne, 31,420 inhabitants, 2353 km² (Nieuw Amsterdam)
Coronie, pop. 3,391, area 3,902 km² (Totness)
Marowijne, 18,294 inhabitants, 4627 km² (Albina)
Nickerie, pop. 34,233, area 5353 km² (Nieuw Nickerie)
Para, 24,700 inhabitants, 5393 km² (Onverwacht)
Saramacca, 17,480 inhabitants, 3636 km² (Groningen)
Sipaliwini, 37,065 inhabitants, 130,567 km² (directly managed by Paramaribo)
Wanica, 118,222 inhabitants, 443 km² (Lelydorp)
Paramaribo, 240,924 inhabitants, 182 km² (capital district)
(total: 541,638 inhabitants in Suriname; census 2012)

The ten districts are in turn decentralized into 62 departments (administrative units).




At the time of colonization, Suriname was probably the most profitable plantation colony in the Netherlands, and sugar was the main export. Mariënburg near Paramaribo was the last of the earlier sugar mills (sugar cane plantations). Only ruins remain. In addition to bauxite and mineral oil, gold, wood, rice, bananas and fish are also exported. Suriname has been a member of Caricom since 1995. The GDP per capita was 6,333 US dollars in 2016, so the level of prosperity was roughly comparable to that of Peru and in the middle of the Latin American countries.

Between 2004 and 2008, Suriname generated a trade surplus of approximately US$1.2 billion. The raw materials gold, oil and bauxite accounted for an average of 81% of all export earnings in these years.

According to the World Economic Forum's world competition rankings, The Global Competitiveness Report 2009-2010, Suriname is ranked 102nd out of 133 countries surveyed. The index, published in September 2009, evaluates the global competitiveness of the national economies examined. According to this report, the inefficient public service is the biggest obstacle for investors in Suriname.

In the Article IV Consultation-Staff Report published on August 18, 2011 by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Suriname was one of the few countries in the world to receive a positive assessment. The outlook for the Surinamese economy is described as favorable in the report. A solid economic foundation, low debt and cheap income from basic commodities have protected the country against the ongoing global economic crisis. According to the IMF report, the economy grew by 4.5% in 2010. This increase was mainly due to increased exports of basic materials and local construction activities.

On July 10, 2012, Fitch Ratings upgraded Suriname's credit rating from B+ to BB. Reasons for the increase include: with the continued economic growth and flexible response in dealing with domestic and foreign shocks, with an average economic growth of 4.4% in 2011 and a 2012 estimated growth of 4.9% in 2013. These figures roused the country a five-year moving average that was well above the 3.5% cut-off line of the BB category.

In its February 22, 2017 report, Fitch Ratings downgraded Suriname's credit rating from BB and B+ to B−. The reason given for the downgrade is the country's deteriorating economy and its debt burden. The prospects are also rated negatively.

On January 16, 2020, Fitch Ratings downgraded Suriname's credit rating from B− to CCC due to the sharp rise in government debt.

The credit rating agency Standard & Poor's also downgraded Suriname from B to CCC+ on April 1, 2020. The downgrade is attributed to long-term sovereign debt and unfunded debt for a $550 million bond that runs through 2026. The negative outlook reflects the potential for a reduction over the next 12 months if economic conditions, tax revenues or the availability of finance do not improve.

Like Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor's, the rating agency Moody's downgraded Suriname's creditworthiness from B2 to B3 on April 14, 2020.

After Fitch Ratings again downgraded Suriname's creditworthiness from CCC to C on July 2, 2020, Moody's followed suit on July 6, 2020 with the downgrade from B3 to Caa3 due to the high level of government debt and the lack of foreign currency.

According to estimates by the US secret service CIA, the unemployment rate was 8.9% in 2017, and underemployment is widespread. In 2010, 11.2% of all workers worked in agriculture, 19.5% in industry and 69.3% in the service sector. The total number of employees for 2014 was estimated at 144,000.

According to the Algemeen Bureau voor de Statistiek (ABS) (Suriname Statistical Office), the inflation rates in 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 were 60.8%, 60.7%, 54.6% and 55.6% . 316 articles were taken into account when determining the price movements. The inflation figures at the Centrale Bank van Suriname.

According to the Bureau of Statistics of Suriname, the one-year inflation from August 2021 to August 2022 was 39.1%. The monthly inflation rate increased by 4% in August compared to July 2022.


Natural resources

For decades, an important pillar of the Surinamese economy was the extraction of bauxite by the American Alcoa (Aluminum Company of America), its subsidiary Suriname Aluminum Company (Suralco) and the Australian-British BHP Billiton. Especially during the Second World War, production for the war industry increased sharply and in 1950 Suriname accounted for over 25% of global bauxite production. In 1975, the year of independence, Suriname was the third largest bauxite producer in the world.

Both BHP Billiton in 2008 and Alcoa with its subsidiary Suralco in 2015 have ceased operations in Suriname. Bauxite has not been mined or processed in Suriname since 2015.

In December 1980 the State Surinamese Oil Company (Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname N.V.) was founded. In February 1982, in cooperation with Gulf Oil, oil production began on the former Catharina Sophia plantation in the Tambaredjo area, Saramacca district. By the end of 2004, approximately 55 million barrels of crude oil had been produced. Since 1997 Staatsolie has also had an oil refinery. In order to develop and promote the oil deposits suspected off the Surinamese coast, in 2004 u. a. signed investment and participation agreements with Repsol YPF. RWE Dea also entered the Block 52 license off the coast of Suriname in June 2013 via a “farm-in agreement”.

Staatsolie took over the Texaco gas stations in Suriname from Chevron in September 2011. With the commissioning of the extended refinery for the production of motor gasoline and diesel fuel in December 2014, Staatsolie markets its products through these filling stations.

In June 2015, Staatsolie Director Rudolf Elias signed a production sharing agreement with Apache Corporation for offshore Block 58 off the Surinamese coast. After Apache successfully completed initial drilling in December 2019, it entered into a joint venture with Total S.A. to further fund the project. In January 2020, the successful drilling and the oil and gas finds in Block 58 off the Surinamese coast became public. Three months later, Apache and Total reported a second significant oil discovery in Block 58.

Due to the increased price of gold, this raw material is becoming an increasingly important source of income. The Canadian Iamgold Corporation is the largest gold producer in Suriname. Iamgold has been producing in the Brokopondo district in the Rosebel open pit gold mine since 2004. After the concession, which ran until 2011, only 5% of sales flowed into the Surinamese treasury. In the new framework agreement to be concluded with Iamgold, the state share should be significantly increased. Iamgold announced in its 2010 annual report that a total of 12,300 kilograms of gold were mined at Brokopondo. The company also said that in 2010 it cost $484 to produce a troy ounce of gold. The average gold price in 2010 was around 1225 US dollars per troy ounce.

In June 2013, the Surinamese government signed a new concession agreement with Iamgold. Suriname's revenue share is now 30% instead of the previous 5%. The term of the contract is 15 years. In 2012, the Rosebel mine produced 382,000 troy ounces of gold at a production cost of US$671 per ounce and had an estimated mineability of more than 19 years.



According to a report by the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the number of tourists visiting Suriname has increased steadily in recent years. In 2010 204,000, in 2011 220,000 (increase of 7.9%) and in 2012 240,000 (increase of 8.9%) tourists came to Suriname. According to this report, Suriname's revenue from the tourism sector was US$61 million in both 2010 and 2011.

According to the military police, who carry out passport and border controls in Suriname, between December 1, 2016 and December 1, 2017, a total of 1,170 people with German nationality entered the country.

According to Stichting Toerisme Suriname (STS), 278,000 tourists came to Suriname in 2017. This is an increase of 8.0% compared to the previous year with 256,000 visitors.

state budget
In 2016, the state budget included expenditures equivalent to 664 million US dollars, compared to revenues equivalent to 470 million US dollars. This results in a budget deficit of 5.4% of GDP.
The national debt in 2005 was US$660 million or 37.0% of GDP.

The share of government expenditure (in % of GDP) in the following areas was:
Health: 6.2 (2006)
Education: 5.9 (1991)
Military: 0.6 (2006)



In Suriname there is a national airline, Suriname Airways, and two airports, the Paramaribo/Zanderij International Airport near the village of Zanderij with around 210,000 passengers arriving (2011) and the small Zorg en Hoop Airport in Paramaribo. It is from here that the impassable villages in the bush land - especially in the dry season when the rivers are not navigable - and the legal and illegal gold fields are supplied. The military also uses the airfield.

Suriname has not had a working rail link since the Lawa Railway closed in 1987.

road network
Paramaribo's road network is mostly paved. The same applies to the approx. 380 km long east-west connection between the border towns of Albina in the east and Nieuw-Nickerie in the west, to the south to the airport (Zanderij), approx. 50 km from Paramaribo, to Paranam (aluminum smelting works) and further south via Berg en Dal, Brownsweg to Atjoni/Pokigron at the southern end of the reservoir. The main streets of the larger towns (see administrative structure) are also asphalted. The remaining path connections are sand and gravel roads. Traffic drives on the left in Suriname.

water traffic
There are about 1200 km of navigable waterways in Suriname. Rivers are the main transport route to the bushland villages. There are ferry connections across the border rivers Marowijne from Albina to French Guiana and the Corantijn from Nieuw-Nickerie to Guyana.

Ports: Paramaribo, Paranam (transshipment point for bauxite), Moengo, the former bauxitort in the district of Marowijne, Wageningen (agricultural products, rice and bananas) and Nieuw-Nickerie in the district of Nickerie.

The first and only bridge, the Jules Wijdenbosch Bridge, in the capital Paramaribo over the Suriname was only opened on May 20, 2000 by the then President Jules Wijdenbosch.

media, communication
In Suriname, 32 radio and 19 television stations have been licensed. By far the majority of these stations are based in Paramaribo (21 radio stations and 16 television stations). Radio Apintie's programs can not only be received on shortwave with good reception conditions after midnight in the 60-meter tropical band in Europe, but are also available as audio/video live streams on the Internet.

Six daily and four weekly newspapers are published, including two small denominational papers. The circulation per newspaper varies between around 8000 and 60 pieces.

In 2017, 49 percent of Suriname residents used the internet.



The most popular sport in Suriname is organized by the Surinaamse Voetbal Bond (SVB).

Surinamese national football team
Surinamese women's national football team
Olympic games
The Surinaam Olympic Committee was incorporated into the International Olympic Committee in 1959.