About Suriname

Suriname, officially known as the Republic of Suriname (Dutch: Republiek Suriname), is located on the northeastern Atlantic coast of South America. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guyana to the east, the Co-operative Republic of Guyana to the west and the Federative Republic of Brazil to the south. In the west and east the demarcation of the borders is respectively set by the River Corantijn and the River Marowijne. However, there are historic disputes regarding the south-west and south-east borders, which have not yet been settled to the satisfaction of Suriname.

Figure 3.1 Map of Suriname

Figure 3.1 Map of Suriname

Suriname at just under 165,000 square kilometers (64,000 square miles) is the smallest sovereign state in South America. Suriname has a population of approximately 572,000. Most of the population (65.1%) is urban and lives on the country’s north coast, in and around the capital Paramaribo and the other large cities of district Wanica and district Nickerie.

The original inhabitants of Suriname are the indigenous people. The Suriname population is a mixture of different ethnic groups formed by the colonial background of Dutch -farmers-, African slaves and contract laborers from India (1873) and Indonesia (1890). In the mid-19th century, migrants from China arrived in Suriname and this trend continued in the 20th century with migrants from other continents as well from the neighboring countries Guyana and Brazil.

Though various languages or dialects of those languages are spoken, due to our historical past, Dutch is the official language of Suriname and English is commonly understood and spoken.