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Republiek Suriname
Republic of Suriname
Flag of Suriname
Coat of arms of Suriname
flag coat of arms
Motto : Justitia - Pietas - Fides (lat.)
Justice - Piety - Faithfulness
Official language Dutch
Capital Paramaribo
Form of government republic
Government system Representative democracy with parliament-bound executive power
Head of state President Chan Santokhi
Head of government Vice President Ronnie Brunswijk
surface 163,820 km²
population 541,638 ( 2012 census )
Population density 3 inhabitants per km²
Population development   +1.05% per year
gross domestic product
  • Total (nominal)
  • Total ( PPP )
  • GDP / inh. (nominal)
  • GDP / inh. (KKP)
  • $ 3.57 billion ( 158th )
  • $ 7.88 billion ( 157. )
  • 6,333 USD ( 86. )
  • 13,988 USD ( 90. )
Human Development Index   0.725 ( 97th ) (2016)
currency Suriname Dollar (SRD)
independence November 25, 1975
(from the Netherlands )
National anthem God zij met ons Suriname
Time zone UTC − 3
License Plate SME
ISO 3166 SR , SUR, 740
Internet TLD .sr
Telephone code +597
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Suriname ( Dutch [ syːriˈnaːmə ], German [ ˈzuːʁɪˌnaːmə ]), German also Surinam ([ ˈzuːʁɪˌnam ]), Sranantongo Sranan ([ sraːˈnaŋ ]), is a state in South America .

It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, French Guiana to the east, Brazil to the south and Guyana to the west . The country probably owes its name to the Surinian tribe , who were driven out of this area by the Arawak . The national holiday is November 25th, the independence day from the Netherlands in 1975.


With an area of ​​163,820 km², Suriname is the smallest independent country in South America.


Behind a swampy coastal plain that is no more than 80 km wide, the country rises in stages and forms the Suriname plateau, the northern roof of the Guayana mountain range, from the three extensive mountain ranges in the southern half of the country, the Wilhelmina Mountains and the Eilerts-de-Haan Mountains and the Tumuk-Humak Mountains . The highest point is the Julianatop at 1280 meters.


Climate diagram Paramaribo

The climate is tropical . The small rainy season lasts from the beginning of December to the beginning of February, and the great from the end of April to the middle of August . In between there is the small dry season from the beginning of February to the end of April and the large dry season from mid-August to the beginning of December. The average temperature fluctuates 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 Inertropical Convergence Zone (ITC), whereby the boundaries between the seasons, especially in the coastal area, can not 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, published in January 2018, Suriname ranks 103rd out of 180 countries.

Inland waters

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

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


Along the Surinamese coast there are eight large mud banks, which are on average 20 km wide and extend around 15 km into the Atlantic. The mud comes to 90 to 95% of the Amazon .

Flora and fauna

Page XXIII from Metamorphosis insectorum Surinamensium , Boccaves fruit with a lizard

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

Around 80% of the base area still consists of rainforest with u. a. more than 1000 tree species. This jungle is part of the largest tropical rainforest in the world, the Amazon rainforest, the largest part of which is on Brazilian territory. The Surinamese bushland is therefore a popular place to 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 be noted that on the beaches near Galibi special populations of sea ​​turtles ( called Aikanti by the Caribs ) stay to lay their eggs.

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

However, Suriname has a long history in the field of nature 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 , a nature park and four special environmental areas (multiple-use management areas) , multi-purpose areas in the coastal area.


Most of the population is settled in the towns and villages of the coastal plain, of which 241,000 are in the capital Paramaribo. The ethnic origin of the population is very heterogeneous, which can also be seen in religious affiliation and mother tongues.

Many Suriname residents have emigrated. In 2015, according to the UN, 237,000 people born in the country were living abroad (most of them in the Netherlands), representing an emigration rate of 30.4% of the population.

Population development

Population pyramid Suriname 2016
year population
1950 215.002
1960 289,966
1970 371.273
1980 362,777
1990 407.472
2000 472,390
2010 526.103
2017 563,402

Source: UN


According to the result of the 8th census in 2012, the population consists of:

  • 37.4% (202,500 people) of African origin - who can be divided into two groups:
    • 21.7% (117,567 people) belong to the group of maroons , Dutch marrons. They are descendants of slaves who fled before 1863. The Surinamese rainforest offered them a perfect hiding place, and tribal associations arose in which many elements of West African culture, language and religion can still be found today. The two largest groups are the Ndyuka and Saramaccaner ,
    • 15.7% (84,933 people) describe themselves as Creoles , descendants of slaves formerly deported from Africa who had not fled into the interior of the country. After the abolition of slavery in 1863 and the expiry of the ten-year obligation to work that followed, 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,
  • 07.6% (40,985 people) belong to other groups, such as: Chinese , Arabs ( Syrian Christians , Palestinians and Lebanese ), Europeans and indigenous peoples ,
  • 00.6% (3,395 people) unknown.


The official language is Dutch . Suriname has also been a member of the Dutch Language Union (Nederlandse Taalunie) since 2005 . More than 500 words from the Surinamese-Dutch language usage have been included in the latest version (2005) of the dictionary, the " Green Booklet " (Groene Boekje) . According to a language study commissioned by the language union in connection with the entry into the country, 60% of Surinamans use Dutch as their mother tongue. It is used in administration, in parliament, in teaching, in commerce, in the media and in everyday life as a written language. The August 2004 census found that Dutch is colloquial in 46.6% of Suriname households; in the capital Paramaribo, the value is even higher at 66.4%.

In addition to Dutch, the Creole language Sranan-Tongo (formerly called Taki-Taki ), which is spoken by almost the entire population as a first or second language, the mother tongues of the various population groups and English are widespread. Sranan-Tongo, or Sranan for short , was originally the language of the Creoles, but is now also the lingua franca on the street. Other colloquial languages ​​are a compensatory dialect similar to Hindi , the Sarnami Hindi , Javanese , the Creole languages Saramaccaan and Aukaan , various indigenous languages , southern dialects of Chinese , the Syrian dialect of Arabic and Portuguese of the Sephardic Jews . In addition, in recent years there has been Brazilian Portuguese due to the large number of mostly illegally immigrated Brazilian gold prospectors.

The pidgin language Ndyuka-Trio Pidgin is now largely out of use (not to be confused with Ndyuka , which is a form of the aukaan and is often used synonymously). A total of 17 different languages ​​and idioms are spoken in Suriname.


Information according to religious affiliation (result of the 8th census 2012):

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

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


The area of ​​today's Suriname was approx. 3000 BC. First settled by Indians . The largest tribes were Arawak and Caribs ; the Arawak were the first to settle in the Suriname area, later they were subjugated by the Caribs. Both Arawak and Caribs settled on the coast and in the savannah; smaller Indian tribes, like 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 in more detail. Vicente Yáñez Pinzón explored the interior of the country in 1500.

A first permanent European settlement was established by the English in 1651 on behalf of Francis Willoughby . In 1667 the Netherlands took the colony. The peace of Breda , which was concluded in the same year, kept the status quo . The English kept the captured Dutch colony of Nieuw Amsterdam (later New York ) and the Dutch, for their part, kept the conquered Suriname. Therefore one speaks of a barter trade. After the Third Anglo-Dutch War , this state became official with the Peace of Westminster in 1674 . In 1683 the Sociëteit van Suriname was founded as the new owner. Until its abolition in 1795, this society, with its decision-makers, the changing directors in Amsterdam and the governors sent by them, had a decisive influence on the eventful history of Suriname. The neighboring areas of Berbice and Essequibo , which roughly make up today's Guyana , were also colonized by the Netherlands in the 17th century. Together with Suriname they formed the so-called Dutch Guiana . Agriculture flourished in Dutch Guiana in the first half of the 18th century ; with the help of African slaves , sugar cane , coffee , cotton and cocoa were grown. While the Netherlands was annexed to France , the British occupied Dutch Guiana from 1799–1802 and 1804–1815. The present day Suriname was given back after the defeat of Napoleon , the present day Guyana remained in the possession of Great Britain . The return was regulated in the British-Dutch Treaty of August 13, 1814. It contained a declaration that no Dutch citizen was allowed to be involved in the slave trade . In fact, the slave trade and importation of slaves in Suriname did not end until 1826.

abolition of slavery

Slavery was abolished on July 1, 1863 , but the former slaves still had to work as paid workers on the plantations for ten years (the period of the so-called state duty ) . With the abolition of slavery, the owners were paid by the Dutch state compensation (stat van tegemoetkoming) of 300 guilders per slave for the "loss". A total of around 35,000 slaves were released on July 1, 1863. In addition, the colonial administration had to assign surnames to the slave households for the first time. With the multitude of names, the most bizarre word creations came about.

Contract workers

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

Road to independence

Henck AE Arron , Beatrix and Johan Ferrier on November 25th 1975 in the Suriname Stadium

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

On December 9, 1948, universal suffrage was introduced; women were also eligible to vote. The number of MPs increased to 21.

In 1954, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were given the status of an equal and self-governing part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands . In 1973 local government began negotiations for independence with the Kingdom of the Netherlands and on November 25, 1975 Suriname gained independence. The active and passive right to vote for women was confirmed.

Period of military dictatorship

After a phase of political instability and increased dissatisfaction, especially among the military trained in the Netherlands and returned to Suriname in 1975, a coup , also known as the Sergeant Coup , took place on February 25, 1980 , carried out by 16 young NCOs led by Sergeant Desi Bouterse . The military deposed the government under Prime Minister Henck AE Arron . This coup was welcomed by a large part of the population, as it expected a decrease in corruption and an increase in living standards . The Dutch government also initially accepted the new rulers, who formed an eight-member National Military Council (NMR) chaired by Sergeant Badrissein Sital. Other members of the NMR were: Bouterse (on the way to the commander), Oberfeldwebel Roy Horb , Feldwebel Laurens Neede, Lieutenant Michel van Rey (the only one with officer training) and three other NCOs. The elections scheduled for March 27, 1980 were postponed, and Hendrick Chin A Sen , a physician who was not politically active, was surprisingly appointed head of government . After three members of the council, Chairman Sital, Chas Mijnals and Stanley Joeman, were disarmed and arrested at the instigation of Bouterse on charges of planning a counter-coup, a state of emergency was declared on August 13, 1980, the constitution repealed and the parliament dissolved. President Johan Henri Eliza Ferrier , who had been in office since 1975 , resigned under pressure from the military. The office of president was taken over by the previous head of government Hendrick R. Chin A Sen, 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 because of a disagreement with the National Military Council over the country's political and economic course, and Ramdat Misier , a lawyer and politician, took office.

The policy of the Netherlands changed towards Suriname when the military murdered fifteen members of the opposition 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, during which the city of Albina was almost completely destroyed. The official government troops were led by Desi Bouterse and the opposition by his former bodyguard Ronnie Brunswijk . The group around Brunswijk was also known as the "Jungle Commando". The war was sometimes waged with extreme cruelty. On November 29, 1986, a military unit attacked the village of Moiwana , burned down Ronnie Brunswijk's house and killed 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 had examined military intervention in Suriname in 1986 after the Moiwana massacre . The Hague wanted to overthrow Desi Bouterse's military regime. To this end, The Hague sent a request for help to the United States for the transport of 700 Dutch soldiers from Corps Mariniers . 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 began before the Krijgsraad , the war or military tribunal in Boxel, south of Paramaribo, of those accused of participating in the murder of 15 opposition members of the military dictatorship on December 8, 1982. Summons were formally served on a total of 25 people. Shortly before the end of the criminal case, an amnesty law extension was passed in parliament on April 4, 2012 with 28 votes from the governing coalition and 12 against from the opposition. This granted amnesty to the defendants, including the lead defendant, President Desi Bouterse, for the December 1982 murders .

Restoration of democracy

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

The non-profit, non-governmental organization Center for a Secure Free Society (SFS) called Suriname a “criminal state” in a report published in March 2017.


Seat of the National Assembly

Form of government

Suriname is a representative democracy with parliament-bound executive power, based on the Basic Law as amended in 1987.

The parliamentary elections take place every five years. Suriname has a unicameral system , the National Assembly ( De Nationale Assemblée , DNA). The DNA elects the President and Vice-President with a two-thirds majority . The president in turn appoints and dismisses the ministers. If there is no two-thirds majority for a candidate 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 parliamentarians) and members of the regional councils.

In the parliamentary elections on May 25, 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 from the Algemene Bevrijdings- en Ontwikkelingspartij (ABOP) as Vice-President of Suriname.

In the democracy index of The Economist magazine, Suriname ranks 49th out of 167 countries surveyed (2019).

Legal system and rights

Jurisdiction is carried out in the name of the Republic on the basis of applicable law, through independent judges and courts. Homosexuality in Suriname is legal from the age of 18.

Foreign policy

Border conflicts

After Suriname had enforced its maritime territorial claims against Guyana militarily 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 the Permanent Court of Arbitration to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in February 2004 (PCA), based in The Hague, to clarify the border dispute.

In consultation with the PCA, Presidents Ronald Venetiaan and Bharrat Jagdeo publicly announced on September 20, 2007 the final judgment of the five-member arbitral tribunal of September 17, 2007. The court of arbitration awarded 33,152 km² to Guyana and 17,871 km² to Suriname of the marine area rich in natural resources . 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 reserves of 1.2 trillion cubic meters are believed to be under the sea floor .

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

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


A large part of the population lives as migrant workers abroad, 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 coup d'état in 1980 or after the “December murders” of 1982. For the Surinamese community, this emigration meant considerable bloodletting, since a large part of the trained cadre either left the country or did not after completing their studies returned. This has had a significant negative impact in a number of areas ( talent drain ).

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

Education / health


Schooling 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 health expenditure was 4.2%. Doctor density was 45 per 100,000 population in the early 2000s. The infant mortality rate was 30 per 1,000 live births. The life expectancy of men was 66.4 years and that of women 73 years.


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

Until the autonomy, Surinamians as well as the so-called autochthonous Dutch were drafted into military service. Some then remained as professional soldiers in the colonial army , which in Suriname was called Troepenmacht in Suriname (TRIS). With the upcoming independence, most of the Dutch Surinamans decided to stay in the Dutch army. There was therefore the danger that the SKM, which was to be newly founded on November 25, 1975, would end up without a cadre and even without a commanding officer. In order to forestall this situation, it was decided to pay the Surinamese professional soldiers who would switch from the Dutch armed forces to the SKM with an allowance to be paid by the Netherlands in addition to their Surinamese wages. Only after this regulation could the military cadre required to form 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 take care of this group. The first conductor and military attache was Colonel (Colonel) Hans Valk appointed. Due to the agreed financial regulation, however, two groups of soldiers were formed within the SKM. One who had joined the SKM in Suriname and received no allowance with the same rank, and one who had a significantly higher income due to the allowance with the same position.

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

The armed forces of Suriname include around 2000 soldiers. In addition, the country has a small air unit, which u. a. has been equipped with two CASA C 212-200 transport aircraft manufactured in Spain since 1998/99 . She is stationed at the 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. bought for a total of around 13.4 million US dollars . (HAL) were delivered.

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

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

Administrative structure

Political map of Suriname, 1991. In the south, the disputed areas between Suriname, Guyana and French Guyana are shown in light green.
Map from the Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch West-Indië (1914–1917)

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

(total: 541,638 inhabitants in Suriname; Census 2012)

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


In addition to the capital Paramaribo , only the border towns Albina and Nieuw Nickerie and Lelydorp are of some importance.



At the time of colonization, Suriname was probably the most profitable plantation colony in the Netherlands; sugar in particular was exported. Mariënburg near Paramaribo was the last of the previously operated sugar mills (sugar cane plantations) . Only ruins remain of this. 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 in 2016 was 6,333 US dollars, so the level of prosperity was roughly comparable to that of Peru and in the middle of the range of the states of Latin America.

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

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

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 rating. The outlook for the Surinamese economy is described in the report as favorable. A solid economic foundation, low debt and cheap basic income have protected the country from the ongoing global economic crisis. According to the IMF report, the economy grew by 4.5% in 2010. This growth was mainly due to the increased export of raw materials and local construction activities.

On July 10, 2012, Fitch Ratings upgraded Suriname's credit rating from B + to BB. The increase is justified u. a. with continued economic growth and flexible response in dealing with domestic and foreign shocks, with an average economic growth of 4.4% in 2011 and an estimated 2012 growth of 4.9% in 2013. These numbers brought the country up a five-year average well above the 3.5% 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 for the downgrade is the deteriorating economy of the country and its debt burden. The prospects are also rated negatively.

Due to the sharp rise in national debt, Fitch Ratings downgraded Suriname's creditworthiness from B− to CCC on January 16, 2020.

The credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s also downgraded Suriname from B to CCC + on April 1, 2020. The downgrade is based on the long-term national debt and unsecured 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 funding do not improve.

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

After Fitch Ratings again downgraded Suriname's credit rating from CCC to C on July 2, Moody's followed suit on July 6, 2020 with the downgrade from B3 to Caa3 due to the high national debt and 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 the total workforce worked in agriculture, 19.5% in industry and 69.3% in the service sector. The total number of employees was estimated at 144,000 for 2014.

According to the Algemeen Bureau voor de Statistiek (Office for Statistics in Suriname), the annual inflation rate in March 2017 was a high 41.8%. The petrol price increase that took place at the end of March 2017 had no impact on this comparison.

After the Corruption Perception Index ( Corruption Perceptions Index ) of Transparency International was Suriname 2019 from 180 countries together with Hungary, Romania, and South Africa on the 70th place, with 44 out of a maximum 100 points.

Key figures

All GDP values ​​are given in US dollars ( purchasing power parity ).

year 1990 1995 2000 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017
(purchasing power parity)
2.71 billion 2.78 billion 3.63 billion 5.31 billion 5.79 billion 6.24 billion 6.63 billion 6.88 billion 7.33 billion 7.91 billion 8.28 billion 8.66 billion 8.84 billion 8.7 billion 8.36 billion 8.51 billion
GDP per capita
(purchasing power parity)
6,644 6,348 7,783 10,647 11,476 12,243 12,823 13,130 13,792 14,658 15,282 15,734 15,812 15,334 14,539 14,606
GDP growth
−1.5% 11.3% −0.1% 4.9% 5.8% 5.1% 4.1% 3.0% 5.2% 5.8% 2.7% 2.9% 0.3% −2.6% −5.1% 0.0%
(in percent)
21.8% 24.2% 29.6% 14.0% 11.3% 6.4% 14.7% −0.3% 6.9% 17.7% 5.0% 1.9% 3.4% 6.9% 55.5% 22%
Public debt
(as a percentage of GDP)
78% 17% 38% 29% 24% 17% 16% 16% 18% 20% 21% 30% 26% 43% 76% 72%

Economic relations with Germany

According to figures from the Federal Statistical Office , German foreign trade with Suriname in 2011 had a volume of EUR 26.5 million. Of this, EUR 5.1 million was imported and EUR 21.4 million was exported. In terms of exports, Suriname was ranked 165th out of 234 countries.

In 2012 the foreign trade balance with the trading partner Suriname increased to 35.1 million EUR. Of this, EUR 12.4 million was imported and EUR 22.7 million was exported. The country ranking for exports remained unchanged compared to 2011.

For 2019, German foreign trade with Suriname amounted to EUR 27.5 million. Of this, EUR 1.5 million was imported and EUR 26 million was exported.

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, the production for the war industry increased sharply and Suriname had a share of more than 25% of the global bauxite production in 1950.

Both BHP Billiton in 2008 and Alcoa with their daughter Suralco in 2015 ended their activities in Suriname. Since 2015, bauxite has not been mined or processed in Suriname.


In December 1980 the Surinamese State Oil Company (Staatsolie Maatschappij Suriname NV) was founded. In cooperation with Gulf Oil , oil production began in February 1982 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 also has an oil refinery . In order to develop and promote the oil reserves suspected off the Surinamese coast, in 2004 u. a. Investment and participation agreements concluded with Repsol YPF . In June 2013, RWE Dea also entered license Block 52 off the coast of Suriname via a “farm-in agreement”.

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

In June 2015, State Film Director Rudolf Elias signed a production participation agreement with the Apache Corporation for the offshore block 58 off the Surinamese coast. After Apache had carried out the first successful wells in December 2019, it concluded a joint venture with Total SA to further finance the project.In January 2020, the successful wells and the oil and gas discoveries 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 gold price , this raw material is becoming an increasingly important source of income. The largest gold producer in Suriname is the Canadian Iamgold Corporation . Iamgold has been producing in the Brokopondo district in the Rosebel Gold Mine , which is an open-cut 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 increased significantly. Iamgold announced in its annual report for 2010 that a total of 12,300 kilograms of gold were mined in Brokopondo. The company also announced that it 484 in 2010 dollars has cost a troy ounce (troy ounce) to produce 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. Instead of the previous 95/5, the revenue share is now 70% Iamgold and Suriname 30%. The term of the contract is 15 years. In 2012, the Rosebel mine produced 382,000 troy ounces of gold at a cost of production of $ 671 per ounce and was estimated to be minable for an additional 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. Suriname's tourism revenues were US $ 61 million in 2010 and 2011, according to this report .

According to the military police , which carry out passport and border controls in Suriname, a total of 1170 people of German nationality arrived between December 1, 2016 and December 1, 2017.

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

State budget

The state budget included expenditures in 2016 of the equivalent of 664 million US dollars, which were income equivalent to 470 million US Dollar against. This results in a budget deficit of 5.4% of GDP .
The national debt amounted to 2005 660 million US dollars or 37.0% of GDP.

The share of government expenditure (in% of GDP) in the following areas was:



Suriname has a national airline, Surinam Airways , and two airports, the Paramaribo / Zanderij international airport near the village of Zanderij with around 210,000 passengers (2011) and the small Zorg en Hoop airport in Paramaribo. From here, the impassable villages in the bushland - 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 no longer has a functioning railway connection since the Lawabahn was shut down in 1987.

Road network

The road network of Paramaribo 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 smelter ) and further to the 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 paved. The remaining road connections are sand and gravel roads. There is left-hand traffic in Suriname .

Water transport

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

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

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

Media, communication

In Suriname, licenses have been issued to 32 radio and 19 television stations. By far the largest number of broadcasters are based in Paramaribo (21 radio and 16 television stations). The broadcasts of Radio Apintie 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 stream on the Internet.

Six daily and four weekly newspapers appear, including two small denominational papers. The circulation per newspaper varies between around 8,000 and 60 copies.

Statistically, 42.3 people per 100 inhabitants have an Internet connection (as of 2016).

Freedom of the press in international comparison

In terms of press freedom , Suriname ranks 20th out of 180 countries in the world in 2019, according to the ranking of Reporters Without Borders .



The most popular sport in Suriname is organized by the Surinaamse Voetbal Bond (SVB). Well-known former Dutch national players such as Edgar Davids , Ruud Gullit , Patrick Kluivert , Frank Rijkaard , Clarence Seedorf , Gerald Vanenburg and - currently - Ryan Babel , Luciano Narsingh , Ricardo Kishna , Quincy Promes , Georginio Wijnaldum , Jeremain Lens , Eljero Elia , Jaïro Riedewald , Nigel de Jong , Jeffrey Bruma , Jean-Paul Boëtius and Virgil van Dijk have their roots in Suriname.

Olympic games

The Surinaams Olympic Comité was admitted to the International Olympic Committee in 1959 .

See also


  • Eveline Bakker: Divorced from Suriname. Walburg Pers, Zutphen 1993, ISBN 90-6011-837-5 .
  • CFA Bruijning and J. Voorhoeve (main editors): Encyclopedie van Suriname . Elsevier , Amsterdam a. Brussel 1977, ISBN 90-10-01842-3 .
  • Hans Buddingh ': Geschiedenis van Suriname . Het Spectrum, Utrecht 2000 (3rd edition), ISBN 90-274-6762-5 .
  • Edward M. Dew: The difficult flowering of Suriname: Ethnicity and politics in a plural society. Vaco Uitgeversmaatschappij, Paramaribo 1996 (2nd edition), ISBN 99914-0-052-4 .
  • Hein Eersel: Taal en mensen in de Surinaamse samenleving. Verzamelde artikelen over taal, divorced and identiteit 1985–2001. Wetenschappelijke Informatie Foundation , Paramaribo 2002, ISBN 99914-620-2-3 .
  • August Kappler : Living and traveling in the tropical rainforest, experiences and experiences during a 43 year stay in Dutch Guyana / Surinam 1836–1879 . Edited and introduced by Lars Martin Hoffmann; Edition Erdmann in the Marixverlag GmbH, Wiesbaden 2008, ISBN 978-3-86539-801-7 [New edition of the edition: Holländisch-Guiana; Experiences and experiences during a 43 year stay in the colony of Surinam . Commissions-Verlag by W. Kohlhammer, Stuttgart 1881].
  • Michiel van Kempen: A divorced van de Surinaamse literatuur. De Geus, Breda 2003 (2 volumes), ISBN 90-445-0277-8 .
  • Rudolf van Lier: Seed leaving in a grensgebied. A sociaal-historical study of Suriname. Van Loghum Slaterus, Deventer 1971 (2nd edition), ISBN 90-6001-154-6 [the original edition was published in 1949 in 's-Gravenhage by Martinus Nijhoff].
  • C. Temminck-Groll and Arthur Tjin-A-Djie: De architectuur van Suriname 1667–1930 . Walburg Pers, Zutphen 1973, ISBN 90-6011-451-5 .

Web links

Commons : Suriname  - Collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Suriname  - explanations of meanings, origins of words, synonyms, translations
Wikimedia Atlas: Suriname  - geographical and historical maps
Wikisource: Suriname  - Sources and full texts

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Coordinates: 4 °  N , 56 °  W