An often overlooked country, Surinam is nonetheless filled with beautiful tropical wilderness, rare wildlife and a fascinating culture.
The 17th-century capital, Paramaribo, with its attractive colonial architecture, is a good starting point for any visitor. However, Surinam’s main attraction is its tropical rainforest, which covers nearly 80% of the country and is home to a huge variety of wildlife.
Surinam is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean, the Marowijne River, French Guiana and Brazil. By the time the Spanish arrived in the late 15th century, the Surinam (the original inhabitants of Surinam) had been driven out by other Amerindian groups. Fierce resistance to colonization deterred most would-be occupiers from Europe, although the territory formally changed hands many times between the Dutch, English and French, before finally being confirmed as a Dutch possession by the terms of the 1815 Treaty of Vienna. In 1954, Surinam, with the Netherlands Antilles, became an autonomous region within the Kingdom of The Netherlands. Full independence was achieved in 1975.
Tropical; moderated by trade winds; yearly rain average 2200 mm. There are 2 dry seasons (February to March, August to November) and 2 rainy seasons (December to January, April to August). November is the generally the hottest month.
Mostly rolling hills, rising towards maximum of around 1000 meters in the south; narrow coastal plain with mangrove swamps. Mostly tropical rain forest; great diversity of flora and fauna that is in excellent condition, though is increasingly threatened by new development.
FLAG: A yellow star is at the center of five stripes: a broad red band in the middle, two white bands, and a green stripe at the top and bottom.
ANTHEM: The Surinaams Volkslied (National Anthem) begins “God zij met ons Suriname” (“God be with our Suriname”).
MONETARY UNIT: The Suriname guilder (sf) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents, and notes of 5, 10, 25, 100, and 500 guilders. sf1 = $0.00037 (or $1 = sf2700) as of 2005.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is used.
HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Revolution Day, 25 February; Labor Day, 1 May; National Union Day, 1 July; Independence Day, 25 November; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Holi Phagwah, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and ‘Id al-Fitr.
TIME: 8:30 am = noon GMT.