45 Informative Facts About Suriname

Last updated on November 2nd, 2017

Suriname, officially known as the Republic of Suriname, is a South American country. Let us learn more about this beautiful country with these 45 facts that discuss its history, people, economy, government and more.

#1. It was formerly known as Dutch Guiana.

#2. Suriname has a territorial dispute with Guyana and French Guiana.

#3. Suriname is the smallest country in South America while Brazil is the largest of all. Suriname is also the least populous country in South America.

#4. Chicken with rice is the national dish of Suriname.

#5. Suriname is also spelled as “Surinam”. Officially, the spelling “Surinam” was changed to “Suriname” in January 1978.

#6. Suriname has a river called the “Suriname River “- also known as the Coppename. The Suriname River is 480 Km long.

#7. The Courantyne and the Maroni are other two major rivers of the country. All these rivers flow northward toward the Atlantic.

#8. The central and southeastern parts of the country receive the highest rainfall.

#9. There are close to 350 species of fish in the coastal and inland waters of the country.

Flag of Suriname

flag of Suriname
The National Flag of Suriname. Image credit – CIA.

#10. Between 1667 and 1954, Suriname was a Dutch colony.

#11. In 1954 Suriname, became one of the constituent countries of the Netherlands until November 1975, when it became an independent state.

#12. Suriname is also the only territory outside Europe where Dutch is spoken by a majority of the population. Dutch is spoken by around 24 million people as a first language and it is the third most spoken West Germanic language after English and German. It is also spoken in the Netherlands, Belgium, Aruba, and the Dutch Antilles.

#13. Despite Suriname’s low population, the country has a diverse population which comprises of people coming from various ethnicities, religions and linguistic groups.

#14. Indigenous people are estimated to have inhabited the region dating back to 3000 B.C.

#15. The name Suriname is considered to be a derivative from a “Taino” indigenous people called “Surinen”. These people inhabited the region at the time of the European contact.

Also read: 146 facts about Brazil

#16. There are two UNESCO Heritage sites in Suriname. Cultural (1): Historic Inner City of Paramaribo (2002); Natural (1): Central Suriname Nature Reserve (2000).

#17. Juliana Top is the highest mountain in Suriname. It is 1,286 m above sea level.

#18. The area occupied by Suriname is slightly larger than the state of Georgia.

#19. Suriname is famous for its water lilies and orchids.

#20 Suriname is one of the top producers of Bauxite in the world.

#21. Suriname has one of the most cosmopolitan populations in the world.

#22. Suriname also has one of the largest protected areas of rainforest in the world – the central Suriname Nature Reserve. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The rainforest covers the southern four-fifths of the country.

#23. Majority of the country’s area, about nine-tenths is covered with heterogeneous forest that contains more than 1000 species of trees.

#24. The tapir is the largest land mammal in Suriname.

#25. Indians are the original inhabitants of Suriname. However, today their population is reduced to just a fraction in the country.

#26. The Netherlands – Suriname’s former colonial ruler is home to some 350,000 people of Surinamese descent.

#27. Almost 45% of the country’s population is between the age group 25-54 years.

#28. Suriname has a population growth rate of 1% while Lebanon has that of 9.7%.

#29. Between 1973 and 1980, a large portion of the country’s population left and immigrated to the Netherlands, after the announcement of the country’s independence. A large chunk of these people were professionals and skilled workers. However, during the early 21st century, many of the retired workers returned to Suriname.

#30. Suriname is also a member of the Caribbean community.

#31. The country has a very little amount of arable land, under 1% of the total land area. And only half of this land is under cultivation.

#32. Rice is the staple food of Suriname and it is also one of the constituents of its national dish – chicken with rice.

#33. Rice is also planted in almost half of its cultivated land. And the country takes two rice harvests every year.

#34. Owing to the 90% of the country being under forests, there is plenty of timber resources.

#35. Suriname also has plenty of deposits of precious metals including Gold.

Map of Suriname

#36. Rivers and canals are an important mode of transport in the country as the roads are not much developed.

#37. Suriname is divided into districts and sub-districts for the ease of government and control.

#38. The education system in the country is based on that of the Netherlands and Dutch is the preferred language of instruction in the schools. Education is compulsory for children up to age 12.

#39. Football, basketball, and volleyball are the country’s most popular sports. Unfortunately, Suriname does not have any official sports team associated with any of these sports.

#40. Fishing and hunting are quite popular in Suriname.

#41. “De Ware Tijd” and “De West” are two major independent newspapers that are printed in Dutch.

#42. In 1863, African slavery was abolished in Suriname and the country started importing workers from India and Java (an island of Indonesia).

#43. The northern coastal strip of the country is densely populated as compared to the rest of the country.

#44. The Brokopondo Reservoir, officially named Professor Doctor Ingenieur W. J. van Blommestein Meer, and also called the Brokopondostuwmeer, is a large reservoir in Suriname. It is one of the largest reservoirs in the world, flooding nearly one percent of the country.

#45. Water lilies, hibiscus, orchids, bougainvillea, and oleanders are some of the most abundant varieties of flowers that grow in the country.

Suriname – country at a glance

Independence25 November 1975 (from the Netherlands)
Capital CityParamaribo
(5°50′N 55°10′W)
Largest CityParamaribo
(5°50′N 55°10′W)
Total area163,820 sq km
Population591,919 (July 2017 est.)
DemonymSurinamese
PresidentDési Bouterse
Vice PresidentAshwin Adhin
Official LanguageDutch
National Anthem"God zij met ons Suriname!" (God Be With Our Suriname)
Religion48.4% Christian
22.3% Hindu
13.9% Muslim
1.8% Winti
0.8% Kebatinan
2.1% other
7.5% none
3.2% not stated
BordersGuyana, French Guiana and Brazil
CurrencySurinamese dollar (SRD)
Suffrage18 years of age; universal
Literacy rate95.6%
Life Expectancy72.2 Years (2016 estimate)
Industriesbauxite and gold mining, alumina production; oil, lumbering, food processing, fishing
Exports$1.699 billion (2016 est.)
alumina, gold, crude oil, lumber, shrimp and fish, rice, bananas
Imports$1.914 billion (2016 est.)
capital equipment, petroleum, foodstuffs, cotton, consumer goods
GDP - per capita (PPP)$14,000 (2016 est.)
Birth rate15.8 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Death rate6.1 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
Sex ratio1.05 male(s)/female
Government typepresidential republic
National symbol(s)royal palm, faya lobi (flower)
National holidayIndependence Day, 25 November (1975)
National colorsgreen, white, red, yellow
Terrainmostly rolling hills; narrow coastal plain with swamps
Climatetropical; moderated by trade winds
Agricultural land0.5%
Natural resourcestimber, hydropower, fish, kaolin, shrimp, bauxite, gold, and small amounts of nickel, copper, platinum, iron ore
Time ZoneSRT (UTC-3)
Internet country code.sr
Calling Code+597
Drives on theLeft
Data sourcesCIA, Wikipedia
Table last updatedOctober 3, 2017

References:

  • https://www.britannica.com/place/Suriname
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suriname
  • http://www.everyculture.com/Sa-Th/Suriname.html