"ATLC's roots in Suriname" Top 5 Page for this destination Suriname by ATLC
Suriname Travel Guide: 362 reviews and 1,130 photos
My birth country! Last visit just after the revolution on Febr. 25th 1980, and 5 years after independance from The Netherlands (1975).
Can you believe this? It's true: In winter 2000 I visited Romania and stayed with Romanian people in their apartment. My host was an engineer and had just returned from six months in India. There he met someone from Suriname who gave him the tshirt that I am wearing on this photo. Because he gave it to me!
Anyway, lots of my family still live in Suriname. Most of the population lives in The Netherlands, including 3 of my sisters, my aunt and her family.
In Suriname live many cultures and races. Chinese, Creole, Hindi, Indonesian, native Indian, Dutch...
All these people speak their own language although everyone also speaks Sranantongo (a peculiar mixture of all those languages) and Dutch.
Suriname was a Dutch colony. At first slaves were brought in from Africa (hence the Creole part of the population). The native Indians withdrew into the inland jungle.
At some point in the late 1800s, workers were needed and the Dutch struck up an accord with the British to bring people from India over to work on the sugar plantations in Suriname (Marienburg). But the Hindu proved to be too much trouble so the Dutch colonists decided to bring over people from Java (Indonesia). The first 94 Javanese set foot in Suriname in August 1890. They were housed and put to work on the Marienburg plantation (see travelogue Books). These people were not slaves but contract workers although there wasn't much difference really.
So unfortunately I cannot fantasize about descending from some Indonesian prince because naturally the poor people signed up for work in Suriname :-) I doubt that any of them had any idea where they were going, let alone that they would never return.
The people of Suriname are an easy going lot. Of course there are cultural and political differences. But mostly the cultures blend. There are many mixed families, even my own. It is surprising that even after more than 100 years, the cultures remain separate with each race keeping their own traditions and religions and yet they blend too into one Surinamese cultural diversity which has also been brought to The Netherlands and is now also firmly embedded in Dutch culture.
My finest memories are of the huge parties these people can throw at the occassion of weddings, christenings or circumcisions or any other reason to celebrate.
Cola-rum is THE drink and the parties go on until early morning. For days the women will be cooking because every guest will get a full meal at any party.
Suriname has the oldest Jewish settlement on the South American continent called Jodensavannah.
There's a huge dam called Afobakka which made many miles of country around unsuitable for living.
Well then, I am no walking & talking guide book. This is what I know by heart and quite enough for the time being :-)
Don't skip the travelogues !
My brother (Gerlof) and me (left).
My brother was a native Indian from the original people of Suriname. I am Javanese (which is Indonesian originally). Our age difference was 6 1/2 months.
- Pros:Cultural diversity, relaxed people, wonderful weather, safe
- Cons:Quite poor, not very touristy (this is not a con at all!)
- In a nutshell:Very interesting culture and social mix, great natural charm
This is a chicken soup with rice, shredded fried chicken meat, parsley, crunchy fried onion (the kind you put on hot... more travel advice
Jodensavanne (Jews’ Savannah) once the blooming centre of Jewish life in Suriname. Photo (taken from website)... more travel advice
ATLC's Related Pages
Suriname Travel Guide
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- "6 months Beautiful Surinam"
- "ATLC's roots in Suriname"
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- "A Trip to my neighbouring Country SURINAME"
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