"ATLC's roots in Suriname" Top 5 Page for this destination Suriname by ATLC

Suriname Travel Guide: 369 reviews and 1,160 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 and Cons
  • 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
  • Last visit to Suriname: Jul 1980
  • Intro Updated May 11, 2003
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Reviews (27)

Comments (128)

  • BruceDunning's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2013 at 2:13 PM

    I am reading about Dino Boutourese and his "alleged" involvement with drugs, guns, and terrrorism, and then find out he and dad both have a past of illegal drug running. What a story to read and then they control the wonderful country. Your visit and tips are good.

  • Anniko's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2013 at 4:41 AM

    Thank you for sharing the story of Suriname, and your origins. I've learnt something new. I was born in Australia, where we have a multi-cultural society, due to years of immigration, that continues today. My mother was born in Japan, and my father in Hungary. The only time I don't feel 100 percent Australian is when somebody asks me where I came from. My looks can mislead people into assuming my birthplace is overseas.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Sep 15, 2010 at 2:12 PM

    Interesting and sympathetic tips on your old home country! It's funny that two people joined VirtualTourist for the sole purpose of commenting on your outhouse tip. I have just checked their pages and it is true that they have had no activity since then.

  • iwys's Profile Photo
    Nov 17, 2008 at 11:51 PM

    Very interesting page and tips. It seems so different to the rest of South America.

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Nov 13, 2008 at 11:48 AM

    Thanks for your description of your warm memories! Good for you, Anke-Thea!

  • DSwede's Profile Photo
    Sep 30, 2008 at 6:00 AM

    Thanks for visiting my pages! You come from a wonderful place! Suriname is a place I must go back to!

  • goutammitra's Profile Photo
    Aug 4, 2008 at 7:07 PM

    It was about the same time labours ( Slaves?) were taken to Suriname, West Indies and Maurititus. people from Bihar/ U P ( The Bhojpuri speaking) went there. They were cheated by the people who took them. Later some of them even became Prime Ministers!

  • apekovic's Profile Photo
    Feb 2, 2008 at 1:46 AM

    Fantastic story of Suriname and your life!

  • Cruiseone2003's Profile Photo
    Dec 13, 2007 at 4:53 PM

    As a child (late 60's, early 70's) we'd go to my grandparents house in Northern New Mexico, they had an outhouse too, I can't say they were fond memories but it sure made life interesting!

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Oct 11, 2007 at 7:44 PM

    Must make it to the northern reaches of South America - as spicy a mix of cultures as of the food, just the sort of place I love to travel to. Nice looking back with you. leyle

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