Official Name: Republic of Suriname
Currency: Surinamese dollar
Language: (offisial) Dutch
Area: 163,821 sq km
Landforms: Situated on the Guiana Shield, the country can be divided into two main geographic regions.
The northern, lowland coastal area (roughly above the line Albina-Paranam-Wageningen) and the southern
part, which consists of tropical rainforest and sparsely inhabited savanna along the border with Brazil,
covering about 80% of Suriname's land surface.
Suriname -- History --
The history of Suriname dates from 3000 BC, when Native Americans first inhabited the area.
Present-day Suriname was the home to many distinct indigenous cultures. The first attempts to settle the
area by Europeans was in 1630, when English settlers led by Captain Marshall attempted to found a colony.
In the 17th century there are few attempts from England and the Nederlands to colonise present-day
Suriname. At the end the Dutch succeeded in establishing stable control.
In 1954, the Dutch placed Suriname under a system of limited self-government, with the Netherlands
retaining control of defense and foreign affairs. In 1973, the local government, led by the NPK started
negotiations with the Dutch government leading towards full independence, which was granted on 25
Elections were held in 1987 and a new constitution was adopted.
Suriname -- Economy --
The economy of Suriname is dominated by the bauxite industry, which accounts for more
than 15% of GDP and 70% of export earnings. Other main export products include rice, bananas and shrimp.
About a quarter of the people work in the agricultural sector. The Surinamese economy is very dependent
on commerce, its main trade partners being the Netherlands, the United States, Canada and Caribbean
By the end of 1997, the allocation of new Dutch development funds was frozen as Surinamese Government
relations with the Netherlands deteriorated. Economic growth slowed in 1998, with decline in the mining,
construction, and utility sectors. Rampant government expenditures, poor tax collection, a bloated civil
service, and reduced foreign aid in 1999 contributed to the fiscal deficit, estimated at 11% of GDP. The
government sought to cover this deficit through monetary expansion, which led to a dramatic increase in
Suriname -- Culture --
Owing to the country's multicultural heritage, Suriname celebrates a variety of distinct ethnic and
religious festivals. Such as:January 1 - New Year's Day; May 1 - Labour Day; July 1 - Keti Koti,
Emancipation Day (end of slavery); November 25 - Independence Day; December 5 - Children's day;
December 25 - Christmas Day; December 26 - Second Christmas Day.
There are several Hindu and Islamic
national holidays like Divali (deepavali), Eid ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-adha.
There are several holidays
which are unique to Suriname. These include the Indian and Chinese arrival days.
Education is compulsory until the age of 12. Literacy is very common, particularly among males.
The university of the country is the Anton de Kom University of Suriname.
Suriname joined UNESCO on 16 July 1976. Suriname has two sites on the World Heritage List. The Historic
Inner City of the capital Paramaribo, a former Dutch colonial town illustrating the gradual fusion of
Dutch architecture with local tradition, was inscribed in 2002. The Central Suriname Nature Reserve,
inscribed in 2000, comprises 1.6 million hectares of primary tropical forest.
Suriname -- Political system, law and government --
The Republic of Suriname is a constitutional democracy based on the 1987 constitution. The legislative
branch of government consists of a 51-member unicameral National Assembly, simultaneously and popularly
elected for a five-year term.
The president is also elected for a five-year term. As head of government, the president appoints a
16-minister cabinet. There is no constitutional provision for removal or replacement of the president
unless he resigns.
The judiciary is headed by the Court of Justice (Supreme Court). This court supervises the magistrate
courts. Members are appointed for life by the president in consultation with the National Assembly.
The country is divided into 10 administrative districts, each headed by a district commissioner
appointed by the president.