The British settled the Suriname river around 1650 and traded it to the Dutch for Nieuw Amsterdam (New York) by the treaty of Breda in 1667. However in their favour, that treaty did not prevent the British from taking over Suriname in 1799 and holding it until the treaty of Paris returned it to the Netherlands in 1818. Suriname became self governing in 1954, fully independent 20 years later and suffered a military dictatorship from 1980 to 1987. Bauxite, controlled by subsidiaries of Alcoa and Royal Dutch Shell, provides over 70% of export revenues.
Suriname is also multi cultural with 38% East Indians, 31% creole (European - African), 15% Indonesians, 10% Bush Negroes (retribalised ex-slaves) and some Chinese and Amerindians. The official language is Dutch but Surinamese (a form of Creole) is used by all and English is widely spoken. Cultural diversity appeared to be more visible and freely expressed here than in neighbouring Guyana.
I enjoyed Paramaribo. There was a lot to see and a great variety of exotic food to try, the people were friendly and I felt safer than in Georgetown.
|Lonely Planet CIA|
Paramaribo on the Suriname River is an attractive city of 200 000 and you can go anywhere without risk of being mugged (at least in the daytime).
Rivers provide the principal mode of transport in the three Guyanas because their road systems are rather primitive.
The elegant houses on Waterkrant Straat facing the Suriname River are still well taken care of by the Surinamese elite that has replaced the colonial Dutch who built them in the last century.
People's Palace (President's Residence), leftist vocabulary is still fashionable here but the government respects private property and foreign investments.
High Court, a legacy of the Dutch colonial period.
With friends at the Torarica Hotel, Harry, Yvonne Sheepers, Harry's wife, yours truly and Wim Rijkers.
YWCA on Heeren Straat where I had a nice room for 15 US$ a night.
Typical house and small church on the corner of Wagenweg Straat and Malebatrum Straat.
Busy corner near the ferry dock.
The Dutch Reformed Church on Kerkplein where Walther Loff used to play more than 50 years ago... (If you don't know who Walther Loff is, ask him at - email@example.com - ).
Synagogue on Heeren Straat.
Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Mosque near the Synagogue.
Shri Satnarain Mandir on the road to the airport.
Arische Hindu Temple with attendant school on the road to the airport.
Radha Krishna Mandir on the road to the airport.