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The Republic of Suriname, formerly Dutch Guyana, is
located on the north coast of South America. It has an
area of 163,465 km², which is slightly more than twice
the size of the German state of Bavaria. Two regions are
not included in the area information, one in the
southeast on the border with French Guiana and one in
the southwest on the border with Guyana, the ownership
of which is controversial between the neighboring
countries. In addition to the two national borders with
French Guiana and the Republic of Guyana, Suriname has
another country border with Brazil in the south. The
entire northern border of the country is occupied by the
Atlantic Ocean. The capital is Paramaribo with around
The former Dutch colony consists of four landscape
regions, which consist of a coastal zone, plain, hills
and mountains from north to south. The narrow coastal
zone has isolated mangrove forests, sand banks and
swamps. Further to the south is a plain, which was
formed from sand and clay from the Amazon estuary and
whose fertile soil is used as the main growing area in
the country. Further to the south is a hilly region,
partly based on sand sediment and rich in quartz. The
fourth landscape region, which consists of a massif, the
southern and central areas of which are completely
covered with rainforest, occupies over three quarters of
the country's area. Within this massif, the highest
mountain in the country rises in the Wilhelmina
Mountains, the Julianatop at 1 280 m. The largest lake
in Suriname is the Blommestein lake, which is dammed up
at Afobaka and feeds from the Suriname river. Other
important rivers are Courantyne, Coppename and Maroni,
which, like the Suriname, flow northwards into the
The climate in Suriname is tropical and shows very
little temperature difference during the year. The
average monthly temperature in the capital Paramaribo
fluctuates between 26 ˇăC in January and 27 ˇăC in July.
Two rainy seasons, a large one in summer and a shorter
one in winter, cause annual rainfall to increase from
around 1,500 mm on the coast to 2,500 mm inland. The air
humidity is consistently high all year round.
Flora and fauna
About 90% of the country is covered by tropical
rainforest. The rainforest has more than 1,000 tree
species and its biodiversity in terms of flora and fauna
has so far been only partially explored. The coastal
habitats are better researched, where in addition to the
predominant mangrove vegetation, more than 4,000 plant
species can be found, including numerous fern herbs,
mosses and herbs. Between the rainforest in the north
and the coastal region in the south there is a narrow
strip, which consists of natural savannah with
appropriate grasses and isolated bushes. Another savanna
area is in the rain shadow of the Wilhelmina Mountains
in the south of the country.
The fauna of Suriname is made up of around 150
different animal species. The largest mammal living in
the wild is the tapir, other mammals that live in the
rainforest and the mountain region include monkeys, wild
boars, deer, llamas, jaguars, ocelots, armadillos and
anteaters. In addition to an alligator species (caiman),
there are numerous iguanas and giant snakes on reptiles.
Sea turtles live on the country's coasts. The bird life
is very rich in species, ornithologists include about
650 bird species, including vultures and various
parrots. The sea and inland water show a comparable
biodiversity with an estimated 350 fish species.
Due to the eventful history, the structure of the
population, which has a total of only around 440,000
people, is very heterogeneous: 37% of the population,
and thus a relative majority, are Surinamese
("Hindustani") descendants from India. At 31%, creoles
represent an almost equally large part of the
population. There are also Indonesians (14%), blacks
(9%) and Indians (3%). Almost 40% of the population
belong to the Christian faith, 27% are Hindus, 19%
Muslim. The rest of Suriname often practice animistic
The majority of the Surinamese live in the coastal
region, more than half of them in the country's capital,
Paramaribo. After independence in 1975, about half of
those born in the country emigrated to the Netherlands,
which contributed to the country's economic and domestic
The official language is Dutch, English is also
widely spoken. Another specialty is the Creole language
Taki-Taki, which is spoken by many younger citizens and
of course by the Creoles themselves and is widely used
as a lingua franca.
The average life expectancy in Suriname is 70 years;
the population grows only 0.6% percent per year due to
the relatively low birth rate and emigration. According to COUNTRYAAH, 93% of Surinamans over the age of 15 can read and write.
According to the constitution of 1987, Suriname is a
presidential republic with a multi-party system, the
legal system of which is based on that of the
Netherlands and France. The President, who was elected
by Parliament for five years (Desir¨¦ Bouterse since
August 2010), holds an outstanding position in the
political system due to his extensive executive powers.
At his side is a 14-member so-called State Council,
which also acts as a supervisory and advisory body. The
51 members of the National Assembly elected by the
people for five years each have a legislative function.
The country is divided into nine districts and one
The gross domestic product (GDP) shows a steady
growth of over 4% annually. Unemployment is below 10%.
Suriname got its high inflation under control by
devaluing and pegging the Suriname dollar to the US
dollar in early 2011.
Agriculture, which only accounts for 9% of the gross
domestic product (GDP), is concentrated on the fertile
coastal area. Rice, bananas and nutmeg are the main
crops, some of which are exported and some of which are
consumed in the country. The fact that nine tenths of
the country is overgrown with tropical wood gives the
timber industry a solid foundation.
The dominant industrial sector (36% of GDP) is
largely based on the mining of bauxite in the mines of
the eastern hills. It accounts for almost three quarters
of export earnings. The processing of aluminum has taken
place in the country since an appropriately dimensioned
power plant was built to generate the necessary energy.
Gold mining and oil production are also important.
The country's most important trading partners have
historically always been the Netherlands; In recent
years, however, imports (fuel, food, cotton and consumer
goods) have mainly come from the United States. Exports
(bauxite, aluminum, gold, crude oil) are delivered to
Norway, the USA and France.
Tourism is a growing sector.
The main port is Paramaribo; The country's
international airport is located in Zanderij, about 50
kilometers from the capital.
The currency is the Suriname dollar (= 100 cents).