Surinamese people

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Surinamese people
Jan ernst matzeliger.gifJohan Ferrier (1955).jpg
C-Seedorf.jpgFareisa Joemmanbaks.jpg
Total population
Circa 900,000
Regions with significant populations

 Suriname: 500,000

 Netherlands: 350,000
Dutch, Sranan Tongo
Christianity (Roman Catholic, Protestants), Hinduism, Islam

Surinamese people are the inhabitants or citizens of Suriname. Suriname had formerly been a Dutch colony which was captured from the English in 1667. Following Suriname's independence in 1975, many Surinamese migrated to the Netherlands. A second wave of migrants relocated to the Netherlands during the 1980s while Suriname was under military regime.

Ethnic groups[edit]

The population of Suriname is a mixture of different ethnic groups:

The seventh census of Suriname in 2004 reported the following:

  • 27.4% East Indian,
  • 17.7% Creole
  • 14.7% Maroons
  • 14.6% Javanese (Southeast Asians)
  • 12.5% Mixed descent
  • 3.7% Amerindian
  • 3% Chinese
  • 2% White


Most of the approximate 500,000 inhabitants live in the north of the country, in the districts of Paramaribo, Wanica and Nickerie. The least populated county is Sipaliwini, which covers most of the nation's interior and is sparsely inhabited. More than half of the population lives in and around the capital.


Approximately 350,000 individuals of Surinamese descent live in the Netherlands, having variably arrived following Suriname's independence in 1975, after the military coup of 1980 led by Dési Bouterse, or after the December murders of 1982. Surinamese continued to migrate to the Netherlands throughout the 1990s because of the then poor economic situation in Suriname. Most Surinamese people in the Netherlands have a Dutch passport and the majority have been successfully integrated into Dutch society.

During the colonial era there was frequent migration between the Netherlands and Dutch Guiana. Initially this was mainly the colonial elite but expanded during the 1920s and 30s to the less fortunate inhabitants looking for better education, employment, or other opportunity.[6]

6% of Netherlanders of Chinese descent can trace their ancestry through Suriname. Most of them are Hakka people.


In Suriname there are no fewer than twenty languages spoken. Most Surinamese are multilingual. In terms of numbers of speakers are the main languages in Suriname, successively the Dutch language, Sranan Tongo (Surinamese Creole), Sarnami (Surinamese Hindi), Javanese, and different Maroon languages (especially Saramaccan and Ndyuka). Since most Surinamese people are multilingual (for instance Dutch and Sranan Tongo), it is not easy for people to share in a particular language group.

According to the results of the seventh general population and housing census, which was held in 2004, Dutch is the most spoken home language in Suriname. In over 70% of households Dutch is spoken as the first or second language. The lingua franca is Sranan Tongo, which literally means "Surinamese language", and is spoken primarily as a second language in 46% of households, along with 22% Sarnami Hindustani and 11% Javanese.


The following religious statistics have been reported as of 2010:[7]


  1. ^ (Indonesian)Orang Jawa di Suriname (Javanese in Suriname), kompasiana. Access date:26 March 2011
  2. ^ Joshua Project. "". Retrieved 28 March 2010. 
  3. ^ Romero, Simon. "With Aid and Migrants, China Expands Its Presence in a South American Nation", The New York Times, 10 April 2011.
  4. ^ "Violence erupts in Surinam". Radio Netherlands Worldwide. December 26, 2009.
  5. ^ "Guyana: Caught in Brazil's Net?; Small Nation, New to Free Markets, Fears Loss of Its Identity". The New York Times. March 30, 2000.
  6. ^ Gert Oostindie en Emy Maduro, In het land van de overheerser - II - Antillianen en Surinamers in Nederland 1634/1667-1954 (KITLV; Leiden 1986)
  7. ^ Suriname: History, Geography, Government, and Culture