Country Profile: Suriname
Other CitiesPara, Paramaribo, Saramacca
Recognised regional languagesSranan Tongo, Hindi, English, Sarnami, Javanese, Marathi, Bhojpuri, Hakka, Cantonese, Boni, Saramaccan, Paramakan, Ndyuka, Kwinti, Matawai, Cariban, Arawakan Kalina
AreaTotal 163,821 km2
Suriname, officially the Republic of Suriname, is a country in northern South America. Suriname is situated between French Guiana to the east and Guyana to the west. The southern border is shared with Brazil and the northern border is the Atlantic coast. Suriname is the smallest sovereign state in terms of area and population in South America. The country is the only Dutch-speaking region in the Western Hemisphere which is not a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and Suriname is home to the largest population of Muslims in the Western Hemisphere.
Languages and Dialect
The official language of Suriname is Dutch, however there are a vast wealth of languages spoken in Suriname. In 2004, Suriname became a member of the Dutch Language Union as well. Sranan Tongo, a local creole language originally spoken by the Creole population group, is the most widely used language in the streets and often interchangeably with Dutch depending on the formality of the setting. Surinamese Hindi, a dialect of Bhojpuri, is the third-most used language, spoken by the descendants of British Asian contract workers. Javanese is spoken by the descendants of Javanese contract workers. The Maroon languages, somewhat intelligible with Sranan Tongo, include Saramaka, Paramakan, Ndyuka, Aukan, Kwinti and Matawai. Amerindian languages, spoken by Amerindians, include Carib and Arawak. Hakka and Cantonese are spoken by the descendants of the Chinese contract (koelie, coolie) workers. Mandarin is spoken by some few recent Chinese immigrants. English, Spanish and Portuguese are also used. English is taught in schools and widely used for business purposes, while Spanish and Portuguese are spoken by Latin American residents and their descendants and sometimes also taught in schools.
The main export and industry in Suriname is the bauxtile industry, which accounts for more than one quarter of their GDP. Some other main exports of the nation are rice, bananas and shrimp as well. There is also a vast wealth of natural resources such as oil and gold, which has brought particular wealth to the nation. The Surinamese economy relies heavily on agriculture and trade, specifically trading with Canada, USA and the Netherlands.
In recent years this sector has flourished. By the end of 2006, tourism had grown by 400% compared with 2005. In the last years big hotels have been built all over the country to satisfy the needs of the growing tourism sector. In December 2007 the first five star hotel- the Royal Torarica- was opened in the night district of Paramaribo on the Suriname River. This hotel has approximately 300 rooms with a Presidential suite on the top floor. Other major hotels- of four stars- in Suriname are the Krasnapolsky, Residence Inn, Torarica, Queens Hotel, Princess Hotel, Ambassador hotel and casino, Stardust hotel, Ecoressort, Hotel Ameerali and the Spanhoek Hotel. The rental of apartments, or the rent-a-house phenomenon is also popular in Suriname.
In the future, Suriname will look to expand its economy in various industries, including agriculture, mining and exportation. Suriname has already been extremely successful in doing this in the past and will look to continue this trend of prosperous expansion in the future. Furthermore, Suriname has become a leader in South America and undergone research and studies for renewable forms of energy resources, such as wind, solar and hydroelectric.
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