Suriname is located in the northeastern part of South America. The country has long been part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Suriname has been inhabited for thousands of years. The first to settle here permanently were the Surrine, who were again driven out by the Aroquans. In the following centuries, many different tribes settled here. At the end of the 15th century it was the explorer Chistoffer Columbus who was the first European to sail off the coast. It was the explorers Amerigo Vespucci and Alonso de Ojeda who were the first to set foot on Europeans here. However, it was the Dutch who came to the country several times at the end of the 16th century to get raw materials and a few years later the West India Company was granted patent rights in this area. In the following years the area came into Dutch and English hands, after which the Netherlands exchanged the area with the English for New Netherland, the area where New York is now located. By the way, it didn’t stop the English from conquering the area a few more times. This part is neighboring Guiana, which was known as British Guiana for its independence. Over the centuries, many sugar cane plantations were built in Suriname, where thousands of slaves were put to work. Coffee plantations were added later. The Netherlands did not abolish slavery in Suriname until 1863, as one of the last Western countries in the world. The former slaves, however, were obliged to continue working on the plantations for a minimum of ten years. Now, for a small fee. In the beginning of the 20th century, rubber, gold and mainly bauxite were found in Suriname, which led to a great economic growth of the country. In 1940, the first step towards an independent Suriname was taken, with the result that in 1954 an independent country became part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and in 1975 Suriname became an independent republic. The period after this is anything but calm, there have been several coups, Desi Bouterse has ruled the country for several years as a dictator and several coups have been committed. The most important income of the country comes from the natural resources that the country has, such as wood, bauxite, gold and porcelain earth. However, it is a poor country and around 70% of the population lives below the poverty line.
Paramaribo is one of the most beautiful places in Suriname and especially the historic center of the city with the wooden Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral, Fort Zeelandia and the Independence Square. The Saint Peter and Paul Cathedral is one of the largest wooden structures in South America. The priest Peerke Donders is buried in the cathedral. Paramaribo also houses the Fort Nieuw Amsterdam Open Air Museum. Just outside the city lies the 1,500 meter long Jules Wijdenbosch bridge over the Suriname river. In the Keizerstraat in Suriname, the Synagogue and the mosque stand brotherly next to each other.
Brokopondo lake, plantations
A visit to Suriname is not complete until you have visited the beautiful interior and the Brokopondo lake. There are still a few colonial plantations in the Commewijne district, many of which are completely overgrown and others are still used as coffee plantations.
I’m originally from the Netherlands. I’ve enjoyed of my education, work, houselive and especially of a large network. The people in Twente, a region in the east of the Netherlands, have taught me that networks should be part of a lifestyle. A lifestyle that has helped me, after my emigration to Suriname, becoming part of my new living and working environment. With proud I show the flag of Twente to symbolize the networks in Suriname and the persons or organizations who are interested to get in touch with the Surinamese networks.
I am a true pioneer. That explains, I could start again completely new in Suriname after a very active life in the Netherlands. But of course, this time with a large dose of experience and a large network.
My passion lies primarily in knowledge transfer. In all the activities I undertake knowledge is in one or another way part of it. That specific passion is the reason that I have many contacts in the world of colleges and universities in the Netherlands. And that has led me to exploit my own education center in Suriname. Surinamese students are encouraged to study at Dutch universities. In addition, the students do not need to go abroad, because we always offer online education.
Conversely, we offer to Dutch students internships and graduation assignments. The students who come get a unique experience in learning how to work in a completely different cultural environment. A logical step that we have made is that we also have the ability to offer seminars and workshops to groups of scientists or experts in a completely different environment. In our education center we have all the modern facilities that make it possible to communicate efficiently and effectively.
Participants in workshops and seminars are quickly in contact with each other. The unifying factor is that there are so many unique and authentic experiences in Suriname is that people have many issues to discuss with each other. Characteristic of the events in Suriname therefore is, that there is always time to take note of all that beauty that Suriname has to offer.