• Colombia!

    Colombia: Caribbean Sea coast. Go Now!

    Although most of the people live inland, Colombia also has its share of coastline along the Pacific Ocean and the Caribbean Sea (pictured). Go Now!

  • Ecuador!

    Ecuador: Sally Lightfoot Crab. Go Now!

    The Galapagos Islands and Ecuador are home to incredible wildlife, such as the famous Galapagos Turtle and the lesser known, but more common Red Rock or Sally Lightfoot crab (pictured). Begin Your Journey!

  • Chile!

    Chile: Torres del Paine National Park. Go Now!

    The Andes dominate much of Chile, including the breath-taking Torres del Paine National Park (pictured). However, the country also hosts the world's driest desert and a thriving metropolis. Begin Your Journey!

  • Venezuela!

    Venezuela: Los Roques. Go Now!

    Rooted in Europe, Venezuela boasts an impressive history, culture, and beauty, including the Caribbean Coast (pictured). Explore Venezuela!

  • Bolivia!

    Bolivia: Salt flats. Go Now!

    This hidden gem is full of surprises, from the impressive salt flats (pictured) to the migrating flamingos. It also clings to the most historic indigenous culture on the continent. Explore Bolivia!

Ethnicity, Language, & Religion of Suriname


About 40% of Suriname's population claims to be "Hindustani" (or Hindoestanen (singular: Hindoestaan)) which simply means they are (east) Indian. As they are descended from dozens of ethnic groups as this term doesn't specifically define an ethnic group so much as it refers to people of (east) Indian descent. Most of these people's ancestors are from northern India. Another 30% claims to be creole, which often means a combination of European and African. Among these people most have some Dutch blood in them, although English is also common. About 15% is Javanese, which is an ethnic group from the island of Java (in modern day Indonesia). Maroons make up another 10% of the population, although this isn't an ethnic group, but rather is a term that is more accurately defined in a cultural sense. This term refers to people who are of African descent who escaped slavery and lived inland. The rest of the population consists of numerous ethnic groups including indigenous people, Chinese, Europeans, and others.


Suriname only has one official language and that's Dutch. However, the native Dutch speakers are a minority as numerous other languages are spoken and Sranan Tongo is generally the de facto language of communication in the country. Among other popular languages are Caribbean Hindustani spoken among many Indians, Javanese is generally the language of choice among the ethnic Javanese, and English is widely spoken as a second language.

Dutch is a western Germanic language, but falls somewhere between German and English in many ways. Caribbean Hindustani is a dialect of Bhojpuri and is sometimes referred to as "Sarnami Hindoestani" in Suriname. However, it is Sranan or Sranan Tongo that is the de facto language of communication as this is very commonly spoken in Suriname. This language is based on English, but has heavy Dutch influence, while also incorporating aspects of Javanese, Hindi, Portuguese, and even many African languages. It began as a means of communication between African slaves who spoke various languages and expanded as slave owners used it to communicate with their slaves.


Nearly 30% of the people in Suriname are religiously Hindi and most of these adherents are ethnic (east) Indian. About a quarter of the population is Protestant, many of whom are Moravian. Nearly another quarter are Roman Catholic and about 20% are Muslim. Many of the indigenous people in Suriname practice various indigenous belief systems as well.

Continue reading on Safari the Globe to Learn the Catholic Church's doctrines, liturgy, symbolism, traditions, & hierarchy

This page was last updated: May, 2014