Republic of Suriname
CAPITAL : Paramaribo
FLAG : A yellow star is at the center of five stripes: a broad red band in the middle, two white bands, and a green stripe at the top and bottom.
ANTHEM : The Surinaams Volkslied (National Anthem) begins "God zij met ons Suriname" ("God be with our Suriname").
MONETARY UNIT : The Suriname guilder (S F ) is a paper currency of 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents, and notes of 5, 10, 25, 100, and 500 guilders. S F 1 = $0.0003636 1 (or $1 = S F 2,750) as of January 2003.
WEIGHTS AND MEASURES : The metric system is used.
HOLIDAYS : New Year's Day, 1 January; Revolution Day, 25 February; Labor Day, 1 May; National Union Day, 1 July; Independence Day, 25 November; Christmas, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays include Holi Phagwah, Good Friday, Easter Monday, and 'Id al-Fitr.
TIME : 8:30 AM = noon GMT.
Dominated by rain forest, Suriname contains many flowers but is most famous for water lilies and orchids. Tropical shrubs include hibiscus, bougainvillea, and oleander. There are 180 species of mammals. Among the reptiles are the tortoise, iguana, caiman, and numerous snakes. Tropical birds abound, especially the white egret.
The official language is Dutch, but English is widely spoken, and the local people use a lingua franca known as Sranang-Tongo or Takki-Takki, a mixture of Dutch, African, and other languages. Hindustani (a dialect of Hindi), Javanese, and several Chinese, Amerindian, and African languages and dialects are also spoken.
The republic is divided into 10 districts, which include the urban district of Paramaribo. Administration is centralized and there are no recognized municipalities.
Suriname was admitted to the UN on 4 December 1975 and is a member of ACP, Caricom, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IDB, IFAD, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OIC, OPANAL, OPCW, PCA, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WCL, WHO, WIPO, WMO, and WTrO.
Livestock numbers are relatively small, since breeding is done primarily by small farmers who own only a few animals each. The government has tried to reduce the import of eggs, dairy products, and meat by undertaking projects to cross Dutch and local breeds of cattle and poultry. Estimated livestock numbers in 2001 included 135,000 head of cattle, 22,300 hogs, 7,000 goats, 7,500 sheep, and 3.5 million chickens.
Research centers and scientific societies in Suriname include the Center for Agricultural Research in Suriname (founded in 1965), Geological Mining Service (founded in 1943), and the Agricultural Experiment Station of the Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Husbandry, and Fisheries (founded in 1903), all in Paramaribo. The University of Suriname, founded in 1968 at Paramaribo, has faculties of medicine and technology.
Both Dutch and foreign insurance companies operate in Suriname.
Housing programs are supervised by the Department of Social Affairs. As of 1 July 1980 there were 68,141 inhabited houses in Suriname and 8,208 huts; 82.3% of living quarters had electricity. Between 1988 and 1990, 82% of the urban and 94% of the rural population had access to a public water supply, while 64% of urban dwellers and 36% of rural dwellers had sanitation services.
The main public library is at the Stichting Cultureel Centrum in Paramaribo, with 850,000 volumes, seven branches, and two bookmobiles. The Anton de Kom University in Paramoribo has 51,000 volumes. The Suriname State Museum and the Natural History Museum are in Paramaribo, and there is an open-air museum in Nieuw Amsterdam, with historical exhibits based at an 18th century fort.
International organizations in Suriname include the YWCA, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, and Red Cross. The Bouterse government established the National Women's Organization and the Suriname Youth Union. The Father Ahlbrinck Foundation promotes development programs for the Amerindian and Bush Negro communities in central Suriname. The Chamber of Commerce and Industry is located in Paramaribo.
Lt. Col. Désiré ("Desi") Bouterse (b.1945) led the coup of February 1980.
Suriname has no territories or colonies.
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