Suriname and The Netherlands have a historical bond for centuries and a special tie through the presence of Suriname natives in The Netherlands. The historical bond carries their burdens where both countries have to deal with and give a place to in their history, each in their own way. The ancient historical ties have left a lot of buildings and infrastructure in Suriname, which we today determine as Mutual Cultural Heritage. Fortunately, it has been possible for The Netherlands to make a specific cultural framework with Suriname and in 2001, Suriname was the first country with a country-specific policy framework for the mutual cultural heritage. What does the country-specific policy framework entail? Most importantly, it structures the cooperation between Suriname and The Netherlands for the mutual cultural heritage. The framework is also used for assessing project applications. The cooperation is crucial for the sustainable preservation and management of the mutual cultural heritage in both countries.

We can identify three priority areas in the policy framework: built heritage, museums and their collection, and archives. The great value of the policy framework for mutual cultural heritage lies in the political commitment of both countries, without this commitment implementation of any sustainable project is impossible.
A number of interesting projects have been developed in the last few years. Suriname has implemented a policy for heritage and there is special attention for the mutual cultural heritage. In this policy certain concrete aims are developed. One of these goals is the rehabilitation and privatization of the open-air museum, New Amsterdam, in a joint venture with the Zuiderzeemuseum in Enkhuizen, the Netherlands. A second one is the nomination of the former Jewish community 'Jodensavanne' and the Cassipora graveyard to be placed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. At this moment, Suriname has two heritage sites placed on the World Heritage List: the Central Suriname Nature Park in 2000 and the historical inner city of Paramaribo in 2002. 


CIE identifies partners in and for these priority countries and initiates local and international meetings with partners from The Netherlands and local priority countries. The outcome of the discussions and meetings are presented to the Dutch government to improve future cooperation policy. This formula is applicable to programs for many countries with mutual heritage.

The term ‘mutual’ is a rather charged word to use. The terminology of ‘mutual’ is most often used by The Netherlands to determine heritage that has a Dutch origin. The mutual cultural heritage can be divided into three categories:

  • The overseas cultural heritage
  • Heritage built in or taken to other countries by the Dutch,
  • Heritage in The Netherlands from those countries whose culture has influenced The Netherlands.

Although Suriname has acknowledged that there is mutual cultural heritage between the two countries, it is not altogether clear for both countries which heritage can be experienced as mutual and which not. The valuation of heritage differs greatly.

The fact that the term ‘mutual’ is not a neutral one has led to a discussion set up by the Centre for the mutuality in mutual cultural heritage. This discussion takes place in a permanent workshop that comes together a few times a year. The idea is to appoint together with Suriname common lieux de memoires (places of memory). This means that the two countries establish the mutuality in the cultural heritage together.  The Centre does not only develop this practice for Suriname but also for other priority countries like Indonesia and in 2008 South Africa, Sri Lanka and the Antilles. 

Efforts are also being made to place the unique frescos (petroglyphen) near the island town of Kwamalasemutu, on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The last aim is the preservation of the World Heritage site in the historical inner city of Paramaribo. Suriname and The Netherlands work together in all these projects to realize the preservation and development of mutual cultural heritage sites.


Many of the projects taking place with regard to the mutual cultural heritage in Suriname are either (financially through HGIS-C) supported by the Dutch Government or fall under the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the governments of the Netherlands and Suriname. The governmental agreements can be regarded as a top-down approach.The following developments can be identified in the bilateral governmental cooperation between the Netherlands and Suriname:



Dayreport Workshop 'Shared Cultural Heritage Surinam – The Netherlands'

Dayreport Workshop 'Shared Cultural Heritage Surinam – The Netherlands' 

Friday November 14th the workshop ‘Shared Heritage Surinam-Netherlands’, organised by the Directorate Culture Suriname in cooperation with the Centre for International Heritage Activities and with support of Dutch Embassy Paramaribo, took place in Paramaribo.


The motivation for this workshop was de wish from the Directorate Culture to present its cultural policy to the Surinam heritage field, and the CIE that wanted to give follow-up to the Heritage Day Surinam of 2007, organised in The Hague. This heritage day was aimed at bringing together the Dutch heritage field cooperating with Surinam and to discuss the opportunities and bottlenecks in this cooperation.
Through a similar meeting aimed at the Surinamese heritage field cooperating with The Netherlands the CIE sought to offer follow-up to this heritage day. The Directorate Culture saw in this workshop an opportunity to present its cultural policy.The objectives for the workshop in Surinam were partly similar to the objectives of The Atlantic World and the Dutch (AWAD). AWAD was involved in the heritage day of 2007 as well. This is the reason this workshop was also organised in cooperation with AWAD to offer follow-up to the workshop they organised in July 2006 in Paramaribo as well. 

Objectives of the workshop:

  • Presentation of the Surinamese cultural policy;
  • Give a report on the heritage day in The Netherlands;
  • Make an inventory of  the completed, running and proposed heritage projects;
  • Make an inventory of involved organisations and experts in Surinam;
  • Documentation of the projects and bundling of experiences;
  • Documentation of involved organisations in Suriname and abroad;
  • Exchange of information and experiences by experts;
  • Presentation of the project database. 

The morning programme consisted of different presentations: 

Stanley Sidoel, director Directorate Culture - The Surinamese cultural policy.Mr. Sidoel shared the vision of  the Directorate Culture on the cultural policy and its vision on the policy for the coming years. In the next couple of years the directorate wants to work towards a sustainable cultural policy, in which capacity building, public awareness  and stimulating cooperation on different levels are the main points of focus.

Robert Parthesius, director CIE:Mr. Parthesius explained about the activities of the CIE, the Surinam heritage day and the importance of  a lasting cooperation.

Annemarie Willems - CIE:Mw. Willems explained the practical use of the project database. In this database information is stored on heritage projects.

Jerry Egger- AWAD: Mr. Egger  explained about the AWAD activities, de aims and results of the 2006 workshop and the future objectives. 

Projectpresentations: Different initiators were given the opportunity to present their project: 

“Slave letters” Missionary reports (Slaven brieven) - Disclosure of of historical data.
Presented by: Mw. Ilse Vreugd

Coronie - Publication.
Presented by: Mw. Chandra van Binnendijk

Oranjetuin Cemetary – Restoration / rehabilitation
Presented by: Dhr. Ir. Marcel Meyer

Fort Nieuw Amsterdam - Rehabilitation
Presented by: Dhr. Evert Middelbeek

Yesterday's knowledge, tomorrow's future (Kennis van gisteren toekomst van morgen) - Education.

Presented by: Laura van Broekhoven

Cultural Heritage Centre Surinam - Meetingpoint and umbrella organization.
Presented by: Dhr. Floris Guntenaar

Diaspora - research - 
Presented by: Mw. Rita Tjien-Fooh

Jodensavanne - Preservation.
Presented by: Dhr. Philip Dikland

Cultuurstudies - Digitazation.
Presented by: Mw. Hillary de Bruin

All the participants had the opportunity to send in information on and images of their heritage project. Twelve organisations presented their heritage projects on posters. These posters give an interesting insight in the Surinam - Dutch cooperation today. With these posters they were able to generate attention for their project and get in contact with interested participants.

At the same location as the workshop the launch of the Culture Fund took place, a cooperation between the Directorate Culture and the private sector. Everyone with a project proposal concerning arts or culture can apply for funding with this new fund. The fund can be seen as a durable investment in the cultural field of Surinam. The Directorate surveys whether the project applications meet the objectives of the cultural policy.

 The afternoon was reserved for four workshops to discuss the theme’s:

  • Knowledge: academic structure, the importance of public awareness and capacity building, heritage education.

  • Government/legislation: titles on the ground, monument legislation, new purposes for monumental building.
  • Heritage digitization: Technique, finance, capacity building, cooperation.

  • Sustainable tourism: knowledge exchange, public awareness, economical development, cohesion and cooperation, capacity building.


 Basic considerations for the workgroups were the heritage projects (finished / current / proposed). The workgroups were aimed at the:

  • Identification of chances and bottlenecks related to the projects;
  • Identification of chances and bottlenecks related to the cooperation with The Netherlands;
  • Research opportunities for cooperation and matching different initiatives.


Within this website

  • 17-11-2008 - Workshop ‘Shared Heritage Surinam-Netherlands’
  • October 2008 - Switi Sranan: Surinam between myth and reality
  • August 2008 - Presentation Monument Map Paramaribo
  • June 2008 - Opening Twinning Facillity Suriname – Netherlands
  • 2007 - Stanley Sidoel at CIE Heritage Day Suriname


Outside of this website

Poster Presentations Suriname Heritage Day

Click on the image for more details (opens in new page).

Counterpart Heritage Day in Suriname

Suriname Heritage Day in the Netherlands

September 27th 2007: Suriname Heritage Day, The Hague, The Netherlands

September 27th 2007: Suriname Heritage Day, The Hague, The Netherlands

The CIE organised a well-attended symposium on heritage cooperation with Suriname. This Heritage Day aimed to bring Dutch stakeholders into Dutch – Suriname heritage cooperation and to discuss the possibilities for improving collaboration. Future incidental heritage projects can potentially evolve into a heritage programme. Maarten van Boven, director of the National Archives, was so kind to host the Heritage Day.

We were very delighted with the presence of Mr Stanley Sidoel, Director General of Culture in Suriname. He gave a presentation about the heritage policy in Suriname and the cooperation with The Netherlands.  Go to the Dutch text here

The morning programme continued with four presentations on different fields of heritage cooperation with Suriname:

  • Erik Schilp (Zuiderzeemuseum) - Fort New Amsterdam. Plans are made for turning Fort Nieuw Amsterdam into an open-air museum presenting the past and culture of Suriname in exhibitions and activities. Click here for more information.
  • Jules Rijssen (ROS, Foundation Recreation War Veterans in Suriname) -Second World War heritage of Suriname. Rijssen represented an unknown group of War Veterans and their traces in Dutch history and society. Click here for more information
  • Paul Meurs (Technical University, Delft) Historic inner city Paramaribo.The TU advises on the revitalization for the inner city of Paramaribo that is on the World Heritage List of UNESCO. They work on a management plan for the historic centre and started a graduation module on this topic. Click here for more information
  • Frans van Dijk (National Archives) – Archival partnerships.The National Archives in Suriname and the Netherlands are collaborating in the restoration of archives in Suriname and the repatriation of archives from The Hague to Paramaribo.

After the lectures the CIE presented their proposed database for international heritage projects. The Centre is building a database to give the heritage field a forum and documentation centre on international heritage activities and experts.

The afternoon was planned for workshops to discuss the cooperation and cohesion in built heritage projects, museum projects and projects related to archives, photos and books. Another workshop discussed about the heritage of the Second World War in Suriname en the last group discussed the term ‘mutual’ in Mutual Cultural Heritage and the possibility to define common lieux de memoires. The participants in the workshops developed recommendations for the cultural policy makers on the subjects of cooperation between Dutch organisations and the cooperation with counterparts in Suriname. Go to the recommendations

All the participants had the opportunity to send in information on and images of their heritage project. More than twenty organisations presented their heritage projects with Suriname on posters. These posters give an interesting insight in the Dutch cooperation with Suriname's heritage field today. With these posters they were able to generate attention for their project and get in contact with interested participants.

September 27th 2007: Recommendations CIE Heritage Day Suriname

September 27th 2007: Recommendations CIE Heritage Day

The afternoon of the CIE Heritage  Day Suriname was planned for workshops. The workshop discussions revolved around the possibilities of more cooperation and a better connection between the involved organisations. The ultimate idea is to work from incidental heritage projects to eventually evolve into a comprehensive heritage programme. The discussions gave interesting insights and resulted in four important recommendations to the cultural policy makers of the Dutch government.

The recommendations to the Dutch heritage field, refer to cooperation among organisation and with counterparts in Suriname. These are: 

  • The Dutch participation in heritage projects in Suriname should be supportive, for example by providing expertise. Secondly, the Dutch participation should be on the policy level, this means that the Dutch heritage field should not take a leadership role in projects. Dutch organisations need to give guidance at a distance.
  • An active and wide network is of great importance for the structure of projects. An inventory database of international heritage projects is of essence. Such database would inform the heritage field about other heritage projects and about active and available expertise. The heritage field regards the project database of the Centre for International Heritage Activities as an important step.
  • Cooperation and a better connection between Dutch organisations could be stimulated through the formulation of a clear common theme and time path.
  • The concept of mutual cultural heritage is acknowledged by Suriname, but there is lack of agreement between Surinam and The Netherlands regarding  the selection of heritage that is mutual and that which is not. The valuation of what constitutes mutual heritage can differ greatly. A common list of mutual cultural heritage needs to be jointly established.

Speech Stanley Sidoel, Director General of Culture in Suriname: Erfgoedbeleid Suriname


Speech Stanley Sidoel, Director General of Culture in Suriname

Erfgoedbeleid in Suriname

Het erfgoedbeleid in Suriname is gebaseerd op met name het behoud en documentatie van zowel materiele als het immateriële cultureel erfgoed.

Afgezien van het eigen karakter waarbinnen het erfgoedbeleid zich afspeelt, bestaan er met Nederland diverse beleidskader c.q. samenwerkingsovereenkomsten op het valk van erfgoed. Ten enken valt aan ondermeer het Beleidskader ‘Gemeenschappelijk Cultureel Erfgoed (GCE)’. Welke op 11 september 2001 werd aangedaan. In dat raamwerk staan de sectoren gebouwd erfgoed, museum- en archiefwezen centraal. Voorts is er de ‘Overeenkomst tot samenwerking tussen de Republiek Suriname en de Gemeente Amsterdam’, welke op 13 juni van het vorig jaar werd ondertekend en waarin ondermeer samengewerkt wordt op het gebied van archiefwezen, beroepsopleidingen en trainingen en het kader van de restauratie van historische panden.

Daarnaast bestaat er tussen de Stichting Gebouwd Erfgoed Suriname (SGES), de werkarm op het vlak van gebouwd erfgoed in Suriname, en de Stichting Herstelling een samenwerkingsovereenkomst, die teruggaat tot 2002. Resultaat van deze samenwerking is de gezamenlijke restauratie in 2002. Resultaat van deze samenwerking is de gezamenlijke restauratie in 2005 van het Nola hatterman Instituut, gehuisvest in een der voormalige officierswoningen op het Fort Zeelandia Complex.

Belangrijke speerpunten van het erfgoedbeleid (Beleidsnota Directoraat Cultuur 2005-2010)voor wat gebouwd erfgoed betreft zijn o.m. de verzelfstandiging en rehabilitatie van het openluchtmuseum Nieuw Amsterdam. In dat kader bestaat er een samenwerkingsovereenkomst tussen het Directoraat Cultuur en het Zuiderzeemuseum. Op 11 januari van dit jaar ondertekenden partijen een convenant, waarin o.m. gebieden van samenwerking zijn aangegeven. het ligt in de bedoeling dat nog dit jaar de verzelfstandiging een feit is.

Eeen ander speerpunt is de nominatie van de voormalige Joodse nederzetting “Jodensavanne” en de Cassiporabegraafplaats ( waar de Joden zich het eerst hebben gevestigd in Suriname) voor plaatsing op de Werelderfgoedlijst van de UNESCO. Momenteel heeft Suriname twee sites op voornoemde Lijst: het Centraal Suriname Natuurreservaat (CSNR), welke in 2000 werd geplaatst en de historische binnenstad van Paramaribo, die in 2002 werelderfgoestatus verkreeg. De stand van zaken wat de nominatie van Jodensavanne betreft is, dat het managementplan in afgeronde fase is. Zodra dat plan af is en gedragen wordt door de stakeholders, zal het nominatiedossier worden afgerond en officieel aan de UNESCO worden aangeboden. De Stichting Gebouwd Erfgoed Suriname (SGES) is samen met de Stichting Jodensavanne verantwoordelijk voor het voorbereiden van het dossier.
Recentelijk is ook het verzoek gedaan aan het Ministerie van Onderwijs en Volksontwikkeling c.q. het Directoraat Cultuur, om de enkele jaren geleden ontdekte unieke rotstekeningen (petroglyphen) nabij het inheemse dorp Kwamalasemutu, in het uiterste Zuiden van Suriname, een beschermde status te geven en voor te dragen voot plaatsing op de Werelderfgoedlijst.

Een ander speerpunt is de zorg voor de werelderfgoedsite van historisch Paramaribo. Momenteel wordt in samenwerking met de UNESCO/TU-Delft/SGES gewerkt aan een managementplan voor historisch Paramaribo.

Tenslotte kan als speerpunt worden genoemd het opzetten van een monumenten beheerinstituut min of meer naar het voorbeeld van de NV Stadsherstellen hier in Nederland. De NV Stadsherstel Amsterdam geeft reeds op bescheiden schaal adviezen aan de SGES, die belast is met de uitvoering.

Enkele probleemgebieden:

  • Het ontbreken van een restauratiefonds. Momenteel ontbreekt het aan incentives voor  monumenteneigenaren om hun bezit te onderhouden. Ondersteuning van het Nationaal Restauratiefonds bij het helpen opzetten van een restauratiefonds in Suriname wordt op prijs gesteld.
  • Ontbreken van onderhoudsplannen voor monumentale gebouwen;
  • Opzetten van een restauratieopleiding voor beroepsgericht onderwijs en de Universiteit.