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Living in Suriname

A practical guide to the way of life in Suriname

Suriname enjoys a relatively high standard of living, with quite modern and reliable facilities and services. Most of the population resides in the developed north of the country and Suriname has a diverse, vibrating culture. Find out more about life in Suriname in our guide!

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Life in Suriname

Suriname is a culturally diverse nation, with influences from the Caribbean, India, Africa, Asia, and the United States. There is a wide range of cuisines, musical styles, and even languages spoken. Expats living in Suriname will have good access to shops, restaurants, healthcare and schooling.

Healthcare in Suriname

There are four hospitals in Paramaribo, as well as a few other district hospitals and private clinics, and the level of healthcare is reasonable. About 90% of the population live within a 5 km distance to a hospital.

Certain diseases are prevalent, so expats living in Suriname would be well advised to be vaccinated and take precautions. For example, the main water supply is chlorinated, but it is a good idea to drink bottled water. There is a risk of malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases, so insect repellent and nets are recommended, and a common sense approach to contact with other people is advised on account of a reasonably high level of HIV and other transmittable diseases.

Education in Suriname

There is a decent public education system in Suriname, with compulsory, free education for children up to the age of 12. Lessons are taught in Dutch at all public schools, but there are private and international schools where the main language is English.

The adult literacy rate is just under 90% and many students go on to further education at teacher training institutes, technical schools or universities. The Anton de Kom University in Paramaribo offers degrees in medicine, law and sciences, but many students opt to continue their education at universities in The Netherlands or the United States.

Transportation in Suriname

Suriname is a nation of rivers and coastal roads, so the best way to get around is by car or boat. Once a colony of the United Kingdom, drivers in Suriname have adopted the British rule of driving on the left. There are few road connections with neighboring countries, and Guyana also drives on the left, so this hasn’t posed any complications.

The quality of road system isn’t great, though, with many roads unpaved, so if buying a car it may be worth considering a 4×4. There are private and state run mini-buses whose reputation is ‘cheap and slow’, but most people travel independently. There are no trains in Suriname; the only industrial train track has long been closed and is now overgrown with vegetation.

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Updated on: May 12, 2015
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