Culture

Suriname is a cultural free-for-all of incredibly friendly and generous people. Paramaribo's level of acceptance and unity is primarily undisturbed by religious and racial tension, which is remarkable given the intimacy of so many groups living in such a small corner of the world. However, Maroons and Amerindians in the interior live with high poverty levels and fewer educational opportunities.

Many Surinamese live or have lived in the Netherlands, either to enjoy its greater economic opportunities or to escape military repression, and are consequently knowledgeable of European trends.

About 40% of the country's well-integrated population are nominally Christian, but some also adhere to traditional African beliefs. Hindus make up 26% of the population (most of the East Indian community), while 19% is Muslim (ethnic Indonesians plus a minority of East Indian origin). A small number is Buddhist, Jewish or follow Amerindian religions. In terms of ethnicities, 37% of the population is Indian, 31% is Creole, 15% is Indonesian, 10% is Maroon, 2% is Amerindian, 2% is Chinese and 1% is Dutch, leaving 2% 'other'.

Some cultural forms – such as gamelan music, often heard at special events – derive from the Indonesian immigrant populations. Other art forms that visitors enjoy include intricate Amerindian basketry and wood carvings by Maroons, widely regarded as the best carvers in tropical America.