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In Surinam, Dutch is the official language. It is spoken at school, all newspapers are in Dutch and many television programs are in Dutch. Government officials will always appeal to you in Dutch, as well as all other Surinamese residents. On the street and among themselves, however, many different dialects Sranan Tongo (Surinamese) are spoken. For an outsider it seems to be one language, but there are indeed differences.

With a number of basic sentences you will come a long way and the Surinamese will appreciate it if you try to speak Sranan. However, they also have all the understanding for you if you continue to speak Dutch. For some it is special to speak Dutch especially in the interior. In general, in every village in the interior you can find someone who speaks a few words of Dutch.

Twenty languages are spoken in Suriname. The most important languages are:


  • Dutch

  • The Surinamese (Sranan Tongo)

  • The Sarnami Hindustani (Surinamese Hindustani)

  • The Javanese

  • The different Marron languages (especially Saramaccan and Aukaans)

  • Chinese (Hakka, Standard Mandarin and Standard Cantonese

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