The Republic of Surinam on the northern coast of South America is bordered by Guyana to the west, French Guyana to the east and Brazil to the south. The country measures 163,000 km2 and it has a warm climate. 85% of the country is an extremely sparsely populated tropical rainforest. Surinam has a population of half a million and the population density is three people to each square kilometre.

From a historical and cultural perspective, Surinam is part of the Caribbean. In the seventeenth century, Surinam was a Dutch colony, and it was not politically independent until 1975. Surinam has a multi-party system and is a democratic constitutional state. There was, however, a military dictatorship there from 1980 to 1993 that fought an internal war (from 1986 to 1992) in the forest, against rebels descended from former escaped slaves, i.e. maroons.

The presence of the former colonial mother country, the Netherlands, is still felt in many areas, for example, in the civil law system and the school system. The official language is Dutch. The focus on the Netherlands is enormous, and even though Surinam has joined the Caricom trade association, it is still barely integrated, economically and politically, into the Caribbean.


Risk Behaviour Lifetime Prevalence Juvenile Delinquency School Inspectorate Military Dictatorship 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Utrecht, Faculty of Law, Willem Pompe Institute of CriminologyUtrechtThe Netherlands

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