The "Cultuurtuin" of Paramaribo, Suriname

After several attempts to create a botanical or herb garden in Suriname, the Society on Natural Research realized a proving garden in 1898 on a previous plantation. First this garden was used for research to multiply plant material of agricultural crops and for studies on trees, shrubs and flowers, partly imported from Indonesia. Following the growing impact of diseases and plagues on the Surinam agriculture in the beginning of the 20th century, more research was executed on these diseases, on the development of new plant races, and on the quality of soil and groundwater. After 1940 the garden was managed as a public park which resulted in 1965 in the opening of a special walk named after Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands and the opening of a Zoo in the seventies. These days the park has a multifunctional character. Many people use the park for recreation, sports, fishing, gardening, small scale bird catching and to look for special (medical) herbs, or fruits and bamboo. The University and the School for Teachers use the plant material for their lessons.

Potential use

Biotopic executed an analysis of the garden. This resulted in a list of the functional uses of the garden and the problems towards its management. Possibilities are described for the future development of the garden as a multifunctional park not only for the Surinam people but also for tourists. The culture historical and botanical values are expressed by the existence of a unique tree collection and a so called swamp-forest, representative for the original coastal vegetation of Suriname. Many native trees, shrubs and herbs can be observed next to birds (more than 80 species), reptiles, like the cayman ,and mammals (sloth). The area is very attractive for botanical and bird excursions. Characteristic are the old workers houses and the presence of crops like coffee, cacao, rice, cotton and peanuts, maize and oranges.


Since the eighties, after the military coup, the management of the park was neglected. No money was available for maintenance and personnel. Because many parts of the garden are used by third parties, contradiction interests are raising and it is not clear who has the final responsibility. The problems are abundant like: illegal use of cars, pollution, illegal constructions, and criminality. There is no control on parasite plants and other plaques that are threatening the special plants and trees. Tracks are not maintained and the water management is poor.

Prospects for the Future

In 2000 a petition was offered to the Minister of Agricultural affairs by the Foundation for a Clean Suriname and other supporting groups, with a special call to preserve the botanical garden. The foundation for the National Parks in Suriname (STINAPA) is these days responsible for the management of the garden. But in order to be successful in their efforts they need to have the support of the different stake holders to realize plans for a better organization and management of the park. This plan should be directed towards the zoning of activities, the banning of traffic, supervision , maintenance of the vegetation, monitoring of flora and fauna and the development of educational programs for students and tourists. Also a financial paragraph should be implemented in order to find new means to support the garden. For instance to invite people to sponsor the garden, to ask a small entrance fee, to organize low prized excursions and to establish a .visitors center with a restaurant and a capability for meetings and small seminars. Also tour operators can be invited to sponsor the garden.



This project was supported by the Hugo de Vries Foundation, the Van Eeden Foundation and the Dutch Foundation Utopa.