Flag of Suriname

The Flag of Suriname was legally adopted on 25 November 1975, upon the independence of Suriname. Prior to that, there were two different flags. The people of Suriname disapproved of the new flag and in 1959 the government held a national competition to design another flag.[2]

Republic of Suriname
Flag of Suriname.svg
UseNational flag and ensign
Adopted25 November 1975
DesignA horizontal triband of green (top and bottom) and red (double width) with large white border with the large yellow five-pointed star centered on the red band.
Designed byJack Pinas[1]

In 1986, the national anthem, national flag, and the national coat of arms were officially accepted by the Surinamese. The flag of Suriname was raised for the first time on the Independence Day of the Republic of Suriname.[3] There is a legal requirement for vessels to raise the flag of Suriname when visiting another country to reduce miscommunication between other countries.[4]


The flag of Suriname is composed of five horizontal bands of green (top, double width), white, red (quadruple width), white, and green (double width) with a large, yellow, five-pointed star in the center.

The color red represents progress, white represents freedom and justice and the green represents the fertility of the land. The yellow star represents unity and a golden future.[5]

Scheme Green White Red Yellow
Hexadecimal #377e3f #FFFFFF #b40a2d #ecc81d
RGB 55, 126, 63 255, 255, 255 180, 10, 45 236, 200, 29
Pantone 356C n.v.t. 186C 2116C
NCS 3060 G 10 Y n.v.t. 1080 Y 90 R 0580 Y 10 R


Suriname is a country located on the South American continent. Suriname is known for its ethnic diversity, religions, languages and races that increases the development in agricultural and labour force.[6]

Suriname was populated by multiple indigenous tribes and cultures prior to the colonization by Europeans in the 1600s. Suriname ruled by the English until 1667 when Dutch ships arrived and took over from the English leading Suriname into a period of Dutch control.

Dutch settlers brought African slaves to Suriname after the decimation of the Surinamese natives by the Spanish and English.[7] The population of the Surinamese decreased significantly leaving the Dutch with a shortage of labor[7] Hence, the Dutch brought Indians, Indonesian, Chinese and Europeans indentured workers to Suriname.[8] Slavery in Suriname wasn't ended until 1863. Over the year's these workers were absorbed into the population making Suriname more diverse.

In the nineteenth century, Queen Wilhelmina from the Kingdom of the Netherlands made an important speech on the creation of the new Kingdom of Suriname[2]

Before the country of Suriname was granted sovereignty in 1975, Suriname's nationalists fought for Surinamese freedom.[2] Suriname's nationalist held parliamentary elections and applied the decolonization method in 1949. Moreover, 10 years after the Independence, national anthem, national flag, and a national arm are legally made to summarize the completeness of the country.[2]

Sranan tongo is the main language used by in Suriname, which sounds similar to Dutch. In 1986, the nationalists of Suriname claimed that Sabani-Hindustani and Suriname-Javanese are the main language that the Surinamese used. However, Sranan tongo is made as their main language, as the Surinamese nationalist has failed in making Sabani-Hindustani and Suriname-Javanese as the Surinamese everyday language.[2]

Sranan tongo is a language that was originally a combination of West African language and English language, which then developed to include component of the French, Portuguese and Dutch languages.[7] After Suriname's Independence Day in November 1975, Suriname's socio-economic, political, and management were still under the Dutch authority.[9] Moreover, Chin A Sen (1980 – 1982), a foreign policy advisor and political scientist argued that the Independence of Suriname, was just a symbol of ‘flying the flag’ without the Surinamese making any significant changes in the country without involvement from the Netherlands.[9] However, on 25, February, 1980, association with the Netherlands had come to an end with Desi Bouterse and the military leadership, becoming the elected government.[9]

Shapes and DesignEdit

Flag of SurinameEdit

In 1959, the first national flag of Suriname was designed to represent the people that made up the country's diverse population.The first flag consisted of five different color stars being, black (African), brown (Indians), yellow (Javanese and Chinese), red (American Indians), and white (Europeans) that signified on top of a black ellipse with a plain white background.The Surinamese people did not agree with the design, as they believed it did not represent the unity of the country.

The second flag was designed as a result of a national competition, with the winning design being accepted by the Suriname parliament in 1975[10] Art teacher and graphic designer Jack Pinas, won the design competition.[11] However, some changes on Pinas's design were made. Jack was one of the active parties in the Suriname's Nationalist Republic Party. The ellipse represented the harmonious relationship among the groups.[12]

The green horizontal band on both the top and bottom of the flag represents the richness of the countries agricultural lands; the white horizontal band represents freedom and independence and red symbolizes progress and hope. The star on center of the flag reflects the sacrifices endured for the Surinamese independence as well as a bright future.[10] The five points represents the ethnic groups, which are the East-Indians, Africans, Chinese, Europeans and Amerindians[10] The Suriname political parties are indicated by the different colors that are used in the flag.[3]

Suriname's Coat of Arms

Coat of ArmsEdit

In 1770, the coat of arms belonged to the City of Amsterdam.[8] However, in 1975, the year of Suriname's independence, Suriname introduced a new coat of arms to acknowledge and respect the indigenous population as well as to represent the new country.

It consists of two Arawak Indians who represent the unity of the Indigenous people. The bright yellow star in the center symbolizes the people that migrated to Suriname including America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and Europe.[8] The green diamond shape in the middle represents a hart.[8]

The oval shape shield that is divided into two portrays a boat on the left side and rain forest on the right.[10] The boat on the left side represent the history of slavery in Suriname and the people that were shipped from Africa. The right side of the shield, symbolizes justice. At the bottom shield there is a banner stating 'JUSTITIA PIETAS FIDES’. Justitia means ‘justified’, Pietas means faithfulness towards God, family and country, and lastly, Fides means loyalty to commitment.[10]

In 1682 the coat of Suriname was still belonged to the Dutch West India Company, until Suriname established ‘Society of Suriname’ in 1683.

Flag DayEdit

Independence DayEdit

Children gather in front of 'Paramaribo Presidential Palace'

On the 5th of November 1975, Suriname gained freedom and became an independent country after years of colonization by the Netherlands. Prime Minister Severinus Desiré Emanuels (1958 – 1963) officially approved Suriname's national anthem, national flag, and the coat of arms.

The ceremony took place in the Paramaribo Presidential Palace, facing towards the Independence Square (Onafhankelijkheidsplein).[3] The palace was open to the public for the Surinamese citizens. Prior to the proclamation, the leaders of Indo-Surinamese and Creole with Lachmon and Arron were finally reunited on 25 November.[3] Following the proclamation, children formed together to celebrate.

Soldiers and police officers prepared a parade in front of the Presidential Palace (Onafhankelijkheidsplein).[3] On that day, the Surinamese flag was raised everywhere by the citizens of Suriname to celebrate the Republic of Suriname's Independence Day.[3] The Day of Freedoms also called ‘Dag der Vrijheden' was officially announced as a national day in 1960 which is commemorated yearly by the countries ethnic groups.[6]

At SeaEdit

Maritime FlagEdit

Section 7 of Part XII of the Law of the Sea Convention is a law that protects the marine environment from pollution. It also states that any of Suriname's marine vessels traveling outside the country are required to raise the Suriname flag. The maritime regulation was issued by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), to provide safety and procedure for vessels to traveling outside the country.

Fleet management is responsible for whether each vessel has a suitable flag based on their country.[4] The raised flag indicates where the vessels came from, serving as an important indicator to communicate under the International Code of Signals.[4] Illegal fishers who do not have legal verification to fish can be reported to the illegal, unreported, unregulated fishing (IUU). This illegal action can be caught and identified by the flag state of the vessels.[4]

Other flagsEdit

Flag used in 1815–1959Edit

After the establishment of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1815, the Dutch tricolor was used in the Dutch colony of Suriname. There was talk of a design for a colony flag with the Dutch tricolor with the coat of arms of Suriname in the white area, but in practice this was not used.[13]

The Governor's flag before 1959 was the flag of the Netherlands with white circles in the top left corner.[14][15] The same Governor Flag was also used by the Governors of the Netherlands Antilles and Netherlands New Guinea respectively.[16]

First flag 1959–1975Edit

After the signing of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 15 December 1954, the need arose for Suriname's own official flag, coat of arms and anthem.

The pre-independence flag was designed by Noni Lichtveld and was adopted in 1959. It consisted of five coloured stars connected by a black ellipse with a plain white background. The coloured stars represented the major ethnic groups that comprise the Surinamese population.The ellipse represented the harmonious relationship among the groups.[12]

This flag was also used as the Governor flag. However, the flag was criticized by the wider public for putting too much emphasis on the ethnic differences and therefore symbolizing less of the national unity of the Surinamese people.[2] It was changed to the current flag in 1975 after a nationwide contest.


  1. ^ "Oorspronkelijke ontwerper Surinaamse vlag overleden". Waterkant.net (in Dutch). 17 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Meel, Peter (1 January 1998). "Towards a typology of Suriname nationalism". New West Indian Guide / Nieuwe West-Indische Gids. 72 ((3-4)): 257–281. doi:10.1163/13822373-90002593. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Hoefte, Rosemarijn (January 2014). "Suriname in the Long Twentieth Century: Domination, Contestation, Globalization". Palgrave Macmillan: 136. doi:10.1057/9781137360137. ISBN 978-1-349-47183-6. Retrieved 9 October 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d Bouterse, Desire. D (2017). "Bulletin of Acts and Decrees the Republic of Suriname" (PDF). Retrieved 7 October 2020.
  5. ^ "KennisbankSur Vlag Suriname" (PDF) (in Dutch). Retrieved 1 November 2020.
  6. ^ a b Moore, Bob (2000), "Decolonization by default: Suriname and the Dutch retreat from empire", The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 28 (3): 228–250, doi:10.1080/03086530008583107, S2CID 159752260
  7. ^ a b c Blakely, Allison (1998), "Historical Ties among Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, and the Netherlands", Callaloo, 21 (3): 472–478, doi:10.1353/cal.1998.0135, JSTOR 3299583, S2CID 161391096
  8. ^ a b c d Hollingsworth, Anwar Ignatius (2014). "The Indigenous Peoples Conservation Rights in Suriname a United Nations (UN) Declaration: Review of the Declaration Implementation" (PDF). Retrieved 10 October 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Janssen, Roger (2011). In search of a path; An analysis of the foreign policy of Suriname from 1975 to 1991. Caribbean Series. 27. Brill. doi:10.26530/OAPEN_371570. ISBN 9789004253674.
  10. ^ a b c d e Smith, Whitney (25 September 2019). "Flag of Suriname". Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 8 October 2020.
  11. ^ "Original designer Surinamese flag passed away". 2016. Retrieved 16 November 2020.
  12. ^ a b "Suriname - Colonial Flags". flagspot.net.
  13. ^ "Colonial Flags of Surinam".
  14. ^ Flaggenbuch. Melchior Historischer Verlag. 2014. ISBN 978-3-944289-66-3.
  15. ^ "Hubert Herald". Retrieved 14 November 2020.
  16. ^ Kannik, Preben. Vlaggen, standaarden en wapens (in Dutch). HJW Becht Amsterdam.

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