The Mosque next to the Synagogue

Researching for my trip to South America, I came across this little country that I knew nothing about – Suriname – and its capital city – Paramaribo – which I couldn’t have named before. And then I saw this photo of a synagogue next to a mosque (there are also Christian churches and Hindu temples in town) and I got a feeling that Suriname might become one of the most interesting countries on my tour.


Might this country in the South American jungle with its Indian, Creole, Indonesian, Maroon, Amerindian, Chinese and Dutch population who are Christian, Hindu, Muslims, Buddhists, Jews, traditional African believers and hopefully also a few Atheists provide some lessons for Europe at a time of increased immigration and diversity? It sounds like multiculturalism is nothing new and the “waves” of immigrants coming to Europe are tiny compared with those absorbed by other continents at other times, including immigrants from Europe. If small South American countries can do it, why shouldn’t Europe be able to benefit from this mix of cultures, languages and religions?

I will hopefully find out in 2016!

(Zur deutschen Fassung.)

About Andreas Moser

Travelling the world and writing about it. I have degrees in law and philosophy, but I'd much rather be a writer, a spy or a hobo.
This entry was posted in Islam, Religion, Suriname, Travel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

51 Responses to The Mosque next to the Synagogue

  1. David Rosenbaum says:
    • And I thought there was no point in taking my kippah to South America. How wrong.

    • John Riland says:

      No mention of the 6000 black slaves who worked for their Jewish masters at the plantations in Joden savanne. And when business went downhill most Jews left with their fortunes to settle in the USA. This was a very bad time for black people. Let us not forget.

    • True. This should not be forgotten anywhere in the Americas, and indeed in Europe from where much of the slave trade was run (plus Romania which had slavery even in Europe until 1855).

  2. Moritz says:

    Sounds very interesting indeed. It’s nice to see that some countries seem to “master” multiculturalism!

  3. Elly says:

    This is why i am proud to be part of Suriname. We are rich in culture and we benefit from it.
    As a couchsurfer, i have to explain to people how we manage to keep it together. Simple : this county was made, most of our forefathers came as slaves and immigrants to this country. They had to fight together and survive together and now its our home.
    As the national anthem says: it doesn’t matter where our forefathers came from, wr shall fight for Surinaame.

    • I am so curious about your country!
      And I am glad to meet a Couchsurfer already. Here is my Couchsurfing profile: If you want, send me a message there, so that we can already connect. (Although it will still be half a year or so until I will come to Suriname.)

    • Sincerely wishing you upfront a great time in my Country, come hungry as there is so much food to taste and enjoy, also 1 very nice fact to know is that most of us are multi-lingual, if not all of us are bilingual.Not sure what country you will depart from to Suriname, but do try to fly our national carrier Surinam Airways, that is a good start to see and feel the diversity that represents us. Best wishes.

    • Thank you very much!
      Yes, I read about the multilingualism as well, and I am always very impressed by it. It’s funny how some countries make a big deal out of language questions (particularly in Eastern Europe I have seen some conflicts caused by this), while others (like Suriname or Switzerland) get on very well with four or more different languages.
      I usually travel by land because I have plenty of time but not that much money ;-), but I saw that Surinam Airways offers very good prices from Belem to Paramaribo. Thank you for the tip!

    • Ryan says:

      Indeed Elly as a Surinamese i can only say that we are blessed under the sun 2 be as humankind and not 4 the sake of politics and religeon,but 4 the 1ness in God.

  4. Soekirman says:

    You always be welcome to Suriname. Here’s a little about my country, Suriname.

    • Thank you!
      When I watch this video and read about your country, I already can’t wait!

    • Anonymous says:

      The best time to visit Suriname is in November-December. And of course… it all depends on you when traveling for you is better, depends on your interest. Good luck!!!

  5. Ruud says:

    We just moved over from Holland to Suriname. Great country. Great, beautiful people. You will enjoy it here. Please visit the inlands…awesome

    • I would ideally like to stay for 3 months (if I find an affordable place to live), so that I have enough time to go inland on the rivers and the rainforest and some of the mountains there. From afar, it looks like a country that has everything packed into one relatively small area, like South America in small.

  6. Suriname is paradise on earth and we would love to welcome you here so you can enjoy what we have to offer. Looking forward to your visit!

  7. Roy Bruce says:

    Thank you for your view and for this article Andreas. Suriname is very special, so are you as our visitor!

  8. iRi says:

    iRi Tours & Airport Service +(597)7413430 Paramaribo – Suriname

  9. Vic says:

    Hey! nice you added my home country to your list. It’s a pity you will only be able to visit in 6 months, because Suriname is the best place to be between Christmas and New Years! That’s when everybody joins in Paramaribo to celibrate as one big family. Renting a house in Paramaribo is pretty cheap ($200 a month), the trips to the inlands are pretty expensive though…

    • Thank you for that advice! That sounds like a good price, even affordable for a hobo like me ;-). Then I will definitely stay for 3 months.
      Is there a main website for renting apartments for this kind of timeframe in Suriname?

      If the trip to the inland re too expensive, maybe I will have to walk there then. :-)

    • Dhewi says:

      Hi we welcome you to suriname here is a website where you can fined appartment : via 2000

  10. tony says:

    happy that you are about to visit our part of the world, we are not racist, we love each other but expect the usual human problems. as in all parts of the world , don’t go out late (i mean alone in a dark part or so..), crime does exist here. be safe and enjoy our food. you should witness and see a scene when schools end for the day, or better yet when it’s the end of a year, and we celebrate it together :)

  11. Kathy says:

    What a lovely reminder of how we are an example on how to do things right and respect each other’s believes and values. When you live here, you forget that we are the exception to the rule. I love my country and we welcome you with open arms and a warm smile …….

    • Thank you very much for the warm welcome!
      The fact that the peaceful, respectful togetherness is so normal for you makes it even more beautiful.

  12. roper says:

    try to be there in Suriname on 31 of dec 2015. by 12 o clock in the afternoon the firecracker war starts. rent a room ahead in hotel krasnapolsky for the best spot on domineestraat as Downtown will turn misty and streets will be red by all the paper left after the domino fire works has stopped.. google and find it noted by cnn to be one of the places to be on earth.. don’t forget to bring a simple nose mask for all the firework burnt…

  13. Lunette Amat says:

    Andreas, I am so proud to have my origins in Suriname. From the previous comments, you can already sense the pride, warmth and love Surinamers have for their country, people and culture. As a descendant of Indonesian contract laborers, I make an effort to visit Suriname in August, when we celebrate the “Herdenking Javaanse Immigratie”. However, anytime is a good time to visit. Pls. do google the poem “Wan Bon” by Dobru; he captured the unity of Surinamers, in my opinion. I hope your visit will coincide with a festivity and that you are able to partake and join my bradas and sisas in joyful celebration. Have a great time and be safe in your travels.

  14. Paul Davies says:

    Hi i moved here in August with my Suriname wife.i am english and her family are mixed religions her parents are muslim sister christian some brothers muslim too and we all live peacefully here. And love each outher very much.Suriname people are very warm and loving people and when someone is in need they help one another.when they see someone hungry on the street they will buy food for them.i love living here. Everyone respects people’s religions here .next time you visit come visit the family you will be very welcome.and its good fishing here haha.

  15. Pingback: Die Synagoge neben der Moschee | Der reisende Reporter

  16. ffrank darthuizen says:

    yep thats my country proud to be from surinam

  17. whitney says:

    This is one of the many reasons I am so proud to be a Surinamer. We love each other and set an example to the world. Wish you could be here on the 31 of December to celebrate the festivities with us. We are looking forward to your visit and are waiting to welcome you in our country.

  18. This is quite nice to hear this from a foreigner. I always post these pics one sites just to show what SU can offer..

  19. Hedwig says:

    Hello Andreas, thanks to a cousin I could read your surprised feelings about Surinam, my native country. I´ve always commented to the dutch people that they could learn from the people in Surinam how to live together, race beside race, religion beside religion…….and maybe you could find an atheist with a magnifying-glass…….there are many differences…but the tolerance is exceptional great, maybe because there is resemblance and knowledge in background by the history… is a very contradictory country…..a beautiful land with beautiful people, rich and poor, and a sour past. Beside the history of slavery, the sitting chosen president took over the country by a coup d´état in 1980 and on his injunction 15 prominent people were killed during his dictatorship…and now chosen president…….speaking of tolerance………
    Enjoy my exceptional country, visit the inland, gather knowledge of Surinam, write an interesting book and experience the outstanding hospitality.of the surinam people.
    Good journey

    • Thank you very much!
      I am getting more and more curious with every comment. And the book might indeed be a good idea, if only I can muster the discipline for it.

  20. olettasemple says:

    So America is so diverse! I am from Guyana

    • I am looking forward to Guyana as well!

    • Shirleen says:

      My mother was born and raised in Guyana, my father in Suriname. So I can tell you that you will enjoy both countries. As a Surinamese I am really proud of my country. The people in Surinam came from all parts off the world and we have been living with each other for centuries, respecting each other and learning from each other!

  21. Sherillyn says:

    I so love my country.. Proud to be a surinamese

  22. Hey andreas,
    First of all thank you for this article! And we would love to welcome you with all our hearts into Suriname. I hope u have some fun travelling around the world and i guarantee you that your trip to Suriname will be one of the best experiences :) For some more pics, u can go to if u would like to see more of Suriname or wanne have some more information, u can send me an email:
    looking forward to your visit… Have fun and travel safe :)

  23. Tumpi Flow says:

    I am Surinamese and yet proud to be… We have atheist since I am one. But most of all I agree that many other countries can learn from us on this topic. We do have challenges other countries may not have in the amount as we experience them… I have been able to travel a lot, compare situations that can inspire and where we can learn from! But trues should be said: we are a happy family in Suriname if it comes to the diversity within believes.

    • I am looking forward to meet you when I will be in Suriname, not only to meet another atheist ;-), but also because of your travel experiences and your comparative conclusions. I am very curious!

    • Tumpi Flow says:

      Thank you as well Andreas… Just contact me and help will be provided if needed!!!
      I am way curious too

  24. Tumpi Flow says:

    Thank you so much for that article….

  25. Ann Sno says:

    Yep That is my Suriname. When the mosque has service and there is not enough parking space, the muslims are allowed to park on the yard of the jew temple. I like that.

  26. Suriname is a great country to visit. real nature, nice people, nice food, multi culture,
    you will have one of your best experiences in Suriname.
    If you want some more information about Suriname you can always visit

  27. Pingback: Suriname: little known to many, but lots to offer to the world – Elena's Miami

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