Reliving history at Fort Nieuw Amsterdam

Fort Nieuw Amsterdam is located at the junction of the Suriname river and the Commewijne river. It was supposed to be a barricade to protect the crops from the river between 1734 to 1747. The materials for construction were supplied by the Netherlands and built by the slaves. It was also a former sugar cane plantation. In the second world war, the Americans along with the Dutch helped defend Suriname from the Germans. The Germans were interested in the supply of aluminum from Suriname.

Suriname maintained the fort and made it an outdoor museum for people to explore and learn about the colonial and slavery period.

HOW TO GET THERE:
Paramaribo to Nieuw Amsterdam: From the center, we took a 10 to 15-minute taxi ride going to Leonsberg ferry port for 25-30 SRD (4 US) and a 10-minute ferry ride to Nieuw Amsterdam for 50 SRD (7 US). 50 SRD is the standard rate for the whole boat, so the more passengers, the cheaper.

DSC_1299
Leonsberg port

DSC00902

DSC00912
Commewijne District waterfront

DSC00918From the Nieuw Amsterdam (Commewijne) waterfront, we had a short 5-minute walk going to the fort and passed by several American cannons along the way. It is a lot easier if you have a bicycle to ride around the area. Some tourists would rent a bike in the city and bring it with them on the ferry.

DSC00920

STROLLING ALONG THE FORT
We paid an entrance fee of 12.50 SRD (1.50 US) and were welcomed by a group of nicely arranged cannons, mortars and cannon balls near the gate.

DSC00927

The next attraction in the fort is the kruitkamer or the old powder room. It was used as a storehouse for gun powders, but when the Dutch realized that it was too small for storage, they converted it as an ammunition warehouse.

A collection of memorabilia: old photos of soldiers and veterans along with their stories are kept inside the building.

DSC00929

DSC01057

DSC00933

Just on the left side of the kruitkamer are funeral coaches or hearses from the 19th century. During a funeral, the color of the hearse would depend on the social status of the deceased. Locals said that a black hearse was used by the poor while the white one was for the rich.

DSC00947

There are also large sugar kettles or kappas scattered all over the place. In the plantation period, slaves were forced to cook sugar canes in these big iron pots by constant stirring until it produce sugar.

DSC00951

DSC00962

The trail to the right led to a renovated plantation house. Unfortunately, the building was closed and there’s nothing much to see in there.

DSC00956

We came to a Dutch-designed building that was completed in 1778, it was used as the second gunpowder storehouse. There was an exposition about slavery in the building. What also made this building attractive are the big lily pads floating next to it.

DSC00996

There are canals around the fort that serve as a dwelling place for snakes and crocodiles, so it is best to avoid these areas. Some visitors were advised to wear protected boots before going to the fortress, but for those who were not informed, it is still best to stay away from such spots. Don’t worry, it’s not that bad.

DSC00994
Water reservoirs that used to supply water to soldiers and prisoners

This building was changed into a detention camp in 1872. The Germans that were captured when their ship sank during the World War II and a number of people from the Dutch colonies in India were imprisoned here. In 1967, it became a correctional facility. There are four isolation rooms where prisoners were confined as punishment. It has a wooden plank that served as a bed and one small window. Those who were placed in the isolation room wore only their underwear and were kept there for 7 days with bread and water to eat.

The rooms are now used as multimedia exhibit halls about slavery and plantation houses in Suriname.

DSC00978

DSC00972
Isolation rooms
DSC00975
These are the names and numbers of slaves brought to Suriname

Behind the fort are cottages where visitors can relax and have picnics. There is also a small playground for children to enjoy. It is like reliving the past and at the same time enjoying the beauty of the surroundings.

DSC01014
Cannons facing the river
DSC01016
An abandoned light ship that served as a guide for ships to locate the Suriname river

Most of the information provided in the area was written in Dutch, the rest in English. The outdoor museum allows people to look back at one of the most interesting parts of Suriname history. For history buffs, this is a place you should not miss.

GOING BACK TO THE CITY
Nieuw Amsterdam to Paramaribo: We decided to take the bus from the fort with a 10-minute walk to the bus stop. The bus comes every now and then, so you don’t have to wait that long. From Nieuw Amsterdam (Commewijne) to Meerzorg Terminal took about 30 to 45 minutes and we only paid 2.25 SRD per person.

We waited for quite some time at the terminal because the bus needs to be full before it can leave. It took us another 10 to 15-minute bus ride (depending on the traffic) from Meezorg to Paramaribo (downtown) for a 0.85-cent fare. All in all, we spent around 70 SRD (10 US) going to Nieuw Amsterdam and only 3.10 SRD going back. Taking the bus back and forth is a lot cheaper and fun, but it is crowded and will take a long time to get to your destination.

Location: Wilhelminastraat, New Amsterdam, Commewijne, Suriname
Opening time: Weekdays: 09:00am to 5:00pm; Saturday, Sunday and holidays: 10:00am to 6:00pm

Sources:
Fort Nieuw Amsterdam
Wikipedia

Save

7 Comments

  1. Paige Strand

    July 21, 2016 at 5:29 PM

    Beautiful imagery! 🙂 Thanks for showing us this.

    1. Deb

      July 21, 2016 at 6:04 PM

      You’re welcome Paige, and thanks for dropping by!

  2. BellionTravel

    July 23, 2016 at 3:12 PM

    Beautiful pictures <3 love your blog

    1. Deb

      July 23, 2016 at 5:14 PM

      Thank you 😀

  3. Maria

    September 30, 2016 at 9:18 PM

    Hallo im a filipina married to a dutch we are living across nieuw amsterdam called plantage rust en werk

    1. Deb

      October 8, 2016 at 9:32 PM

      Hello Maria! We’ve been to Nieuw Amsterdam once, it was such a beautiful place. How long have you been staying here in Suriname?

  4. Our Thing | A Real Messy Beautiful Twisted Sunshine

    February 3, 2017 at 11:10 PM

    […] February 3, 2017 ~ Pancake Bunnykins © The Gypsy Soul Diaries […]

Comment

%d bloggers like this: