The Surinamica Collection of the Allard Pierson was formed in the 1980s upon the realization that many printed works about Suriname or created by Surinamese authors were present in the UvA library. An enterprise to systematically list these objects, dating from the sixteenth century up to now, was commissioned by the Institute for the Advancement of Suriname Studies Foundation (IBS). In 1995 these objects were listed in a thematic printed catalogue. Afterwards, the collection has been enriched with objects from, among others, the collection of the Dutch School Museum and from the collections of the Theatre Institute Netherlands (TIN).
The Surinamica Collection is a unique thematic collection including objects from severa collecting areas, including cartography, geography and travel, natural history, church and religious history, and Jewish cultural history. The collection comprises printed books, manuscripts, photographs, prints, maps, archival materials, and more. Through early colonial travel narratives, colonial descriptions of land and people, natural history studies, literary works and illustrative matter the collection documents and visualizes the relationship between the Netherlands and Suriname.
The intellectual interest in collecting in and about Suriname for educational and research purposes is colonially charged and can be explained by the historical relationship of the Allard Pierson with the city of Amsterdam, which in turn was responsible for making Suriname profitable as a stakeholder in the Society of Suriname. The collection can therefore be seen as an archive of the colonial relationship between the Netherlands and Suriname.
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