Suriname: Dutch & Surinamese National Archives renew cooperation
On Tuesday 5 October the National Archives of the Netherlands (NAN) and the National Archives of Suriname (NAS) signed a new Working Program on archival cooperation for the period 2021-2024. The Working Program is further specifying the agreements made in the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between NAN and NAS, which was signed in March 2021.
Suriname and the Netherlands have been working closely together for many years. In 2017 the project ‘Return Archives to Suriname’ was concluded, in which 800 meters of Surinamese archives (formed by the Dutch administration in Suriname) were restored, digitized and transferred to the National Archives of Suriname. In recent years the Surinamese slave registers were made available online on the websites of NAN and NAS, in cooperation with the Radboud University (Nijmegen) and Anton de Kom University of Suriname (Paramaribo).
In the Working Programme arrangements are made for future cooperation in the field of conservation, digitization, exchange of knowledge and capacity building. In the years to come, more archives from the 19th and 20th centuries will be restored, digitized and published online, like the civic records of Suriname and the migration registers of indentured labourers from China, India, Java and the West-Indies. By combining the data from the Slave registers and these other Surinamese archives it will be possible to follow the lives of persons after they became free and to ask questions about the effects of slavery on their later lives and on the lives of their descendants.
The National Archives of the Netherlands offers training programmes in the field of conservation/restoration of archives and records management. Through cooperation, NAN and NAS aim to encourage the sustainable conservation of documentary heritage and to improve and enlarge the accessibility of relevant archives.