Possible sequel to restoration of historical officer's dwelling

November 2005 -

The Nola Hatterman Institute (NHI) in Paramaribo held a festive re-opening on 24 October. Underprivileged youths restored the institute's historical housing under the guidance of professionals. A sequel to the project in the near future is already being discussed.


The Nola Hatterman Instituut before restoration. Photo: © 2003-2005, emAlbum

"Now the youth of Surinam have a beautiful environment in which they can study art," says a satisfied Jeroen Sprenger on his web log. He is the chairman of the Amsterdam restoration foundation Stichting Herstelling, which initiated this successful cultural development project in cooperation with Stichting Gebouwd Erfgoed Suriname (The Built Heritage Foundation Surinam).

The NHI is led by prominent Surinam artists, including Paul Woei and Julies Brandflu, and is a breeding ground for new talent. The restored former officer's dwelling in which the institute is housed was originally constructed in the seventeenth century. The building is part of Fort Zeelandia, situated in the historical centre of Paramaribo. The entire complex of extraordinary buildings was added to UNESCO's Cultural Heritage list in 2002.

The Stichting Herstelling advocates a rapid sequel to this fruitful Surinam-Netherlands cooperation. "To keep the momentum going," according to Sprenger. He has two candidates for the next restoration project: the monumental coffee warehouse on the former Peperpot plantation, and the Oranjetuin cemetery that faces it. These projects would also train new carpenters, woodworkers and bricklayers: craftsmen that are sorely needed for the restoration and conservation of Surinam's cultural heritage.

The restoration of the Nola Hatterman Institute was primarily financed by the Dutch government's HGIS culture budget. Financial support was also received from the city of Amsterdam, the province of North Holland, and the Association of Municipalities in the Netherlands.