Dutch Reformed Church, Kerkplein
Shortly after Suriname was conquered on the English in 1667 the Dutch government founded the Dutch Reformed church. This church acquired a central place in the city plan. Nowadays it is harder to see that town-planning aspect of the site. In the old days the church was surrounded by low buildings, nowadays it look rather small because of the large buildings that were build in the square in the 20th century.
The first building to be erected in this square, which then was called Oranjetuin (Orange garden), had the function of church for the Dutch Reformed and the Lutherans
but also that of Town Hall and Court of Police. It was not long before it was judged to small and from 1743 onwards the government services left the building. Even then, the Lutherans founded their own church around 1745.
The old domed church dating from 1810
In 1810 construction of a domed church, based on an octagonal was started, but it was lost in the big fire of 1821. It was only in 1833 that the decision was taken to build today’s church, which is clearly inspired by the octagonal domed church. Prince Willem Frederik Hendrik was present on the 5th of July 1835 at the inauguration of the church, which was finished in 1837.
A history of the Dutch Reformed Church in Suriname (in Dutch).
The church is built on a brick substructure which protrudes more that 1,5 meter outward, creating a skirt which is covered with slabs. The long façades have a mid section which protrudes a little bit and is crowned with a pediment, making one expect the entrance there rather than at the short ends. On top of the slate roof there are two small ventilation towers. Characteristic of the church are the large tilting windows which are opened during services.
The interior features two rows of four Ionic pillars and a wooden barrel vault above the central aisle. Two magnificent artefacts made in mahogany embellish the interior: an organ from 1844 and a pulpit that is slightly older.
The church has a number of graves that lay mainly at the west end around the pulpit. When the square was still called Oranjetuin (Orange garden) it was a cemetery for the well-to-do.