All Stories

Suriname - Jodensavanne Archaeological Site World Heritage

Located on the densely forested banks of the Suriname River, the Jodensavanne Archaeological Site in northern Suriname is a serial property that illustrates early Jewish colonization attempts in the New World. The Jodensavanne Settlement, founded in the 1680s, includes the ruins of what is believed to be the earliest synagogue of architectural significance in the Americas, along with cemeteries, boat landing areas, and a military post. The Cassipora Creek Cemetery is the remnant of an older settlement founded in the 1650s. Located amidst Indigenous territory, the settlements were inhabited, owned, and governed by Jews who lived there together with free and enslaved persons of African descent. The settlements had the most extensive arrangement of privileges and immunities known in the early modern Jewish world.

Description is available under license CC-BY-SA IGO 3.0

Jodensavanne Cemetery
Write comment (0 Comments)

Renewed website Jodensavanne Foundation

The Surinamese Jodensavanne Foundation has launched a renewed website to highlight the special Jewish heritage of the Cassipora Creek and Jodensavanne communities.

Both settlements are an exceptional testimony of a Jewish civilization within the Atlantic Sephardic Diaspora that has disappeared. They are situated in a rural setting at a frontier zone amidst Indigenous territory, and with ample physical remnants. Both the Cassipora Creek and Jodensavanne villages  are entirely unparalleled in the Jewish diaspora. Established in the 1650s and 1680s, respectively, these sites constituted the only villages in the world at the time that were owned, governed, and inhabited by Jews

The Jewish community of Jodensavanne functioned for approximately 150 years, from the 1680s through the first half of the nineteenth century. In early modernity, Suriname was home to the largest Jewish community in the Americas, with 1.500 residents at its peak in the late eighteenth century, constituting one quarter of the Jewish population in the Americas.

Website Jodensavanne Foundation
Write comment (0 Comments) launch

Press release

17 December 2020
A portal about shared funerary heritage worldwide

The Dutch Foundation launches the bilingual website ( about funerary heritage in former Dutch colonies, posts and fortifications worldwide. With the portal, the foundation wants to map shared funerary heritage abroad, give researchers and stakeholders the opportunity to share knowledge and to present it to a wide audience.

Dutch Cemetery, Nagasaki (Photo, Leon Bok)
Write comment (1 Comment)

Suriname - Documentation monuments Coronie

On Thursday 19 May 2022, a team from the Built Heritage Suriname Foundation (SGES) paid a working visit to the Coronie district to inspect and document some historic graves on the Bellevue plantation. The reason for this is the report that some old graves on the plantation are said to have been damaged as a result of work on the Oost-Westverbinding.

Documentatie grafmonumenten Coronie
Write comment (0 Comments)

Jodensavanne on YouTube

The Jodensavanne Foundation (Suriname) has posted short videos (in Dutch) of up to three minutes on YouTube that show the special value of Jodensavanne, the longest-functioning autonomous Jewish settlement in the Americas. Board members Harrold Sijlbing and Stephen Fokké, together with the young archaeologists Sushmeeta Ganesh and Jovan Samson, take the viewer through the history of this special place in the Surinamese rainforest and the ongoing research.

Afrikaans-Creoolse begraafplaats Jodensavanne
Write comment (0 Comments)

Burial Grounds over Borders: online lectures ICOMOS

Does conserving of these burial grounds over borders requires commitment from both Dutch and local stakeholders? And how have the meanings given to these burial grounds changed over the time?

We look forward to discuss this topic with our four speakers: René  ten Dam, Leon Bok, Johan Roozer and Nanette de Jong on 9 December 2020.
Please find the program below.

You can register by sending an e-mail to . After this you will receive additional information on how to participate in the Livecast (via Zoom). Please note that the event will be recorded. 

Nieuwe Oranjetuin (foto René ten Dam, 2017 CC-BY-NC-ND)
Write comment (0 Comments)

Suriname - Major cleaning Nieuwe Oranjetuin

At the initiative of the District Commissioner Mr. Ricardo Bhola, the highest administrative officer (Burgervader) of the North-East Paramaribo district, preparations are currently being made for a phased clean-up of the overgrown Nieuwe Oranjetuin cemetery. Support is being received from Johan Roozer of the Directorate of Culture and Stephen Fokké, director of the Suriname Built Heritage Foundation (SGES), a beekeeper, the bee service of the Fire Brigade, Public Green Space, the Administrative Service and the Corps of Penitentiary Officials (KPA).

Drone photo of the Nieuwe Oranjetuin (Stephen Fokké)
Write comment (0 Comments)

Short documentary ‘Dutch Coromandel – Rise and fall’

Independent filmmaker Ghouse Samadh was born in Srinivasapuram in India, but love brought him to the Netherlands. His homeland has remained in his heart, especially the environment and history. A history that the Netherlands shares with India. To give his Dutch-born children something of his own childhood and the shared history of the Netherlands and India, Samadh made a documentary about the Dutch heritage in India.

Still documentary
Write comment (2 Comments)

India - Nagapattinam restoration

In 2014 Hans Schiebroek started funding on the restoration on the Karikop cemetery in the city of Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu, India. In 2017 the Dutch Dodenakkers Foundation (stichting and the Cultural Heritage Agency of the Netherlands (RCE) were asked by the Prins Bernard Cultuur Fonds to advise on this project. Together with the Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) a workshop was organised on the possible restoration of the big tomb of Anthonia Steelant-Nilo and the obelisk of Adriana Mossel-Appels.

Sadly, Mr. Schiebroek passed away in 2018, and the Dodenakkers Foundation took over his initiative. A restoration architect, Mr. Sakthi Murugan Rajendran, was found and Dr. S. Suresh from INTACH would supervise the project. Funding was to be done by the Prins Bernard Cultuur Fonds.

Write comment (0 Comments)

Suriname - Historic Cemeteries platform launched

PARAMARIBO - Many old cemeteries have been neglected or overgrown. The realization that there is historical value is still insufficient when looking at how this funerary heritage is handled. A lot of money is needed for the maintenance of old cemeteries.

The Platform Historical Cemeteries was set up for the structural approach and maintenance of the old cemeteries. "Together we are strong. By working together, however cliché that may sound, you can achieve more. It is important that this sector is now better organized", says Johan Roozer, policy advisor at the Ministry of Education and Culture. He is the initiator of this project together Stephen Fokké from the Suriname Built Heritage Foundation (SGES).

Nieuwe Oranjetuin (foto René ten Dam, 2017 CC-BY-NC-ND)
Write comment (0 Comments)

About Us

Shared Cemeteries is all about (former Dutch) funerary heritage all over the world and is a non-profit partnership committed to sharing knowledge and information.