'Overzichtskaart van het Zendings- en Kerkewerk der Evangelische Broedergemeente (Hernhutters) in Suriname', 1960

This map shows the missionary work of the Moravian Church in Suriname around 1960. The map contains a legend that not only refers to the locations of ministers and evangelists, but also indicates other institutions, such as hospitals, schools and boarding schools. In addition, the presence of infrastructure and geographic features is clearly depicted on the map. For example, not only the location of railways and canals is indicated, but also places where there are rapids or where the coastline changes into woodland. The future construction of the Brokopondo reservoir is also shown on the map around the course of the Suriname River.

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'Overzichtskaart van het Zendings- en Kerkewerk der Evangelische Broedergemeente (Hernhutters) in Suriname', 1960
© Zeister Zendingsgenootschap

This map thus represents the established presence of Dutch missionaries in Suriname. It also clearly shows how the geographical distribution of missionaries has been affected by geological aspects, such as the course of rivers. The Moravians were one of the first independent missionary organizations to conduct missions outside Europe. They operated from Zeist and were active worldwide, but Suriname was a spearhead of their activities. As early as 1735 missionaries in Suriname were active among ‘the Indians’ and Maroons, but until 1830 they were forbidden to engage in missions among slaves.

This drawn black-and-white map of Suriname was published by the Zeister Mission Society in the Commemoration issue 225 years Suriname mission, compiled by Rev. J.J. Legêne in 1960. The Zeister Mission Society was founded by the Moravians in 1793 and was mainly known in the Netherlands for its missionary work in Suriname. Today the Moravians have about 60,000 members in Suriname. This booklet of 12 pages also carries the well-known motto from Matthew 28: 19-20 (see also the World map of Christian missions). Photos and text provide an overview of missionary work, as well as medical care.