Welcome to Lelydorp, the charming capital city of Wanica District in Suriname. With a population of 18,663 (2012), Lelydorp is the second largest city in Suriname, after Paramaribo. Let’s take a journey through the history, culture, and attractions that make Lelydorp a unique and exciting destination.
== History ==
Lelydorp has a rich history that dates back centuries. For example, the Pad van Wanica, a road that leads from Paramaribo to the south, has been in existence for hundreds of years. The oldest part of the road, which dates back to the early 18th century, is closest to Paramaribo. It is speculated that the original inhabitants established the path. Later, a new series of land grants followed, starting with Braamshoop and ending with Halfhideslust followed by Klein Nieuwzorg. These new grounds were used almost exclusively as timber grounds.
Lelydorp was originally called Kofi Djompo but was renamed by Cornelis Lely, the Dutch governor of Suriname in 1905, and has been known as Lelydorp since then. Lely was responsible for many large water construction projects in the Netherlands. The original name Kofi Djompo is said to refer to a maroon rebel leader called Kofi, who escaped by jumping over a creek. Kofi means born on Friday. Djompo means jump.
=== Modern day Lelydorp ===
Nowadays, Lelydorp is considered a big village instead of a city. It is the main resort of the district with many shops, offices, and businesses. With a population of about 118,000 and an area of about 440 km2, Wanica is one of Suriname’s most populated and most urbanized districts. Lelydorp still needs a clear city structure and has many agricultural areas close to the center and neighborhoods.
Lelydorp is also the most important halfway stopping point between Paramaribo and Zanderij, where the Johan Adolf Pengel Airport is located. Its population consists of a mixture of Javanese, East Indian, Creoles, and Europeans. Between 1890-1939, many people from Java settled in the area. Names of roads and streets in Lelydorp, like Sumatraweg, Celebesweg, and Tawangsarieweg, are typical original names from Indonesia. The Saramacca River divides Lelydorp from Saramacca. Lelydorp is home to the Caribbean Centre, a conference center founded by Bhai. On 16 July 2010, the Neotropical Butterfly Park opened. On 7 February 2020, the Regional Hospital Wanica opened in Lelydorp.
== Notable people ==
Lelydorp is the hometown of Chan Santokhi (1959), President of Suriname, politician and former chief of police.
== Twin city ==
Lelydorp maintains international relations with the twin city of Lelystad.
== See also ==
Santigron, a Maroon village in the Lelydorp resort.
== Conclusion ==
Lelydorp is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered. Its rich history and culture, combined with its modern amenities and attractions, make it an ideal destination for travelers of all kinds. Whether you’re interested in exploring the Pad van Wanica, relaxing by the Saramacca River, or visiting the Neotropical Butterfly Park, Lelydorp has something for everyone. Come and experience the beauty and charm of this captivating city in Suriname!