According to UNESCO, “Outstanding Universal Value means cultural and/or natural significance which is so exceptional as to transcend national boundaries and to be of common importance for present and future generations of all humanity. As such, the permanent protection of this heritage is of the highest importance to the international community as a whole.” In order to be considered of Outstanding Universal Value, a property must meet one or more World Heritage Criteria.
These criteria are explained in the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention which, besides the text of the Convention, is the main working tool on World Heritage. The criteria are regularly revised by the Committee to reflect the evolution of the World Heritage concept itself.
OUV selection criteria:
Paramaribo is a former Dutch colonial town dating from the 17th and 18th centuries planted on the Northeastern coast of tropical South America. Composed of mainly wooden buildings, the plain and symmetrical architectural style illustrating the gradual fusion of Dutch and other European architectural and later North American influences as well as elements from Creole culture, reflects the multi-cultural society of Suriname.
The historic inner city is located along the left bank of the Suriname River and is defined by the Sommelsdijkse Kreek to the north and the Viottekreek to the south. Laid out from 1683 on a grid pattern along an axis running north-west from Fort Zeelandia, the main streets follow shell ridges which provided a naturally drained base for building. At the end of the 18th century, Dutch engineering and town planning skills enabled the town to be extended over marshy land to the north. Important elements in the townscape are Fort Zeelandia built in 1667 and the large public park (Garden of Palms) behind it, wide, tree-lined streets and open spaces; the Presidential Palace (1730) built in stone but with a wooden upper floor, the Ministry of Finance (1841) a monumental brick structure with classical portico and clock tower, the Reformed Church (1837) in Neoclassical style, and the Gothic Revival Roman Catholic Cathedral (1885) built in wood.