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A splendid commemorating glass with fine engraving of a plantation house and coffee shrubs with a text reading: Het.Welvaaren.Van.De.Plantagie.Saxen (the prosperity of the Plantation Saxen)

English or Dutch lead glass, with Dutch wheel-engraving, circa 1750

H. 22.5 cm / Diam. 9.4 cm (cup)

This glass shows that there was a German presence in Surinam, of which the scale is unknown to many.
Without doubt, the most famous German heading for Surinam must be Frankfurter Maria Sybilla Merian (1647-1717), the artist depicting the tropical flora and fauna. The Dutch historian and abolitionist Julien Wolbers (1819-1889) wrote in his book De Geschiedenis van Suriname (1861: 171-172) that the German migration to Surinam can be seen as a direct result of the migration of Germans to the Netherlands, which was highly constant over a course of four centuries. Images of a coffee plant can’t be found in the oeuvre of Meriam, because around 1720 the first coffee-trees were planted by a German-born silversmith named Hansbach.


The flourishing trade in coffee of the 18th century got the German companies focused on Surinam. For instance, Georg Heinrich Sieveking, a Hamburger merchant, imported coffee and cotton from Surinam. In the spring of 1782, he sent a ship to Surinam under Captain Rohlap, with 8.000 Deutschmark, which returned the same year with coffee, sugar, and cotton. Estimated upon arrival: 125.000 Deutschmark. This sparked more interest in Surinam by the Germans, and the Dutch made use of this by inviting them to invest or settle, since it was already hard enough for them to find enough Dutch to fully exploit the lands and enslaved people bought in Africa.


‘Saxen’ was a plantation in Surinam along the Tapoeripa creek, spanning over 500 akkers (c. 225 acres) in 1819, 300 akkers in 1827, and deserted in 1830. It was also a German-owned plantation and produced cotton and coffee. The earliest mention of an owner is J.G. Clemen, the name-giver of the Surinam family Nemelc, simply turning around his own name and giving it to his 'belongings'. In the 19th century the owners were F. C. Stolkert and R. le Chevalier. Other German plantations are Altona, Badenstein, Berlijn (Para), Berlijn (Ben.Commewijne), Bremen, Charlottenburg, Duisburg, Frankfort, Halle in Saxen, Hamburg (Cottica), Hamburg (Saramacca), Hanover, Hildesheim, Kleinhausen, Lunenburg, Maagdenberg, Mannheim, Munchenstein (Zwitserland), Nieuw-Altona, Oldenburg, Onverwacht & Duisburg, Saltzhagen and another Saxen, but Halle in Saxen.

On an important large hand-drawn map in our collection, by Heinrich Heimcke dated 1830, the plantation Saxen is indicated as 'grond van Saxen' (ground of Saxen), so called because in 1830 the plantation had just been deserted.


(Source (partially), and for more information visit: Buku – Bibliotheca Surinamica)