Text in Dutch or English by: Michiel van Kempen

Design by: Henrik Barends

Picture-editor: Adriaan Monshouwer

Publisher: Uitgeverij Voetnoot, Amsterdam/Antwerpen.

ISBN-nummer: 90-71877-12-6 (English version)

ISBN-number: 90-71877-11-6 (Dutch version)


In Surinam, a country in the north of South-America, 5 different ethnic people are living who all still have traditional storytellers but also modern writers.

The 5 different ethnic people are: the Hindustani, originally from India; the Javanese, originally from the island of Java, Indonesia; the Caraïbes, the people originally from the Surinam area; the Saramakaners and the Creoles, descendants from the African peoples.

In this photobook a traditional storyteller and a modern writer from each ethnic group is being presented.

In extensive photo-series the daily life of each storyteller or writer is documented, as well as the actual storytelling or the writing. The stories of the storytellers and writers have been recorded in the original language and are published in this photobook together with a translation in the Dutch language or in English.


To make this photobook, Michel Szulc-Krzyzanowski worked in Surinam in 1991 during several months.

In September 1992 a selection of the pictures and the texts were published in the weekly “Vrij Nederland”.

The 3rd of October 1992 the photobook “Woorden die diep wortelen” and “Deep rooted words” were presented with an exhibition of the pictures in the Canon Image Centre in Amsterdam, Holland.

Part of the edition of this photobook was donated to the Surinam Museum in Paramaribo, Surinam, thanks to financial support of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In this museum in Paramaribo, Surinam, an exhibition was organised of the pictures from the photobook “Woorden die diep wortelen” / “Deep rooted words”.

These pictures were also donated to the collection of the museum. The museum sold the donated photobooks within a few days. The profit was used to cover the operation costs of the museum for the next 12 months.

In Holland, this photobook was sold out within 6 weeks.

How to purchase

“Woorden die diep wortelen”, the version in the Dutch language, is sold out and a collectors item.

“Deep rooted words” is still available exclusively from Michel Szulc-Krzyzanowski.

For information send an e-mail here.