Country Information Sri Lanka

About 240 km south of the Indian mainland lies the small paradise island of Sri Lanka. For centuries the exotic flora and fauna attracted Arabs, Indians, Malay and Europeans - each of them transformed a piece of their own culture and thus Sri Lanka has a multicultural flair. Today, this unique flair is reflected in everyday life and can also be visited: A total of 8 sights have been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Sri Lanka!

General Information

  • Population: 20.48 million (as of 2013)
  • Capital: Colombo is the capital and the government seat is located in Sri Jayawardenepura (suburb of Colombo).
  • Religion: Buddhism (70 percent), Hinduism (16 percent), Islam (7 percent), Christianity (7 percent)
  • Languages: National languages ​​are Sinhalese and Tamil. English was also an official language until 1957 and today holds the status of a language of communication and education.

A brief look at Sri Lanka's history

Sri Lanka was ruled by various kingdoms for two thousand years. In the 16th century the island was colonized by the Portuguese and then by the Dutch. Only the Kingdom of Kandy in the highlands of Sri Lanka could defend itself against the colonizers. But this also had to be subordinated to the British Crown in 1815.

Sri Lanka served the Allies during the Second World War as a strategically important base in the struggle against the Japanese imperial empire. At the beginning of the twentieth century, the independence of the country became more and more important until Sri Lanka was declared independent by the British in 1948 after peaceful negotiations.

Since its independence, a stable democratic system has existed. However, it has to cope with strong tensions between the Sinhala population and the Tamil minority. Between 1983 and 2009 an open civil war between Tamil separatists and the central government dominated by Sinhalese prevailed. Sri Lanka has recovered well and as a traveling volunteer you will not see anything from this black era.

Climate & best travel time

Sri Lanka is one of the destinations with the best weather forecasts – especially in the European winter months! When the thermometer in Europe knocks at the minus limit, the summer temperatures in Sri Lanka remain rigid all year round. Regarding your plans for the volunteer program in Sri Lanka, you should know when the two monsoon seasons occur. From May to October it rains on the southwest coast and from October to February it rains on the east coast. Nevertheless, there may be crystal clear blue skies during the rainy season, as well as incredible rain and floods during the dry season.