Located on the Caribbean Island of Curacao is the Historic port town of Willemstad that was established by colonial Netherlands. The Dutch established trading routes in the Caribbean and the Americas using the natural harbor at Curacao Island. This would lead to settlement of various communities in the area.
Located on the Caribbean Island of Curacao is the Historic port town of Willemstad that was established by colonial Netherlands. The Dutch established trading routes in the Caribbean and the Americas using the natural harbor at Curacao Island. This would lead to settlement of various communities in the area. Today, it is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site that illustrates organic growth of multicultural community in a period of 3 centuries. The site preserves a high degree of elements that came together to create a cohesive community.
Willemstad is principally outstanding due to the historical morphology of its 4 districts including Scharloo, Otrobanda, Punda and Pietermaai. The districts are separated by open waters of a natural harbor. Each district is distinct in that it follows its own urban planning layout. The only similarity is seen in the tropicalized architecture from Dutch. Willemstad can further be classified as follows:
- The Core area of St Anna Bay and part of the Caribbean Sea – This area features fortifications on both sides; with the Water fort at the Punda side and Rif Fort at the Otrobanda Side. The defensive fortifications are relatively new and well preserved compared to other defensive fortifications in the area.
- Punda and Otrobanda as the transmission areas
- The urban districts of Pietermaai, Kortijn and Scharloo
Points of interest in the City
- Fort Amsterdam
- The Queen Emma Bridge (Swinging Old Lady)
- St Anna Bay
- Rif Fort
- Water Fort
- The settlements in each of the above mentioned districts
Being a typical port town without a hinterland, Willemstad focused on the neighboring French, English, French and Spanish Colonies with mainland in the continental South America to survive. The frequent trade exchanges slowly brought the cultural elements from South America. Curacao’s Iberian tinge is credited to the settlement f Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 17th century. Their population grew so rapidly that by 1730, 50 % of the white population in Curacao was made of the Jews. At one time, Curacao was a center of slave trade. The slaves from African Western Coast would also have some influence on the Curacao culture.
All these interactions made Curacao one of the richest Caribbean regions culturally. The only world cultures that are not represented here are from Asia. All the other continents are well represented. Why don’t you visit this port town and see what I am going on about?