Willemstad on Curaçao

Friday, 27 December 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, UNESCO World Heritage
Reading Time:  3 minutes

Penha Building from 1708 © Evandria/cc-by-sa-4.0

Penha Building from 1708 © Evandria/cc-by-sa-4.0

Willemstad is the capital city of Curaçao, an island in the southern Caribbean Sea that forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Formerly the capital of the Netherlands Antilles prior to its dissolution in 2010, it has an estimated population of 150,000. The historic centre of the city consists of four quarters: the Punda and Otrobanda, which are separated by the Sint Anna Bay, an inlet that leads into the large natural harbour called the Schottegat, as well as the Scharloo and Pietermaai Smal quarters, which are across from each other on the smaller Waaigat harbour. The city centre, with its unique architecture and harbour entry, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Tourism is a major industry and the city has several casinos. The city centre of Willemstad has an array of colonial architecture that is influenced by Dutch styles. Numerous financial institutions are incorporated in Willemstad due to Curaçao’s favourable tax policies. Archaeological research has also been developed there. Willemstad is home to the Curaçao synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas. The synagogue was built by Sephardic Portuguese Jews from Amsterdam and Recife, Brazil.

Colorful historic part of Willemstad © John Workman/cc-by-sa-4.0 Willemstad harbor © Mtmelendez/cc-by-sa-3.0 Banco di Caribe © Jim Williams/cc-by-sa-3.0-igo Fort Amsterdam © Niels Karsdorp/cc-by-sa-3.0 Penha Building from 1708 © Evandria/cc-by-sa-4.0 Queen Emma Bridge by night © flickr.com - dronepicr/cc-by-2.0 Queen Emma floating bridge © flickr.com - dronepicr/cc-by-2.0
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Colorful historic part of Willemstad © John Workman/cc-by-sa-4.0
Owing to its location near the Venezuelan oilfields, its political stability and its natural deep water harbour, Willemstad became the site of an important seaport and refinery. Willemstad’s harbour is one of the largest oil handling ports in the Caribbean. The refinery, at one point the largest in the world, was originally built and owned by Royal Dutch Shell in 1915.

The four companies comprising the Royal Dutch Shell refining operation; the actual refinery, oil bunkering, the tugboat company (KTK) and the local distribution of refined products (CurOli/Gas) were each sold to the government of Curaçao in 1985 for the symbolic sum of one guilder per company, or a total of 4 guilders and is now leased to PDVSA, the state owned Venezuelan oil company. Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil field services company is incorporated in Willemstad.

Read more on Wikivoyage Willemstad and Wikipedia Willemstad (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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