Willemstad is the capital and also the largest and most important city of the ABC island of Curacao. Although Willemstad is quite large and busy, there is a very relaxed, casual atmosphere that is illustrative of the island and its people. In fact, in addition to that atmosphere, you don't need much more to experience a wonderful holiday in the Caribbean. During your holiday in Willemstad you can enjoy beautiful beaches, a historic city center and many modern and authentic entertainment venues
Willemstad PortPhoto: Mtmelendez uit en.wikipedia.org CC3.0 Unported no changes made
Willemstad is located on the southeast side of the island, but on the west coast. From Willemstad you can easily visit the rest of the island by car or public transport. Curacao has one international airport that is located just outside Willemstad. So when you travel towards Willemstad, you will be at your destination within a few moments after landing.
Just like in the rest of the Caribbean, Willemstad has a tropical climate. The advantage is that it is nice and warm almost all year round with average temperatures around thirty degrees. In addition, the temperature in the winter months remains the same as the summer months, so you can visit Willemstad all year round. It is advised to avoid the last months of the year (October, November and December) as this is the time of the rainy season. But that is the only drawback of the wonderful tropical climate that prevails in Willemstad.
Map Curacao from 1644Photo: Public Domain
When the Spaniards looked for a new way to the Indies towards the end of the 15th century, they accidentally ended up in America and later also in the Caribbean. In 1499 the Spaniards landed on Curacao. Within 50 years, almost the entire native population had been deported into slavery. In 1634 the Netherlands conquered the island and therefore Willemstad from the Spanish. Willemstad was named after Stadtholder William II of Orange. Fort Amsterdam also dates from that time. The Netherlands has some degree of influence to this day. In recent years, Curacao has increasingly tried to disconnect from the Netherlands and nowadays there are many voices for independence.Read more:History page of Curacao.
Willemstad Street view Inner cityPhoto: Rodry 1 CC 3.0 Unported no changes
UNESCO believes that the entire city center of Willemstad is an important attraction and therefore placed it on its World Heritage List in 1997. As a result, the city center will eventually be protected against destruction. You will soon notice that the city center is also very unique. The beautiful colored houses, which are sometimes built in the typical Amsterdam canal style, are definitely worth a visit.
Willemstad Fort AmsterdamPhoto: Niels Karsdorp CC 3.0 Unported no changes made
But Willemstad has more to offer. When you travel to the capital of Curacao, as a Dutchman, you should definitely pay a visit to Fort Amsterdam. This fort is located southeast of the Sint Anna Bay and used to serve as a defense work, but also as the headquarters of the West India Company. This building was built in the 17th century by Johan van Walbeek and is now also on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
The maritime museum is located in a beautiful yellow building. Here you will gain insight into 500 years of maritime history of Curacao and the role the West India Company played in this. The story line is illustrated by means of a permanent exhibition consisting of displays with authentic sea charts, ship models and navigation equipment in combination with audiovisual techniques.
Kura Holanda WillemstadPhoto: Niels Karsdorp CCN 3.0 Unported no changes made
The Kura Holanda museum is located in Otrabanda, once the most impoverished part of Willemstad. This museum tells the story of slavery with all its horrors and also focuses on the abolition of slavery. The museum is located in a number of beautifully renovated buildings. There is also a sculpture garden and archaeological objects on display.
Willemstad Queen Emma BridgePhoto: Bjørn Christian Tørrissen CC3.0 Unported no changes made
When you go on holiday to Willemstad, you should definitely take a walk over the Queen Emma Bridge. It is located in the center of the city and is a very famous tourist attraction. It is a very unique bridge, because it floats on 16 pontoons, making it the only floating wooden swing bridge in the world.
You can also take a beautiful walk at sunset along the Sint Anna Bay. This bay forms the passage between the Caribbean Sea and the Schottegat, which is the port of Willemstad. This is one of the many parts of Willemstad where you can taste the totally relaxed atmosphere of the city. No rush, no stress, that's what this part of Willemstad radiates.
If you also love nature, then you have come to the right place in Willemstad. Both nature above water and under water is fun to visit. There are many excursions to the interior with some beautiful nature reserves and there are many diving schools where you can take lessons and rent equipment at good rates. The Caribbean Sea is brimming with exotic fish, turtles and colorful coral reefs.