It starts again 15 minutes later and along with several other locals, I huddle beneath one of the shop awnings – they all seem to have one as if they prepared for the frequent rain spurts a century ago when some of these shops were likely built. Today they are far from old in appearance despite the fact that the brightly colored plastered blocks that attach shop after shop are mostly worn away. Architecture everywhere throughout Willemstad, Curacao’s capital and only major city, is bright and colorful, including its government buildings. Given its size, most of what you want to see in Willemstad is easily walkable — from markets, shopping and restaurants, to historical sites. I was in photography heaven as I approached the entrance to historical Fort Amsterdam, which was built in by the Dutch West India Company. Apparently, it not only served as a military fort but also as the headquarters of the DWIC and was the main of eight forts on the island.

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ReddIt Did you know that there are plenty of things to do in Willemstad? You would be surprised! Here is just a small taste of what this lovely city has to offer. The Charm of Willemstad Willemstad in Noord Brabant has the charm of a storybook village with a small historic quaint harbor where multimillion euro yachts are snugly parked side-by-side. Within a few meters of the dock is a row of restaurants where you can overlook the harbor while enjoying a quiet relaxing lunch, dinner or a beer.

Downtown Willemstad was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in and is definitely worthy of an afternoon of exploration. To continue a very colorful afternoon in town, we dropped in at Landhuis Chobolobo, home to the original Blue Curaçao Liqueur.

Founded in by the Dutch West India Company, it has always been a port and cosmopolitan trade enclave. Yet it is much more than history, it is a flourishing duty-free shopping enclave and if this isn’t enough, the open-air cafes gracing its busy squares are the perfect place to soak up the ambiance. Known as the Handelskade, the bustling waterfront is the site of Fort Amsterdam, the garrison built in to guard the approaches to Sint Anna Bay and Schottegat harbor.

It soon became the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company and is now the seat of the government of the Netherlands Antilles. The Fortkerk garrison church houses a small museum. The city’s two most important districts are Punda, to the east of the harbor, and Otrobanda to the west. The bay is spanned by the Queen Emma Bridge, a floating pontoon bridge that has been operating since , Queen Wilhelmina Bridge and the Queen Juliana Bridge You can explore the city at your own pace and if you want to know more about its history sign up for a heritage walking tour with a knowledgeable guide.

Other options are a trolley train ride through Punda and Scharloo or a harbor cruise from the Curacao Maritime Museum. The sand-covered floor is a symbol of the biblical journey through the Sinai Desert and the Spanish Inquisition when it was used to muffle the sound of services. A Jewish Cultural Museum is located next to the synagogue. The oldest part of Willemstad, the Punda the Point in Papiamento district dates from the 17th century and grew up around Fort Amsterdam in a grid plan.

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What it is, what it does, and why some countries are planning on leaving it. Count William II built a castle there in , around which several buildings came to be clustered, and these became the principal residence of the counts of Holland. An artificial lake, the Hofvijver, just to the north of the Binnenhof, was dug about and still forms one of the many attractions of the city.

A commercial district grew up around the Binnenhof in the 13th and 14th centuries, and it survives on shopping streets such as Venestraat, Spuistraat, Gravenstraat, and Hoogstraat. In the 16th century Holland became the chief centre of Dutch resistance to Spanish Habsburg rule, and in William I , stadtholder of the Netherlands, made The Hague his capital.

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From the early 9th century, the territory of the country which is today known as The Netherlands was part of Frisia, which covered the whole coastal area from southern Denmark in the east to Flanders in the west. Under the partition of imperial territories agreed at Thionville in , Frisia was assigned to Charles, eldest son of Emperor Charles I [1] , before reverting to the emperor on his son’s early death in After , the territory of the future Netherlands became the northernmost part of the kingdom of Lotharingia, created under the treaty of Verdun which finally settled the lengthy disputes between the sons of Emperor Louis I.

The county of Holland was the western part of The Netherlands, stretching approximately from the island of Texel in the north to Dordrecht in the south. The county is first referred to by the name “Holland” in a charter dated [2] , although the name “Holtlant” wood-land , referring to a place in the area of Leiden, appears once in a 9th century charter which lists the property of St Maarten’s church [3]. The name “Holland” is now frequently used to refer to the whole nation of The Netherlands, but this is incorrect, similar to saying “England” when one wishes to refer to “Great Britain”.

The present document sets out the dukes and counts of Frisia, the counts of Holland, and the counts of the adjacent counties which were eventually incorporated into The Netherlands. The earliest recorded duke of Frisia was Radbod. Frisia marked the northern boundary of the kingdom of Austrasia, although it is unclear how much of the territory was effectively controlled by the Merovingian Frankish kings.

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Print Print Vacationing with your youngsters was easy. If they got tired of culture, a neighborhood park was fun. Watching squirrels and birds was a blast. Twenty somethings are more of a challenge to keep them amused.

The main island of the Antilles is where Curacao Blue hails from; the country sounds awesome already, doesn’t it? Truly enough, this chunk of Caribbean heaven is unique for its Dutch heritage. The.

On the western side of the island, you’ll find rolling hills and the tallest peak Mount Christoffel. Towards the east, the terrain becomes flatter with attractions like Table Mountain. Interestingly, there is not a single pond, lake or river with freshwater throughout the entire island. To see more of the map, widen your browser.

Attractions The southeastern part of the map, in and around the city of Willemstad, offers a variety interesting attractions for vacationers. Be sure to stop by Fort Amsterdam, which promises to transport visitors back in time with architecture dating back to the s. The fort is located at the base of the Queen Emma Bridge, which connects the two sides of Willemstad. Situated on the opposite side of the bay from Fort Amsterdam, visitors can check out Rif Fort.

This structure was once used to protect the island from invading pirates, and now stands as a renovated structure complete with live music, fine dining and charming shops. Maps Those interested in getting in touch with nature should consider the Curacao Underwater Marine Park, just southeast of Willemstad. This haven for snorkelers and divers boasts multiple shallow wrecks, as well as a beautiful combination of both hard and soft coral formations.

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Thinkstock; Corbis; Getty Images These three island jewels situated barely off the coast of Venezuela are as distinctly different from one another as diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. They share a common history of war, slavery, and occupation, and Dutch influence is unmistakable on all three. The case for Aruba By far the best-known island of the three, Aruba buzzes with activity. Picture long stretches of white sand beaches dotted with high-rise resorts and hotels.

With its rich architectural history and the cultural diversity, which has influenced the island in the course of the centuries, Willemstad is a delightful site to experience. Click Tag(s) for.

Solivagant UK – May – 2. However the initial view from the sea as we entered by ship was perhaps the highlight — it is certainly memorable and seemed to augur better for things to come. Beyond however lies a large and ugly oil refinery and freight shipping terminal. All 3 are walkable within half a day. The old Riffort which adjoins this has been turned into a restaurant and shopping arcade within the shell of its walls.

Perhaps the best thing about Otrabanda is the view of Punda on the other side and of the pontoon bridge. During the red flag a free ferry operates and is quite fun to ride. As you cross the bridge you get views of the government buildings and of the most striking block of buildings facing the harbour photo.

One of these, the Penha building, is dated But closer examination reveals that some of the other structures are modern ones and, as one moves away, one enters streets of pretty non-descript or even poor quality buildings. Large areas of this former Jewish merchant area are very run down or even collapsing but money is also being invested in what could potentially be a very nice area to live and do business in.

It was here that our spirits were lifted somewhat by the sight of some fine and well restored mansions.

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The island’s capital town and main port is well known for the lovely coloured houses and buildings which were built in the Dutch architectural style from around onwards when the Dutch captured the islands of Curacao , Aruba and Bonaire from the Spanish. The first building was Fort Amsterdam which today is the Government headquarters. The earlier east side of the town dating from onwards is called Punda meaning “The point”.

The west side of the town is called Otrobanda meaning “The other side” and dates from onwards.

Kura Hulanda Museum is an anthropological museum that is part of a complex in the Otrobanda District (the side of St. Anna Bay where ships on Caribbean cruises dock) of the capital city of respected history museum in Curacao is set on the site of a former slave trading yard.

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Search 25 Best Tropical Islands Tropical islands offer the perfect setting for a relaxing getaway that will let you recharge in a beautiful setting with palm trees and colorful sunsets. Here are some of the best tropical places to visit on vacation. Incredibly, each of the 90 resorts in the Maldives is situated on its own island. From the remarkable undersea restaurant of Conrad Maldives Rangali Island to the Four Seasons Maldives annual surfing championship on KudaHuraa, there is plenty to see and do.

Visitors will find terrific diving and snorkeling around scads of coral house reefs inhabited with colorful marine life.

Curaçao has the oldest active Jewish congregation in the Americas, dating to The Curaçao synagogue is the oldest synagogue of the Americas in continuous use, since its completion in on the site of a previous synagogue.

Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State’s web site at http: In , however, Aruba requested and received from the Netherlands a cancellation of the agreement that would have granted independence in It remains under Dutch protection and, unofficially at least, is still referred to as an integral part of the Antilles group.

The islands are a fascinating blend of Afro-Spanish-Dutch culture—a tapestry of sites, peoples, and languages. The countryside is rich in history, and in natural marvels which draw increasing numbers of tourists each year to these jewels in the sun. Shell pulled out in , and the Venezuelan petroleum company took over operation of the refinery. The total number of American citizens residing on the island fluctuates but is in the neighborhood of 1, English is spoken and understood to one degree or another by a large percentage of the local population; Papiamentu is the language of daily life.

Dutch architecture predominates in the older sections of the city. Homes in the suburbs are more modern and spacious. Utilities The city water supply consists exclusively of distilled, potable sea-water.

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Penstraat 34 This truly magnificent restored 18th-century manor is located directly on the beach, oceanfront. Hidden behind beautiful old mahogany trees it is an estate that has so much privacy that the location is even a little unknown in Curacao. The main house features 3 large bedrooms and three huge bathrooms, all with whirlpool tubs and separate showers.

The large kitchen features a gas ‘chefs stove’ and all modern appliances. The dining area is covered by old, Dutch tiles, sent to the Island as ballast in sailing ships. A large entry- way and living room feature high ceilings and a media room is located just off this foyer.

Penstraat This truly magnificent restored 18th-century manor is located directly on the beach, oceanfront. Hidden behind beautiful old mahogany trees it is an estate that has so much privacy that the location is even a little unknown in Curacao.

The Historic Area of Willemstad is an example of a colonial trading and administrative settlement. Starting with the construction of Fort Amsterdam in on the eastern bank of Sint Anna Bay, the town developed continuously over the following centuries. Punda, the oldest part of the city, was built in the 17th century on the eastern side of Sint Anna Bay, adjacent to Fort Amsterdam and is the only part of the city that had a defense system consisting of walls and ramparts. The other three historic urban districts Pietermaai, Otrobanda, and Scharloo date from the 18th century.

Water Fort and Rif Fort, also included in the inscribed property, were built in the late s as part of a more extensive series of fortifications. In the midst of the historic area is a natural deep-water harbor. The entire property encompasses 86 ha and is surrounded by an 87 ha buffer zone. The architecture of Willemstad has been influenced not only by Dutch colonial concepts but also by the tropical climate and architectural styles from towns throughout the Caribbean region, with which the settlement engaged in trade.

Early residences constructed in Punda followed Dutch urban design. In the 18th century, local materials and craftsmanship as well as new architectural elements, such as galleries, began to appear. As the city expanded beyond Punda, the architectural style of the residences evolved. For example, the development of Otrobanda was not restricted by ramparts and houses were built on spacious lots and resembled plantation houses surrounded by galleries.

The result is a European architectural style with regional adaptations in a rich array of Caribbean colors. The colorful buildings of Willemstad are a local tradition dating from when the previous style of white lime finish on a building exterior was prohibited, apparently to protect eyesight from the glare.

Willemstad Curacao Harbour Approach