Willemstad, Netherlands Antilles Tourist Attractions
The city of Willemstad is the capital of the Netherland Antilles. The city is known for it's duty free shopping which attracts many tourists.This port city has a long history and hundreds of historical buildings which have been preserved. There are also many museums and galleries in Willemstad which make it a fun and interesting city to explore and a good place to learn about the history of the Netherland Antilles.
Created in 1659, Beth Haim in Willemstad is one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the Americas.
St Jorisbaai islet is an excellent spot to sight frigate birds. This is also a popular spot for kite surfing.
The first houses built in Otrobanda in the early 18th C. were similar architecturally to the plantation houses on the island. The ground floors provided commercial space, while the upper floors were residential. The streets and alleys twist and turn through this district.
The Curaçao Museum is located in a renovated 1853 hospital. The museums displays antique furnishings which are laid on the upper floor which is done up as a 19th Century mansion. The basement floor deals with early history, including geological information and displays on the islands First inhabitants.
Kurà Hulanda Museum
The Kurà Hulanda Museum traces the slave trade in the Americas from capture to resettlement. The museum reconstructs the history and culture of African slaves from daily living to artwork.
St Annabaai, Schottegat
St Annabaai, the natural bay around which Willemstad was built, divides the districts of Punda and Otrobanda. The bay then branches out as Schottegat and Waaigat. There are many bridges in Willemstad to span these waters.
Pietermaai, the first expansion of Willemstad, is home to 18th C. Dutch Colonial mansion which are now being restored as offices.
Punda is the oldest part of Willemstad. It is where the founding merchants built offices, warehouses, stores and living quarters.
Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue
Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the New World, was established by Sephardic Jews of Portuguese descent. The Sephardim built the first synagogue on the site in 1674, but expanded in 1703 and 1732 to accommodate the growing congregation.
Address: Box 322, Netherlands Antilles
Jewish Cultural Historical Museum
Jewish Cultural Historical Museum in Willemstad, attached to the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, displays Torah scrolls, Hanukkah lamps and personal and household items from hundreds of years of the congregation's history.
Fort Amsterdam was originally built to guard Willemstad's harbor. However, the Fort is now the seat of the Netherlands Antilles Government.
Fort Church Museum
The Protestant Fort Church, opened in 1769, has a museum in the back. On display are artifacts such as silver chalices and a mahogany baptismal font, with records of the congregation going back hundreds of years.
Numismatic Museum in Willemstad exhibits a large collection of coins from The Netherlands Antilles, with a changing display of currency from other countries. The museum also houses a collection of precious and semi-precious stones.
The district of Scharloo is home to 18th C. mansions built in the neo-classical style, but with differences in details.
Curaçao Maritime Museum
The Curaçao Maritime Museum contains antique maps, charts, nautical equipment and ship models. It relates more than 500 years of Curaçao's history, emphasizing the role shipping has played over the centuries.
Curaçao gave The Roosevelt House as a gift to the United States as a gesture of thanks for their efforts during World War II. It is currently the U.S. Consul General's residence.
Map of Willemstad Attractions