Willemstad
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Willemstad
Willemstad
The colorful buildings of the Handelskade in Willemstad, Curaçao.jpg
Willemstad on Curaçao
Willemstad on Curaçao
Willemstad is located in Caribbean
Willemstad
Willemstad
Coordinates: 12°7?N 68°56?W / 12.117°N 68.933°W / 12.117; -68.933Coordinates: 12°7?N 68°56?W / 12.117°N 68.933°W / 12.117; -68.933
StateKingdom of the Netherlands
CountryCuraçao
Established1634
QuartersPunda, Otrobanda, Scharloo, Pietermaai Smal
Population
(2011)[1]
 o Total136,660
Official nameHistoric Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao
CriteriaCultural: ii, iv, v
Reference819
Inscription1997 (21st session)
Area86 ha
Buffer zone87 ha

Willemstad ( WIL-?m-staht, VIL-, Dutch: ['l?mst?t] ; Papiamento: [wil?m'stad]; English: William Town) is the capital city of Curaçao, an island in the southern Caribbean Sea that forms a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was the capital of the Netherlands Antilles prior to its dissolution in 2010. 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. Willemstad is home to the Curaçao synagogue, the oldest surviving synagogue in the Americas. The city centre, with its unique architecture and harbour entry, has been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

History

Punda was established in 1634, when the Dutch captured the island from Spain. The original name of Punda was de punt in Dutch. The city was constructed as a walled city.[2] It soon developed into one of the major centres of the Atlantic slave trade which triggered a rapid population growth.[3] In 1674, the Curaçao synagogue was built by Sephardic Portuguese Jews from Amsterdam and Recife, Brazil who had settled in the city as traders.[4] In the late 17th century, there were over 200 houses within the city walls.[2]

In 1675, it was decided to construct the town of Pietermaai outside of the enclosed city. It was to be separated from the city by an area of about 500 metres in which construction was not allowed as not to obstruct the canons in Fort Amsterdam.[5] In 1707, the suburb of Otrobanda was founded. Otrobanda would become the cultural centre of Willemstad. Its name originated from the Papiamentu otro banda, which means "the opposite side".[6] The suburb of Scharloo followed, however Willemstad continued to experience growth.[3] By 1818, the population of Willemstad had grown to 9,536 people.[7] On 13 May 1861, a decision was made to demolish the city walls, and built residential houses in the gap separating Willemstad from Pietermaai.[3]

Around 1925, the booming oil and phosphate industry further stimulated growth, and resulted in the creation of new neighbourhoods.[8] Between 1945 and 1955, Julianadorp and Emmastad were created by Royal Dutch Shell to house the new workers.[9] In 1985, the oil refinery which employed 12,000 people was closed down by Shell. The Government of Curaçao decided to buy the refinery for ? 1.00 and take responsibility for all future pollution claims. In 1986, it was leased to the Venezuelan PDVSA, and reopened on a limited scale.[10] In 2017, the PDVSA was hit by punitive sanctions of the United States Government,[11] and attempts have been made to seize the refinery.[10]

On 30 May 1969, the Curaçao uprising, a strike at a subcontractor of the oil refinery, turned into a riot. The riot resulted in two deaths, 300 arrests and a part of the historic centre burnt down. The Netherlands Marine Corps was sent to Willemstad and the entire city centre was closed down.[12] In 1997, the centre of Willemstad and its former suburbs were designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.[13] In the 21st century, a large scale program of renovation started.[14][15]

Willemstad in the late afternoon.

Economy

Aviation

Jetair Caribbean is the national airline of Curaçao, has its corporate head office in Maduro Plaza.[16]

Tourism

Fort Amsterdam as seen from sea

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. Archaeological research has also been developed there.[17] The city is also home to several beaches like Baya Beach.[18]

Industry

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.[19]

The four companies comprising the Royal Dutch Shell[20] 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[21] for the symbolic sum of one guilder per company, or a total of 1 guilder[22] 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.[23]

Isla Oil Refinery in Port of Willemstad photographed from Fort Nassau

Financial services

Numerous financial institutions are incorporated in Willemstad due to Curaçao's favourable tax policies.

Education

The University of Curaçao is the national university of Curaçao and located in Willemstad.[24] The Avalon University School of Medicine is located in Willemstad. The Caribbean Medical University[25] is also located in Willemstad, close to the city centre.

Sports

Major League Baseball players Jair Jurrjens, Wladimir Balentien, Jurickson Profar, Andruw Jones, Ozzie Albies, Kenley Jansen and Jonathan Schoop are from Willemstad.

In 1985, Willemstad hosted the Curaçao Grand Prix for Formula 3000. The race was won by Danish racing driver John Nielsen. Pabao Little League has appeared in nine Little League World Series, winning in 2004. They were crowned the International Champions in 2005 and 2019. In 2008, another Pabao Little League team won the Junior League World Series, after winning the Latin America Region, then defeating the Asia-Pacific Region and Mexico Region champions to become the International champion, and finally defeating the U.S. champion (West Region), Hilo American/National LL (Hilo, Hawaii), 5-2.

Infrastructure

Queen Emma bridge

Airport

Willemstad is served by Curaçao International Airport, located 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) north of the city, which is annually used by about two million passengers.

Bridges

Punda and Otrobanda are connected by Queen Emma Bridge, a long pontoon bridge. Although it is still in use, these days most road traffic now uses the Queen Juliana Bridge built in 1967 (rebuilt 1974) which arches high over the bay further inland. Nearby is also the now non-functioning Queen Wilhelmina drawbridge.

Geography

Climate

Willemstad has a hot semi-arid climate (Köppen climate classification: BSh) with very hot temperatures year round with very warm nights. Sunshine is plentiful year round. Rainfall peaks from October to December, but is extremely variable from year to year due to the influence of the El Niño Southern Oscillation.[26] Temperatures show little variation over the course of the year, with temperatures over 34 °C (93.2 °F) or under 24 °C (75.2 °F) being very rare.

Climate data for Willemstad (Hato Airport) 1981-2010
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 33.3
(91.9)
33.2
(91.8)
33.0
(91.4)
34.7
(94.5)
36.0
(96.8)
37.5
(99.5)
35.0
(95.0)
37.4
(99.3)
38.3
(100.9)
36.0
(96.8)
35.6
(96.1)
33.3
(91.9)
38.3
(100.9)
Average high °C (°F) 29.9
(85.8)
30.1
(86.2)
30.7
(87.3)
31.4
(88.5)
32.0
(89.6)
32.1
(89.8)
32.1
(89.8)
32.7
(90.9)
32.8
(91.0)
32.1
(89.8)
31.1
(88.0)
30.3
(86.5)
31.4
(88.5)
Daily mean °C (°F) 26.6
(79.9)
26.7
(80.1)
27.2
(81.0)
27.8
(82.0)
28.4
(83.1)
28.6
(83.5)
28.5
(83.3)
28.9
(84.0)
29.1
(84.4)
28.6
(83.5)
28.0
(82.4)
27.2
(81.0)
28.0
(82.4)
Average low °C (°F) 24.4
(75.9)
24.5
(76.1)
24.9
(76.8)
25.6
(78.1)
26.3
(79.3)
26.5
(79.7)
26.1
(79.0)
26.5
(79.7)
26.6
(79.9)
26.2
(79.2)
25.6
(78.1)
24.9
(76.8)
25.7
(78.3)
Record low °C (°F) 21.5
(70.7)
20.6
(69.1)
21.3
(70.3)
22.0
(71.6)
21.6
(70.9)
22.4
(72.3)
22.3
(72.1)
21.3
(70.3)
21.7
(71.1)
21.9
(71.4)
22.0
(71.6)
21.6
(70.9)
20.6
(69.1)
Average rainfall mm (inches) 46.0
(1.81)
28.8
(1.13)
14.1
(0.56)
19.4
(0.76)
21.3
(0.84)
22.4
(0.88)
41.3
(1.63)
39.7
(1.56)
49.1
(1.93)
102.0
(4.02)
122.4
(4.82)
95.5
(3.76)
602.0
(23.70)
Average rainy days 8.5 5.5 2.5 2.4 2.2 3.3 6.3 4.6 4.7 8.1 10.9 11.4 70.4
Average relative humidity (%) 78.5 78.2 77.3 78.2 77.9 77.5 78.1 77.8 78.1 79.6 80.6 79.5 78.4
Mean monthly sunshine hours 264.7 249.6 271.8 249.4 266.3 266.7 290.4 302.5 261.7 247.8 234.7 247.1 3,152.7
Percent possible sunshine 73.8 75.2 72.8 67.0 67.9 70.8 73.3 78.2 71.6 67.4 67.6 69.8 71.3
Source: Meteorological Department Curaçao[27]

Notable residents

Gallery

References

  1. ^ "Curaçao". City Population. Retrieved 2021.
  2. ^ a b "Pietermaai Suburb". Curaçao History. Retrieved 2021.
  3. ^ a b c Benjamins & Snelleman 1917, p. 747, .
  4. ^ "Curacao Virtual Jewish History Tour". Jewish Library. Retrieved 2021.
  5. ^ Michael A. Newton (1990). "Architectuur en monumentenzorg". De Gids (in Dutch). p. 658.
  6. ^ Benjamins & Snelleman 2017, p. 747: Dutch: Overzijde English: Opposite side
  7. ^ Benjamins & Snelleman 1917, p. 749.
  8. ^ Buurtprofiel Steenrijk (2011). "Buurtprofiel Steenrijk" (PDF). Government of Curaçao (in Dutch). p. 9. Retrieved 2021.
  9. ^ "Ontwikkeling huisvesting op Curaçao door Shell". National Archive of Curaçao (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  10. ^ a b "Het rottend hart dat Curaçao splijt: wat moet het eiland met zijn vuile raffinaderij?". de Volkskrant (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  11. ^ "Curacao oil refinery takeover: Good for jobs, bad for climate?". Al Jazeera. Retrieved 2021.
  12. ^ "Curaçao Trinta di Mèi". Dutch National Archive (in Dutch). Retrieved 2021.
  13. ^ "Historische Wijken". Curacao.com. Retrieved 2021.
  14. ^ Buurtprofiel Scharloo (2011). "Buurtprofiel Scharloo" (PDF). Government of Curaçao (in Dutch). p. 10. Retrieved 2021.
  15. ^ "The local SOHO on Curaçao:The Pietermaai District". Dolfijn Go. Retrieved 2021.
  16. ^ "General conditions" (Archive) Insel Air. Retrieved on 21 March 2014. "Our Registered Address is Dokweg 19, Maduro Plaza, Willemstad, Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles."
  17. ^ "Willemstad : a road to a methodical way of conducting archaeological research for Curaçao by Amy Victorina". Manioc.org. 2011-07-25. Retrieved .
  18. ^ "Baya Beach". Cruisebe. Retrieved 2021.
  19. ^ "Curaçao Investment Corp page describing the refinery". Retrieved 2008.
  20. ^ Shell, Willemstad page.
  21. ^ "Refinery deal in Curaçao". New York Times. 1985-09-26.
  22. ^ Op 23 september van dat jaar deed Shell, na maandenlange onderhandelingen met de Antilliaanse en Nederlandse regeringen, de raffinaderij aan de Buscabaai alsmede de tankopslag, het sleepbootbedrijf en de lokale verkoopmaatschappij voor een gulden per bedrijf, dus in totaal vier gulden, 'met alle lusten en lasten' over aan de Nederlandse Antillen en Curaçao. nrc.ln/nieuws
  23. ^ "Schlumberger N.V. - Company Information".
  24. ^ "University of Curaçao". Dutch Culture. Retrieved 2021.
  25. ^ Caribbean Medical University, official website.
  26. ^ Dewar, Robert E. and Wallis, James R; 'Geographical patterning in interannual rainfall variability in the tropics and near tropics: An L-moments approach'; in Journal of Climate, 12; pp. 3457-3466
  27. ^ "Summary of Climatological Data, Period 1981-2010" (PDF). Meteorological Department Curaçao. Retrieved 2017.
  28. ^ "K. Agustien". Soccerway. Retrieved 2019.
  29. ^ Goldish 2002, p. 15.
  30. ^ Bruns, Peter. "Een Antilliaans jurist van de wereld". Retrieved 2020.
  31. ^ "Hooi, Elson". National Football Teams. Retrieved 2020.
  32. ^ "Andruw Jones Stats, Fantasy & News MLB.com".
  33. ^ "Jonathan Schoop #7". MLB.com. Retrieved 2021.

Bibliography

External links


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