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Treasures of the World

Willemstad

Willemstad, Little Amsterdam in the Caribbean, Netherlands Antilles

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Willemstad is the capital of the Caribbean island of Curacao. It was founded some 350 years ago by Jewish settlers who had fled to Amsterdam first of all to escape the Spanish Inquisition and then found a new home on Curacao. In those days the Dutch crown used the island as a base for its slave trade and for engaging in a little piracy. Today the descendants of the slaves make up a large proportion of the local population. There also many Dutch from the mother country involved in business on Curacao. With its brightly coloured houses, "Little Amsterdam" is a popular destination for cruise ships – and for money slipped past the taxman. Emissions from the downtown oil refinery are another less than salubrious aspect. Yet behind its historic façade, Willemstad presents itself as a picture of innocence.



09.09.2002 | 18:30 UTC |

10.09.2002 | 00:30 UTC | 6:30 UTC | 12:30 UTC