Historic Area of Willemstad, 
Inner City and Harbour (1997)
Netherlands Antilles

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The people of the Netherlands established a trading settlement at a fine natural harbour on the Caribbean island of Curaçao in 1634. The town developed continuously over the following centuries. 

The modern town consists of several distinct historic districts, whose architecture reflects not only European urban-planning concepts, but also styles from the Netherlands and from the Spanish and Portuguese colonial towns with which Willemstad engaged in trade. 

  • Map of the Caribbean Sea with the Netherlands Antilles just north of Venezuela. 

    The tiny spot "Willemstad" is marked on the map.

The historic area of Willemstad is considered a European colonial ensemble in the Caribbean of outstanding value and integrity, which illustrates the organic growth of a multicultural community over three centuries and preserves to a high degree significant elements of the many strands that came together to create it.

Netherlands Antilles 1956. World Cultural Heritage. General view of Willemstad.

Willemstad, city, port, and capital, Netherlands Antilles, West Indies, on the Caribbean Sea, southern Curaçao. It is a free port and has excellent harbor facilities. 

The principal industry is the refining and transshipment of petroleum, chiefly from Venezuela. The tourist trade is also important. Among the points of interest are Fort Amsterdam, the governor's palace, the town hall, Wilhelmina Park, an 18th-century Protestant church, and the Jewish cemetery (dating from 1650). 

The city was settled by the Spanish in 1527 and taken by the Dutch in 1634. During the 17th and 18th centuries, it was a center of the slave trade. Its later importance dates from 1916, when a petroleum refinery was established here. 

Netherlands Antilles 1999. World Cultural Heritage Stamp #1 with views of the inner city of Willemstad. Netherlands Antilles 1999. World Cultural Heritage Stamp #2 with views of the inner city of Willemstad. Netherlands Antilles 1999. World Cultural Heritage Stamp #3 with views of the inner city of Willemstad.

Link: 

Many thanks to Mr. Rob Vlaardingerbroek (The Netherlands) for all help and research. 

Other World Heritage Sites in The Netherlands (on this site). Inactive links are not described on stamps. Please refer to the UNESCO-listing, section The Netherlands, for more information on such sites. 

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Revised 21 jul 2006  
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