Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao

Since 1997 • Cultural


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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.

Justification for being a World Heritage Site

The Committee decided to inscribe this site on the basis of cultural criteria (ii), (iv) and (v), considering that the Historic Area of Willemstad is 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.