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Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao

Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour, Curaçao

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.

Zone historique de Willemstad, centre ville et port, Curaçao

Les Hollandais ont établi en 1634 un comptoir commercial dans un beau port naturel de l'île de Curaçao, dans les Caraïbes. La ville s'est développée de façon continue durant les siècles suivants. Elle comporte plusieurs quartiers historiques distincts dont l'architecture reflète aussi bien les styles des Pays-Bas que ceux des villes coloniales espagnoles et portugaises avec lesquelles Willemstad faisait du commerce.

منطقة ويلمستاد التاريخية ووسط المدينة والمرفأ وجزر الانتيل الهولندية

أنشأ الهولنديون في العام 1634 وكالة تجارية في مرفأ طبيعي في جزيرة كورساو التي تقع ضمن جزر الكاريبي. وقد نمت المدينة بصورة متواصلة في خلال العصور اللاحقة. وهي تتضمن أحياء تاريخية متميّزة تعكس هندستها الأنماط الرائجة في هولندا كما تلك المعروفة في المدن الاستعمارية الاسبانية والبرتغالية التي كانت تشهد حركة تجارية مع ويلمستاد.

source: UNESCO/ERI

荷属安的列斯群岛的威廉斯塔德、内城及港口古迹区

威廉斯塔德港口是荷兰人于1634年在加勒比海库拉索岛(Curaçao)建成的一处优良贸易港湾。这座城镇经历了几个世纪的繁荣后仍然继续发展。当代的城镇由几个截然不同的老城区构成,这里的建筑表现为欧式与荷兰风格的结合,因为在当时西班牙与葡萄牙殖民者在此从事贸易活动。

source: UNESCO/ERI

Внутренний город и гавань Виллемстада (Кюрасао, Нидерландские Антильские острова)

Голландцы основали торговое поселение в красивой естественной гавани карибского острова Кюрасао в 1634 г. В последующие столетия оно преемственно развивалось. Современный город включает несколько отдельных исторических районов, архитектура которых отражает не только европейские концепции градостроительства, но и стили, привнесенные из Нидерландов и тех испанских и португальских колониальных городов, с которыми Виллемстад был связан торговыми отношениями.

source: UNESCO/ERI

Zona histórica de Willemstad,centro de la ciudad y puerto (Antillas Holandesas)

En 1634, los holandeses establecieron una factoría comercial en un hermoso puerto natural de la isla caribeña de Curazao. La ciudad de Willemstad, creada en torno a esa factoría, fue creciendo sin cesar en los siglos siguientes. El trazado de sus diferentes barrios históricos reproduce los esquemas europeos de planificación urbana, mientras que los estilos arquitectónicos de sus edificios son un reflejo de los imperantes en los Países Bajos y en las ciudades coloniales españolas y portuguesas con las que la ciudad comerciaba.

source: UNESCO/ERI

港町ヴィレムスタット歴史地域

source: NFUAJ

Historisch deel van Willemstad, binnenstad en haven, Curaçao

De Nederlanders vestigden in 1634 een handelsnederzetting aan een mooie natuurlijke haven op het Caribische eiland Curaçao. Willemstad ontwikkelde zich in de daaropvolgende eeuwen gestaag. De moderne stad bestaat uit een aantal verschillende historische wijken waarvan de architectuur niet alleen de Europese stedenbouwkundige concepten weerspiegelt, maar ook stijlen uit Nederland en Spaanse en Portugese koloniale steden waarmee Willemstad samenwerkte. De stad onderscheidt zich door de diversiteit in vormgeving van de vier historische wijken (Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai en Scharloo), gescheiden door de open wateren van een natuurlijke haven.

Source: unesco.nl

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Historic Area of Willemstad, Inner City and Harbour
Justification for Inscription

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.

Long Description

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. The urban structure and architecture of this area are both authentic examples of colonial town planning and architecture of the period of Dutch expansion. Its cultural and historical significance stems not only from its town planning and architectural qualities as a historic port town, but is also manifest beyond the local level.

Willemstad stands out for the diversity in the historical morphology of its four historic districts (Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai and Scharloo), separated by the open waters of a natural harbour. Each district has its own distinct urban morphology resulting from successive planning concepts, but they share a unique 'tropicalized' historical architecture of Dutch origin. This area consists of a core area of Sint Anna Bay and part of the Caribbean Sea, Punda and most of Otrobanda, and two transmission areas, consisting of the urban districts of Pietermaai, Scharloo and Kortijn.

In the core area the entrance to Sint Anna Bay is protected by fortifications on both sides - the Water Fort on the Punda side and the Rif Fort on the Otrobanda side. These defensive works are important and relatively well-preserved examples of contemporary fortifications, especially when taken with other surviving defensive works that lie outside the area.

The city's historical architecture is of a strikingly genuine and colourful European origin set in a tropical environment. Nothing like it can be found elsewhere in the Dutch West or East Indies. Punda represents a dense and compact historical urban structure, reflecting its origin as a fortified town surrounded by ramparts. Pietermaai and Scharloo enjoy the relative freedom of space resulting in an open layout of streets lined by detached and often quite luxurious dwellings, whereas Otrobanda features both an open compound layout and a dense alley structure.

The island society on Curaçao owes its origin to the expansion of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. After Spain had encroached upon the island in 1499 at the expense of its indigenous inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, the Dutch took possession of it in 1634, in the period of Dutch domination of trade and the seas, and the settlement was created by the Dutch West India Company. The development of Punda began with the construction of Fort Amsterdam, designed according to the old Dutch fortification system. The fort with its five bastions was a self-contained settlement, with its own church and water supply as well as the residence of the governor and barracks for the garrison. Within each of the settlements flanking the bay there is a waterfront square, and they are linked by the famous pontoon bridge erected in 1888, officially known as the Queen Emma Bridge but better known to the inhabitants as the 'Swinging Old Lady'. Apart from two brief British occupations, the island remained Dutch colonial territory until 1955, when the Netherlands Antilles acquired self-government within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Willemstad is a typical port town, but one without a hinterland, which focused on the neighbouring Spanish, English and French colonies on the mainland of South America and in the Caribbean. Frequent trade with South America led to an exchange of goods and the reciprocal adoption of cultural elements. Curaçao therefore has an Iberian tinge as a result of the settlement of Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal in the 17th century. By 1730 the Jewish community represented 50% of the white population of Curaçao. African influences also entered the island, as Curaçao was a centre of the slave trade at one time.

Source: UNESCO/CLT/WHC
Historical Description

The island society on Curaçao (which covers some 450km2) owes its origin to the expansion of Europe in the 15th and 16th centuries. After Spain had encroached upon the island in 1499 at the expense of its indigenous inhabitants, the Arawak Indians, the Dutch took possession of it in 1634, in the period of Dutch domination of trade and the seas, and the settlement was created by the Dutch West India Company (West-lndische Compagnie - WlC). Apart from two brief British occupations (1800-3 and 1807- 16), the island remained Dutch colonial territory until 1955, when the Netherlands Antilles acquired self-government within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Willemstad is a typical port town, but one without a hinterland, which focused on the neighbouring Spanish, English, and French colonies on the mainland of South America and in the Caribbean. Frequent trade with South America (the Spanish Main) led not only to an exchange of goods but also the reciprocal adoption of cultural elements. Curaçao therefore has an Iberian tinge, not least as a result of the settlement of Sephardic Jews from Spain and Portugal, who came there in the 17th century by way of Amsterdam. By 1730 the Jewish community represented 50% of the white population of Curaçao. African influences also entered the island, since Curaçao was a centre of the slave trade at one period.

The city developed on both banks of Sint Anna Bay, which forms the narrow entrance to the sheltered inland bay of Schottegat; both are excellent deepwater harbours. Settlement started on the eastern side, known as Punda, in the 17th century. Otrobanda, on the western side, developed at the beginning of the 18th century and a little later around Waaigat, the inner bay behind an elongated peninsula facing the Caribbean.

There was some decline in the condition of the historic city in the second half of the 20th century, with the departure of many of the more prosperous members of the community, but this has now been halted and is being reversed.

Source: Advisory Body Evaluation