Fort Amsterdam

Gouvernementsplein, Willemstad, Curaçao

With its remarkable historic buildings dating back almost four centuries, it is perhaps not surprising that much of Willemstad has been included as part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The city was long the center of Dutch power in the Caribbean, and it is now the capital of Curaçao. It all began, however, with Fort Amsterdam, constructed in 1634. The typical white and yellow buildings reflect the adaptation of Dutch styles to the Caribbean climate. Here, some of the walls do talk—the cannonball from a British ship lodged in the exterior wall of the church within the fort speaks to a long history of European conflicts playing out in the Caribbean. The church is still used for weekly services while the fort also houses the office of the island’s governor (appointed by the king of the Netherlands) and other administrative offices.

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