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Hotels of Curaçao

A hotel on Curaçao is an establishment that provides lodging paid on a short-term basis. Facilities provided may range from a basic bed and storage for clothing, to luxury features like en-suite bathrooms. Larger on Curaçao hotels may provide additional guest facilities such as a swimming pool, business centre, childcare, conference facilities and social function services. Hotel rooms on Curaçao are usually numbered (or named in some smaller hotels and B&Bs) to allow guests to identify their room. Some Curaçao hotels offer meals as part of a room and board arrangement. Hotel operations vary in size, function, and cost. Most Curaçao hotels and major hospitality companies that operate hotels on Curaçao have set widely accepted industry standards to classify hotel types. General categories include the following:

Upscale luxury hotels on Curaçao
An upscale full service hotel facility on Curaçao that offers luxury amenities, full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and the highest level of personalized and professional service. Luxury Curaçao hotels are normally classified with at least a Four Diamond or Five Diamond status or a Four or Five Star rating depending on classification standards.

Full service hotels on Curaçao
Full service Curaçao hotels often contain upscale full-service facilities with a large volume of full service accommodations, on-site full service restaurant(s), and a variety of on-site amenities such as swimming pools, a health club, children's activities, ballrooms, on-site conference facilities, etc.

Historic inns and boutique hotels on Curaçao
Boutique hotels of Curaçao are smaller independent non-branded hotels that often contain upscale facilities of varying size in unique or intimate settings with full service accommodations. Curaçao boutique hotels are generally 100 rooms or less. Some historic inns and boutique hotels on Curaçao may be classified as luxury hotels.

Focused or select service hotels on Curaçao
Small to medium-sized hotel establishments that offer a limited amount of on-site amenities that only cater and market to a specific demographic of Curaçao travelers, such as the single business traveler. Most Curaçao focused or select service hotels may still offer full service accommodations but may lack leisure amenities such as an on-site restaurant or a swimming pool.

Economy and limited service hotels on Curaçao
Small to medium-sized Curaçao hotel establishments that offer a very limited amount of on-site amenities and often only offer basic accommodations with little to no services, these facilities normally only cater and market to a specific demographic of travelers, such as the budget-minded Curaçao traveler seeking a "no frills" accommodation. Limited service Curaçao hotels often lack an on-site restaurant but in return may offer a limited complimentary food and beverage amenity such as on-site continental breakfast service.

Guest houses and B&Bs on Curaçao
A bed and breakfast on Curaçao is a small lodging establishment that offers overnight accommodation and inclusive breakfast. Usually, Curaçao bed and breakfasts are private homes or family homes offering accommodations. The typical Curaçao B&B has between 4 and 11 rooms, with 6 being the average. Generally, guests are accommodated in private bedrooms with private bathrooms, or in a suite of rooms including an en suite bathroom. Some homes have private bedrooms with a bathroom which is shared with other guests. Breakfast is served in the bedroom, a dining room, or the host's kitchen. Often the owners of guest house themselves prepare the breakfast and clean the rooms.

Hostels on Curaçao
Curaçao hostels provide budget-oriented, sociable accommodation where guests can rent a bed, usually a bunk bed, in a dormitory and share a bathroom, lounge, and sometimes a kitchen. Rooms can be mixed or single-sex, although private rooms may also be available. Hostels are often cheaper for both the operator and occupants; many Curaçao hostels have long-term residents whom they employ as desk agents or housekeeping staff in exchange for experience or discounted accommodation.

Apartment hotels, extended stay hotels on Curaçao
Extended stay hotels are small to medium-sized Curaçao hotels that offer longer term full service accommodations compared to a traditional hotel. Extended stay hotels may offer non-traditional pricing methods such as a weekly rate that cater towards travelers in need of short-term accommodations for an extended period of time. Similar to limited and select service hotels, on-site amenities are normally limited and most extended stay hotels on Curaçao lack an on-site restaurant.

Timeshare and destination clubs on Curaçao
Curaçao timeshare and destination clubs are a form of property ownership also referred to as a vacation ownership involving the purchase and ownership of an individual unit of accommodation for seasonal usage during a specified period of time. Timeshare resorts on Curaçao often offer amenities similar that of a Full service hotel with on-site restaurant(s), swimming pools, recreation grounds, and other leisure-oriented amenities. Destination clubs of Curaçao on the other hand may offer more exclusive private accommodations such as private houses in a neighborhood-style setting.

Motels on Curaçao
A Curaçao motel is a small-sized low-rise lodging establishment similar to that of a limited service hotel, but with direct access to individual rooms from the car park. Common during the 1950s and 1960s, motels were often located adjacent to a major road, where they were built on inexpensive land at the edge of towns or along stretches of highways. They are still useful in less populated areas of Curaçao for driving travelers, but the more populated an area becomes the more hotels fill the need. Many of Curaçao motels which remain in operation have joined national franchise chains, rebranding themselves as hotels, inns or lodges.

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Travelling and vacation on Curaçao

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Curaçao
Curaçao (Dutch)
Kòrsou (Papiamento)
Flag of Curaçao
Coat of arms of Curaçao
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: Curaçao
Himno di Kòrsou
Location of  Curaçao  (circled in red)in the Caribbean  (light yellow)
Location of Curaçao (circled in red)

in the Caribbean (light yellow)

Capital
and largest city
Willemstad
 / 12.117; -68.933
Official languages
  • Dutch
  • Papiamentu
  • English
Demonym Curaçaoan
Sovereign state Kingdom of the Netherlands
Government Unitary parliamentary representative democracy under constitutional monarchy
• Monarch
Willem-Alexander
• Governor
Lucille George-Wout
• Prime Minister
Eugene Rhuggenaath
Legislature Estates of Curaçao
Autonomy within the Kingdom of the Netherlands
• Established
10 October 2010 (dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles)
Area
• Total
444 km (171 sq mi)
Population
• January 2016 estimate
158,986
• Density
358/km (927.2/sq mi)
GDP (PPP) 2012 estimate
• Total
US$3.1 billion (184th)
• Per capita
US$20,020 (46th)
GDP (nominal) 2012 estimate
• Total
US$5.6 billion (149th)
• Per capita
US$36,165 (27th)
HDI (2012) 0.811
very high
Currency Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)
Time zone AST (UTC−4)
Drives on the right
Calling code +599 9
ISO 3166 code CW
Internet TLD .cw, .an
  1. .an has been discontinued

Curaçao (/ˈkʊrəs/ KUR-ə-sow or /ˈkjʊərəs/ KEWR-ə-sow; Dutch: Curaçao, pronounced [kyːraːˈsʌu̯]; Papiamentu: Kòrsou) is a Lesser Antilles island country in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, approximately 65 kilometres (40 miles) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

It was formerly called Curaçao and Dependencies (1815–1954) and the Country of Curaçao (Dutch: Land Curaçao; Papiamento: Pais Kòrsou); it includes the main island of Curaçao and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"). It has a population of over 150,000 in an area of 444 square kilometres (171 square miles), and its capital is Willemstad.

Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, Curaçao was administered as the "Island Territory of Curaçao" (Dutch: Eilandgebied Curaçao, Papiamentu: Teritorio Insular di Kòrsou), one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.

Curaçao: Etymology

Map from 1562 with Curaçao indicated as Qúracao.

In the 16th and 17th centuries, sailors on long voyages would get scurvy from lack of vitamin C. According to some accounts, Portuguese sailors who were ill were left at the island now known as Curaçao. When their ship returned, they had recovered, likely cured from scurvy, probably after eating fruit with vitamin C. From then on the Portuguese referred to this as Ilha da Curação (Island of Healing). "Another explanation is that it is derived from the Portuguese word for heart (coração), referring to the island as a centre in trade." Unstressed o in Continental Portuguese are usually pronounced [u], so the Portuguese word for heart, coração, is actually pronounced [kurɐsãw]. Spanish traders took the name over as Curaçao, which was followed by the Dutch.

Another explanation is that Curaçao was the name by which the indigenous peoples of the island identified themselves, their autonym. (Joubert and Van Buurt, 1994). Early Spanish accounts support this theory, as they refer to the indigenous peoples as Indios Curaçaos, or "healing Indians."

From 1525 the island was featured on Spanish maps as Curaçote, Curasaote, and Curasaore. By the 17th century it appeared on most maps in Portuguese as Curaçao or Curazao. On a map created by Hieronymus Cock in 1562 in Antwerp, the island was referred to as Qúracao.

Curaçao: History

Map of Curaçao in 1836

The original inhabitants of Curaçao were Arawak peoples. Their ancestors had migrated to the island from the mainland of South America, likely hundreds of years before Europeans arrived. They were believed to have migrated from the Amazon Basin.

The first Europeans recorded as seeing the island were members of a Spanish expedition under the leadership of Alonso de Ojeda in 1499. The Spaniards enslaved most of the Arawak as their labour force. They sometimes forcibly relocated the survivors to other colonies where workers were needed. In 1634, after the Netherlands achieved independence from Spain, Dutch colonists started to occupy the island. European powers were trying to establish bases in the Caribbean.

The Dutch West India Company founded the capital of Willemstad on the banks of an inlet called the 'Schottegat.' Curaçao had been ignored by colonists, because it lacked gold deposits. The natural harbour of Willemstad proved to be an ideal spot for trade. Commerce and shipping-and piracy-became Curaçao's most important economic activities. In addition, in 1662 the Dutch West India Company made Curaçao a centre for the Atlantic slave trade, often bringing slaves here for sale elsewhere in the Caribbean and on the mainland of South America.

Sephardic Jews with ancestors from the Iberian Peninsula settled here with the Dutch and in then-Dutch Brazil; they have had a significant influence on the culture and economy of the island. Some Jewish merchants were part of the Dutch colonial slave trade, as were a wide variety of people involved in trade and shipping.

In the Franco-Dutch War, Count Jean II d'Estrées planned to attack Curaçao. His fleet - 12 men of war, three fireships, two transports, a hospital ship, and 12 privateers - met with disaster, losing seven men-of-war and two other ships when they struck reefs off the Las Aves archipelago. They had made a serious navigational error, hitting the reefs on 11 May 1678, a week after setting sail from Saint Kitts. Curaçao marked the events by a day of thanksgiving, celebrated for decades into the 18th century, to commemorate the island's escape from being invaded by the French.

Although a few plantations were established on the island by the Dutch, the first profitable industry established on Curaçao was salt mining. The mineral was a lucrative export at the time and was a major factor for the island being part of international commerce.

Dutch architecture along Willemstad's harbour

Many Dutch colonists grew affluent from the slave trade, and the city built impressive colonial buildings. Curaçao architecture blends Dutch and Spanish colonial styles. The wide range of historic buildings in and around Willemstad has resulted in the capital being designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Landhouses (former plantation estates) and West African style kas di pal'i maishi (former slave dwellings) are scattered all over the island. Some have been restored and can be visited.

In 1795, a major slave revolt took place under the leaders Tula Rigaud, Louis Mercier, Bastian Karpata, and Pedro Wakao. Up to 4000 slaves on the northwest section of the island revolted. More than one thousand slaves took part in extended gunfights. After a month, the slave owners suppressed the revolt.

Curaçao's proximity to South America resulted in interaction with cultures of the coastal areas. For instance, architectural similarities can be seen between the 19th-century parts of Willemstad and the nearby Venezuelan city of Coro in Falcón State. The latter has also been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In the 19th century, Curaçaoans such as Manuel Piar and Luis Brión were prominently engaged in the wars of independence of Venezuela and Colombia. Political refugees from the mainland (such as Simon Bolivar) regrouped in Curaçao. Children from affluent Venezuelan families were educated on the island.

Luis Brión, a Curaçao-born Venezuelan admiral

During the 18th and 19th centuries, the island changed hands among the British, the French, and the Dutch several times. In the early 19th century, Portuguese and Lebanese migrated to Curaçao, attracted by the business opportunities. Stable Dutch rule returned in 1815 at the end of the Napoleonic wars, when the island was incorporated into the colony of Curaçao and Dependencies.

The Dutch abolished slavery in 1863, bringing a change in the economy with the shift to wage labour. Some inhabitants of Curaçao emigrated to other islands, such as Cuba, to work in sugar cane plantations. Other former slaves had nowhere to go and remained working for the plantation owner in the tenant farmer system. This was an instituted order in which the former slave leased land from his former master. In exchange the tenant promised to give up for rent most of his harvest to the former slave master. This system lasted until the beginning of the 20th century.

Historically, Dutch was not widely spoken on the island outside of colonial administration; its use increased in the late 19th and early 20th century. Students on Curaçao, Aruba, and Bonaire were taught predominantly in Spanish until the late 19th century. There were also efforts to introduce bilingual popular education in Dutch and Papiamentu in the late 19th century (van Putte 1999).

When oil was discovered in the Maracaibo Basin town of Mene Grande in 1914, the fortunes of the island were dramatically altered. In the early years, both Shell and Exxon held drilling concessions in Venezuela, which ensured a constant supply of crude oil to the refineries in Aruba and Curaçao. Crude oil production in Venezuela was inexpensive. The integrated companies Shell and Exxon controlled the entire industry from pumping, transporting and refining to marketing the end product. The refineries on Aruba and Curaçao operated in global markets and were profitable partly because of the margin between the production costs of crude oil and the revenues realized on products. This provided a safety net for losses incurred through inefficiency or excessive operating costs at the refineries.

Curaçao experienced an economic downturn in the early 1980s. Shell's refinery on Curaçao operated with significant losses from 1975 to 1979, and again from 1982 to 1985. Persistent losses, global over-production, tougher competition, and low market expectations threatened the future of the Shell refinery in Curaçao. In 1985, after a presence of 70 years, Royal Dutch Shell decided to end its activities on Curaçao. Shell's announcement came at a crucial moment; the fragile economy of Curaçao had been stagnating for some time. Several revenue-generating endeavours suffered even more during this period: tourism from Venezuela collapsed after the devaluation of the bolivar, the transport industry deteriorated with deleterious effects on the profits of the Antillean Airline Company, and the Curaçao Dry Dock Company experienced major setbacks. The offshore industry (financial services) also experienced a downturn because of new tax laws in the US.

In the mid-1980s, Shell sold the refinery for the symbolic amount of one Antillean guilder to a local government consortium. The aging refinery has been the subject of lawsuits in recent years, which charge that its emissions, including sulfur dioxide and particulate matter, far exceed safety standards. The government consortium currently leases the refinery to the Venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

Due to an economic slump in the late 1990s and early 2000s, emigration to the Netherlands has been high.

On 1 July 2007, the island of Curaçao was due to become a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. On 28 November 2006, this was delayed when the island council rejected a clarification memorandum on the process. A new island council ratified this agreement on 9 July 2007. On 15 December 2008, Curaçao was scheduled to become a separate country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (as Aruba and the Netherlands Antilles were). A non-binding referendum on this plan took place in Curaçao on 15 May 2009, in which 52 percent of the voters supported these plans.

The dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles came into effect on 10 October 2010. Curaçao became a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, with the Kingdom retaining responsibility for defence and foreign policy. The kingdom was also to oversee the island's finances under a debt-relief arrangement agreed between the two. Curaçao's first prime minister was Gerrit Schotte. He was succeeded in 2012 by Stanley Betrian, ad interim. After elections in 2012 Daniel Hodge became the third prime minister, on 31 December 2012. He led a demissionary cabinet until 7 June 2013, when a new cabinet under the leadership of Ivar Asjes was sworn in. The prime minister between 31 August 2015 and December 2016 was Ben Whiteman. The current Prime Minister is Hensley Koeiman.

Curaçao: Forts

When the Dutch arrived in 1634, they built forts at key points around the island to protect themselves from foreign powers, privateers, and pirates. Six of the best preserved forts can still be seen today:

  • Waterfort (1634)
  • Fort Amsterdam (1635)
  • Fort Beekenburg (1703)
  • Fort Nassau (1797)
  • Riffort (1828)
  • Piscadera Bay Fort (built between 1701–1704)

In 1957, the Hotel Van der Valk Plaza Curaçao was built on top of the Waterfort.

The Riffort contains restaurants, and shops. It is located on the opposite side of the Waterfort across the entrance to the harbour. In 2009, the Renaissance Curaçao Resort and Casino opened next to the Riffort.

Curaçao: Geography

Map of Curaçao
A detailed map of Curaçao from the Encyclopaedie van Nederlandsch West-Indië 1914–1917.

Curaçao, as well as the rest of the ABC islands and also Trinidad and Tobago, lies on the continental shelf of South America, and is thus geologically considered to lie entirely in South America. Curaçao's highest point is the Sint Christoffelberg 375 m (1,230 ft). The coastlines bays, inlets and hot springs offer an on-site source of natural mineral, thermal or seawater used in hydrotherapy and mesotherapy, making this island one of many balneoclimateric areas in the region.

Curaçao: Flora

The flora of Curaçao differs from the typical tropical island vegetation. Xeric scrublands are common, with various forms of cacti, thorny shrubs, evergreen, and the watapana tree, called divi-divi on Aruba, characteristic for the ABC islands and the national symbol of Aruba.

Curaçao: Fauna

Curaçao: Climate

Curaçao has a tropical savannah climate (Köppen climate classification As) with a dry season from January to September and a wet season from October to December. The temperatures are relatively constant with small differences throughout the year. The trade winds bring cooling during the day and the same trade winds bring warming during the night. The coolest month is January with an average temperature of 26.5 °C (80 °F) and the warmest month is September with an average temperature of 28.9 °C (84 °F). The year's average maximum temperature is 31.2 °C (88 °F). The year's average minimum temperature is 25.3 °C (78 °F).

Curaçao lies outside the hurricane belt, but is still occasionally affected by hurricanes, as for example Hazel in 1954, Anna in 1961 Felix in 2007 and Omar in 2008. A landfall of a hurricane in Curaçao has not occurred since the United States National Hurricane Center started tracking hurricanes. Curaçao has, however, been directly affected by pre-hurricane tropical storms several times; the latest which did so were Tomas in 2010, Cesar in 1996, Joan-Miriam in 1988, Cora and Greta in 1978, Edith and Irene in 1971 and Francelia in 1969. Tomas brushed Curaçao as a tropical storm, dropping as much as 265 mm (10.4 in) of precipitation on the territory, nearly half of the annual precipitation in one day. This made Tomas one of the wettest events in the island's history, as well as one of the most devastating; its flooding killed two people and caused over NAƒ60 million (US$28 million) in damage.

Curaçao: Geology

The northern sea floor drops steeply within 60 m (200 ft) of the shore. This drop-off is known as the "blue edge".

On Curaçao, four major geological formations can be found: The lava formation, the Knip formation, the Mid-Curaçao formation and Limestone formations.

Curaçao: Government

Map of the European Union in the world with overseas countries and territories and outermost regions

The government of Curaçao takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic country. The Prime Minister is the head of government. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament.

The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature.

Convicted felons are held at the Curaçao Centre for Detention and Correction prison.

Curaçao has full autonomy on most matters, with the exceptions summed up in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands under the title "Kingdom affairs".

Curaçao: Military

Two Dutch naval bases, Parera and Suffisant, are located on the island of Curaçao. Officers of the Arubaanse Militie complete further training on Curaçao.

Located at the west side of Curaçao International Airport there are hangars for the two Bombardier Dash 8 Maritime Patrol Aircraft and two AgustaWestland AW139 helicopters of the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard. This was until 2007 a naval airbase of the Royal Netherlands Navy who operated the base for 55 years. With a wide variety of aircraft in the past years Fireflies, Avengers, Trackers, Neptunes, Fokker F-27's, P-3C Orions, Fokker F-60's and several helicopters. After the political decision to sell all Orions the airbase wasn't needed anymore.

The west end of the airport is a USAF Forward Operating Location (FOL). The base hosts AWACS and transport aircraft. Until 1999 the USAF operated a small fleet of F-16 fighters from the FOB

Curaçao: Conscription

Suffisant Naval Base has facilities for conscription in the Caribbean, which has not been military conscription since 1997, but social conscription. This type of conscription offers underprivileged Antillean young people the chance of taking professional training.

Curaçao: Economy

Curaçao has an open economy, with tourism, international trade, shipping services, refining, storage (oil and bunkering) and international financial services being the most important sectors. Curaçao's economy is well developed and supports a high standard of living, ranking 46th in the world in terms of GDP (PPP) per capita and 27th in the world in terms of nominal GDP per capita. Curaçao possesses a high income economy, as defined by the World Bank. Activities related to the port of Willemstad (like the Free Trade Zone) make a significant contribution to the economy. To achieve the government's aim to make its economy more diverse, efforts are being made to attract more foreign investment. This policy, called the 'Open Arms' policy, features a heavy focus on information technology companies.

Curaçao: Tourism

View of Piscadera Fort and Bay

While tourism plays a major role in Curaçao's economy, it is less reliant on tourism than other Caribbean countries. Most tourists originate from the Netherlands, Eastern United States, South America and other Caribbean Islands . It currently leads the Caribbean in cruise tourism growth with 610,186 cruise passengers in 2013, a 41.4% increase over the prior year. Hato International Airport received 1,772,501 passengers in 2013 and recently announced capital investments totaling US$48 million aimed at transforming the airport into a regional hub by 2018.

The island's insular shelf has a sharp drop-off known as the "Blue Edge." Scuba diving tourists often visit for this vista. Coral reefs for snorkeling and scuba diving can be reached without a boat. The southern coast has calm waters as well as many small beaches, such as Jan Thiel and Cas Abou. The coastline of Curaçao features numerous bays and inlets which serve as popular mooring locations for boats.

Some of the coral reefs are affected by tourism. Porto Marie Beach is experimenting with artificial coral reefs in order to improve the reef's condition. Hundreds of artificial coral blocks that have been placed are now home to a large array of tropical fish.

The Curaçao Sea Aquarium and the Dolphin Academy share this islet on the west coast of Curaçao, with Seaquarium Beach nearby.

Curaçao: Labour

In 2013, the unemployment rate was 13%.

Curaçao: Financial services

Curaçao's history in financial services dates back to World War I. Prior to this period, the financial arms of local merchant houses functioned as informal lenders to the community. However, at the turn of the century, Curaçao underwent industrialization, and a number of merchant houses established private commercial banks. As the economy grew, these banks began assuming additional functions eventually becoming full-fledged financial institutions.

The Dutch Caribbean Securities Exchange is located in the capital of Willemstad, as is the Central Bank of Curaçao and Sint Maarten; the latter of which dates to 1828. It is the oldest central bank in the Western Hemisphere. The island's legal system supports a variety of corporate structures and is a corporate haven. Though Curaçao is considered a tax haven, it adheres to the EU Code of Conduct against harmful tax practices. It holds a qualified intermediary status from the United States Internal Revenue Service. It is an accepted jurisdiction of the OECD and Caribbean Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering. The country enforces Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism funding compliance.

Curaçao: Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act

On June 30, 2014, Curaçao was deemed to have an Inter- Governmental Agreement (IGA) with the United States of America with respect to the "Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act" of the United States of America.

The Model 1 Agreement (52 Pages) recognizes the Kingdom of the Netherlands and states that the agreement relates to Curaçao. This agreement recognizes the following:

The Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with respect to Taxes, which was signed in Washington on 17 April 2002 between the Government of the Netherland Antilles with respect to Curaçao and the Government of the United States of America.

The exchange of Notes between the Governments via the respective Ministry of Foreign Affairs "dated 31 October 2014 and 4 November 2014 between the Parties regarding the application of the TIEA in light of the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles" of which Curaçao was a member country.

At March 27, 2017, the US Treasury site discloses that the Model 1 agreement and related agreement were "In Force" on August 3, 2016.

Curaçao: Trade

Curaçao trades mainly with the United States, Venezuela, and the European Union. It has an Association Agreement with the European Union which allows companies which do business in and via Curaçao to export products to European markets, free of import duties and quotas. It is also a participant in the US Caribbean Basin Initiative allowing it to have preferential access to the US market.

Curaçao: Prostitution

Prostitution in Curaçao is legal only for foreign women who get a temporary permit to work in the large open-air brothel called "Le Mirage" or "Campo Alegre" that has operated near the airport since the 1940s, and for the men (locals included) who make use of their services. Curaçao monitors, contains and regulates the industry. The government states that the workers in these establishments are thereby given a safe environment and access to medical practitioners. This approach does exclude local women (or men) to legally make a living from prostitution and does lead to loss of local income as the foreign prostitutes send or take most of their earnings home.

The U.S. State Department has cited anecdotal evidence claiming that,"Curaçao...[is a] destination island... for women trafficked for the sex trade from Peru, Brazil, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Haiti, according to local observers. At least 500 foreign women reportedly are in prostitution throughout the five islands of the Antilles, some of whom have been trafficked." The US Department of State has said that the government of Curaçao frequently underestimates the extent of human trafficking problems.

Curaçao: Demographics

Births and deaths

Year Population Live births Deaths Natural increase Crude birth rate Crude death rate Rate of natural increase TFR
2009 1,898 1,114 784 12.9 7.6 5.3 2,038
2010 2,032 1,246 786 13.7 8.4 5.3 2,199
2011 1,974 1,276 698 13.1 8.5 4.6 2,076
2012 2,039 1,240 793 13.4 8.2 5.2 2,168
2013 152,760 1,959 1,200 709 12.7 8.1 4.6 2,052
2014 1,963 1,370 593 12.6 8.8 3.8 2.009
2015 1,874 1,398 476 11.9 8.8 3.1 1.863

Structure of the population

Structure of the population (01.07.2013) (Estimates) :

Age Group Male Female Total %
Total 70,342 83,479 153,821 100
0–4 4,919 4,615 9,534 6.20
5–9 4,824 4,648 9,472 6.16
10–14 5,362 5,028 10,390 6.75
15–19 5,510 5,377 10,886 7.08
20–24 4,165 4,371 8,536 5.55
25–29 3,672 4,403 8,075 5.25
30–34 3,527 4,803 8,330 5.42
35–39 3,939 5,165 9,103 5.92
40–44 5,031 6,337 11,367 7.39
45–49 5,352 6,811 12,163 7.91
50–54 5,506 7,197 12,703 8.26
55–59 4,801 6,130 10,931 7.11
60–64 4,271 5,327 9,597 6.24
65–69 3,507 4,477 7,983 5.19
70–74 2,419 3,236 5,655 3.68
75–79 1,794 2,473 4,267 2.77
80–84 1,056 1,601 2,657 1.73
85–89 476 897 1,373 0.89
90–94 166 430 596 0.39
95–99 42 129 171 0.11
100+ 8 30 38 0.02
Age group Male Female Total Percent
0–14 15,105 14,291 29,396 19.11
15–64 45,769 55,915 101,684 66.11
65+ 9,468 13,273 22,741 14.78

Curaçao: Languages

Curaçao is a polyglot society. The official languages are Dutch, Papiamentu and English. However, Dutch is the sole language for all administration and legal matters. Most of Curaçao's population is able to converse in at least two of the languages of Papiamentu, Dutch, English, and Spanish.

The most widely spoken language is Papiamentu, a Portuguese creole spoken in all levels of society. Papiamentu was introduced as a language of primary school education in 1993, making Curaçao one of a handful of places where a creole language is used as a medium to acquire basic literacy. Spanish and English also have a long historical presence in Curaçao. Spanish became an important language in the 18th century due to the close economic ties with Spanish colonies in what are now Venezuela and Colombia. Use of English dates to the early 19th century, when the British took Curaçao and Bonaire. When Dutch rule resumed in 1815, officials already noted wide use of the language.

According to the 2001 census, Papiamentu is the first language of 81.2% of the population. Dutch is the first language of 8% of the population. Spanish is the first language of 4% of the population, and English is the first language of 2.9%. However, these numbers divide the population in terms of first language and do not account for the high rate of bilingualism in the population of Curaçao.

Curaçao: Ethnicities

A Bulawaya dance

Because of its history, the island's population comes from a number of ethnic backgrounds. There is an Afro-Caribbean majority of African descent, and also sizeable minorities of Dutch, Latin American, French, South Asian, East Asian, Portuguese and Levantine people. Additionally, there are both Sephardic and Ashkenazi Jews.

Curaçao: Religion

Circle frame.svg
Roman Catholic (72.8%)
Protestant (16.7%)
None (6%)
Other (Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, etc.) (3.8%)
Unspecified (0.6%)

According to a 2011 estimate, the majority of the inhabitants of Curaçao:

  • Roman Catholic; 72.8%
  • Pentecostal; 6.6%
  • other Protestant; 3.2%
  • Adventist; 3%
  • Jehovah's Witnesses; 2%
  • Evangelical; 1.9%
  • Other; 3.8%
  • None; 6%
  • Unspecified; 0.6%

This includes a shift towards the charismatic renewal or charismatic movement since the mid-1970s. Other denominations include the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the Methodist Church. Alongside these Christian denominations, some inhabitants practice Montamentu and other diaspora African religions. Like elsewhere in Latin America, Pentecostalism is on the rise. There are also practising Muslims and Hindus.

The Catholic diocese of Willemstad encompasses all the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean which includes Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, and the islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba. The diocese is also a member of the Antilles Episcopal Conference.

While small, Curaçao's Jewish community has had a significant impact on the island's history. Curaçao has the oldest active Jewish congregation in the Americas, dating to 1651. The Curaçao synagogue is the oldest synagogue of the Americas in continuous use, since its completion in 1732 on the site of a previous synagogue.

Curaçao: Education

Public education is based on the Dutch educational system and besides the public schools, private and parochial schools are also available. Since the introduction of a new public education law in 1992, compulsory primary education starts at age six and continues six years, secondary lasts for another five.

The main institute of higher learning is the University of Curaçao, enrolling 2,100 students. The comprehensive model of education is under influences from both Dutch and American's education offering. Other higher education offering on the island include offshore medical schools, language schools and academies for fine art, music, police, teacher and nurse-training.

Curaçao: Culture

Curaçao: Literature

Despite the island's relatively small population, the diversity of languages and cultural influences on Curaçao have generated a remarkable literary tradition, primarily in Dutch and Papiamentu. The oral traditions of the Arawak indigenous peoples are lost. West African slaves brought the tales of Anansi, thus forming the basis of Papiamentu literature. The first published work in Papiamentu was a poem by Joseph Sickman Corsen entitled Atardi, published in the La Cruz newspaper in 1905. Throughout Curaçaoan literature, narrative techniques and metaphors best characterized as magic realism tend to predominate. Novelists and poets from Curaçao have made an impressive contribution to Caribbean and Dutch literature. Best known are Cola Debrot, Frank Martinus Arion, Pierre Lauffer, Elis Juliana,Guillermo Rosario, Boeli van Leeuwen and Tip Marugg.

Curaçao: Cuisine

Local food is called Krioyo (pronounced the same as criollo, the Spanish word for "Creole") and boasts a blend of flavours and techniques best compared to Caribbean cuisine and Latin American cuisine. Dishes common in Curaçao are found in Aruba and Bonaire as well. Popular dishes include: stobá (a stew made with various ingredients such as papaya, beef or goat), Guiambo (soup made from okra and seafood), kadushi (cactus soup), sopi mondongo (intestine soup), funchi (cornmeal paste similar to fufu, ugali and polenta) and a lot of fish and other seafood. The ubiquitous side dish is fried plantain. Local bread rolls are made according to a Portuguese recipe. All around the island, there are snèks which serve local dishes as well as alcoholic drinks in a manner akin to the English public house.

The ubiquitous breakfast dish is pastechi: fried pastry with fillings of cheese, tuna, ham, or ground meat. Around the holiday season special dishes are consumed, such as the hallaca and pekelé, made out of salt cod. At weddings and other special occasions a variety of kos dushi are served: kokada (coconut sweets), ko'i lechi (condensed milk and sugar sweet) and tentalaria (peanut sweets). The Curaçao liqueur was developed here, when a local experimented with the rinds of the local citrus fruit known as laraha. Surinamese, Chinese, Indonesian, Indian and Dutch culinary influences also abound. The island also has a number of Chinese restaurants that serve mainly Indonesian dishes such as satay, nasi goreng and lumpia (which are all Indonesian names for the dishes). Dutch specialties such as croquettes and oliebollen are widely served in homes and restaurants.

Curaçao: Sports

In 1962 Curaçao hosted the World Chess Championship Candidates Tournament, won by Tigran Petrosian.

Jurickson Profar

In 2004, the Little League Baseball team from Willemstad, Curaçao, won the world title in a game against the United States champion from Thousand Oaks, California. The Willemstad lineup included Jurickson Profar, the standout shortstop prospect who now plays for the Texas Rangers of Major League Baseball.

In the 2006 World Baseball Classic, Curaçaoans played for the Netherlands team. Shairon Martis, born in Willemstad, contributed to the Dutch team by throwing a seven-inning no-hitter against Panama (the game was stopped due to the mercy rule).

The 2010 documentary film, Boys of Summer, details Curaçao's Pabao Little League All-Stars winning their country's eighth straight championship at the 2008 Little League World Series, then going on to defeat other teams, including Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, and earning a spot in Williamsport.

The prevailing trade winds and warm water make Curaçao a location for windsurfing. One factor is that the deep water around Curaçao makes it difficult to lay marks for major windsurfing events, thus hindering the island's success as a windsurfing destination.

There is warm, clear water around the island. Scuba divers and snorkelers may have visibility up to 30 metres (98 feet) at the Curaçao Underwater Marine Park, which stretches along 20 kilometres (12 miles) of Curaçao's southern coastline.

Curaçao participated in the 2013 CARIFTA Games. Kevin Philbert stood third in the under-20 male Long Jump with a distance of 7.36 metres (24.15 feet). Vanessa Philbert stood second the under-17 female 1,500 metres (4,900 feet) with a time of 4:47.97.

Curaçao: Infrastructure

Curaçao: Airport

Hato International Airport is located on the island. Its main runway parallels, and is adjacent to, the northern coast.

It has services to the Caribbean region, South America, North America and Europe. Hato Airport is a fairly large facility, with the third longest commercial runway in the Caribbean region after Rafael Hernández Airport in Puerto Rico and Pointe-à-Pitre International Airport in Guadeloupe. The airport serves as a main base for Insel Air.

Curaçao: Bridges

The Queen Emma (semi-open), and the Queen Juliana.

The Queen Emma Bridge, a 168 metres (551 ft) long pontoon bridge, connects pedestrians between the Punda and Otrobanda districts. This swings open to allow the passage of ships to and from the port. The bridge was originally opened in 1888 and the current bridge was installed in 1939. It is best known and, more often than not, referred to by the locals as "Our Swinging Old Lady".

The Queen Juliana Bridge connects mobile traffic between the same two districts. At 185 feet (56 m) above the sea, it is one of the highest bridges in the Caribbean.

Curaçao: Utilities

A private company, and full member of CARILEC, Aqualectra, delivers potable water and electricity to the island. Rates are controlled by the government. Water is produced by reverse osmosis or desalinization. It services 69,000 households and companies using 130,000 water and electric meters.

Curaçao: Notable residents

People from Curaçao include:

Curaçao: Arts and culture

  • Tip Marugg, famous writer
  • Izaline Calister, singer-songwriter
  • Ruënna Mercelina, model, actress, beauty queen
  • Peter Hartman, past-CEO of KLM
  • Kizzy McHugh, a singer songwriter and television personality based in the United States
  • Robby Müller, cinematographer, closely associated with Wim Wenders and Jim Jarmusch
  • Pernell Saturnino, a graduated percussionist of Berklee College of Music
  • Wim Statius Muller, composer, pianist

Curaçao: Politics and government

  • Luis Brión, admiral in the Venezuelan War of Independence
  • Moises Frumencio da Costa Gomez, first Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles
  • Daniel De Leon, a socialist leader
  • George Maduro, a war hero and namesake of Madurodam in The Hague
  • Manuel Carlos Piar, general and competitor of Bolivar during the Venezuelan War of Independence
  • Tula, leader of the 1795 slave revolt
  • Ben Whiteman, former Prime Minister of Curaçao

Curaçao: Religion

  • Aron Mendes Chumaceiro

Curaçao: Sports

Curaçao: Baseball

Players in Major League Baseball:

  • Wladimir Balentien, professional outfielder
  • Roger Bernadina, professional outfielder
  • Didi Gregorius, professional shortstop
  • Kenley Jansen, professional pitcher
  • Andruw Jones, professional outfielder
  • Jair Jurrjens, professional pitcher
  • Shairon Martis, professional pitcher
  • Jurickson Profar, professional infielder
  • Jonathan Schoop, professional infielder
  • Andrelton Simmons, professional shortstop
  • Hensley Meulens, professional baseball player and hitting coach
  • Randall Simon, first baseman

Football (Soccer)

  • Vurnon Anita, a football player for Newcastle United in the English Premier League
  • Riechedly Bazoer, footballer currently playing for VfL Wolfsburg in the German Bundesliga.
  • Roly Bonevacia, a footballer who plays for Western Sydney Wanderers in the Australian A-League
  • Gino van Kessel, a footballer who plays for Slavia Praha in the Czech First League.
  • Liandro Martis, footballer who plays for Leicester City in the English Premier League.
  • Cuco Martina, footballer who plays for Everton in the English Premier League
  • Irvingly van Eijma, footballer who currently plays for RKC Waalwijk in the Dutch Eerste Divisie
  • Quentin Martinus, footballer who plays for Yokohama F. Marinos in the Japan J1 League.
  • Darryl Lachman, footballer who currently plays for Willem II in the Dutch Eredivisie.
  • Juninho Bacuna, footballer who currently playing for FC Groningen in the Dutch Eredivisie.
  • Gevaro Nepomuceno, footballer who plays for C.S. Maritimo in the Portugal Primeira Liga.
  • Charlton Vicento, footballer currently playing for Helmond Sport in the Dutch Eerste divisie.
  • Jetro Willems, footballer currently playing for PSV in the Dutch Eredivisie.
  • Charlison Benschop, footballer currently playing for Hannover 96 in the German Bundesliga.

Other sports

  • Marc de Maar, professional cyclist
  • Churandy Martina, gold medalist 100 metres at the Pan American Games 2007
  • Jean-Julien Rojer, professional tennis player
  • Jemyma Betrian, professional mixed-martial-arts (MMA) fighter
  • Liemarvin Bonevacia, professional sprinter

Curaçao: See also

  • Leeward Antilles

Curaçao: Notes

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  77. Saxon, Mark (2013-03-13). "Kenley Jansen refines game". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2014-07-06.
  78. "Outfielder Andruw Jones returning to Japan for 2014 season". Fox Sports. Associated Press. May 28, 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-01-08. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  79. Will Hammock. "Curaçao’s Jair Jurrjens starring for Atlanta Braves". Infosurhoy.com. Archived from the original on 2015-04-28. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  80. Shipley, Amy (2009-04-10). "Control Is No Longer an Issue for Nationals Pitcher Shairon Martis". Washington Post. Retrieved 2014-07-06.
  81. "Texas Rangers' Jurickson Profar won't play for Holland in World Baseball Classic - ESPN Dallas". Espn.go.com. 2013-02-18. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  82. Connolly, Dan (2014-03-25). "With Orioles' Jonathan Schoop and others, Curaçao becoming baseball hotbed". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2014-07-06.
  83. "Simmons makes bittersweet journey to Taiwan | braves.com: News". Atlanta.braves.mlb.com. 2013-02-23. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  84. Jenkins, Bruce (2014-03-27). "Giants coach Hensley Meulens a true man of the world". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved July 6, 2014.
  85. Anderson, Shelly (2003-05-11). "Pirates' Simon is a sweet guy who doesn't see many pitches he doesn't like". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2014-07-06.
  86. 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao (2012-11-09). "853. Vurnon Anita | 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao". 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  87. "Roly Bonevacia". Alb.worldfootball.net. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  88. 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao (2012-10-09). "879. Jetro Willems | 1000 Awesome Things About Curaçao". 1000awesomethingsaboutcuracao.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  89. Pierre Carrey. "Marc De Maar Wears First Ever Curaçao Champion's Jersey". Cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  90. Churandy Martina (2011-09-23). "Churandy Martina | Curaçao Athletics Association (CAB)". Curaçaoatletiekbond.com. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  91. "Jean-Julien Rojer Profile | Players | 2012 US Open Official Site - A USTA Event". 2012.usopen.org. Archived from the original on 2012-09-10. Retrieved 2013-03-26.
  92. "Jemyma Betrian dazzles in MMA debut". curacaochronicle.com. Retrieved 2015-04-30.

Curaçao: References

  • Habitantenan di Kòrsou, sinku siglo di pena i gloria: 1499–1999. Römer-Kenepa, NC, Gibbes, FE, Skriwanek, MA., 1999. Curaçao: Fundashon Curaçao 500.
  • Social movements, violence, and change: the May Movement in Curaçao. WA Anderson, RR Dynes, 1975. Columbus: Ohio State University Press.
  • Stemmen uit het Verleden. Van Buurt, G., Joubert, S., 1994, Curaçao.
  • Het Patroon van de Oude Curaçaose Samenleving. Hoetink, H., 1987. Amsterdam: Emmering.
  • Dede pikiña ku su bisiña: Papiamentu-Nederlands en de onverwerkt verleden tijd. van Putte, Florimon., 1999. Zutphen: de Walburg Pers

Curaçao: Further reading

  • Corcos, Joseph. A Synopsis of the History of the Jews of Curaçao. Curazao: Imprenta de la Librería, 1897.
  • Emmanuel, Isaac S. and Suzanne A. History of the Jews of the Netherlands Antilles. 2 vols. Cincinnati: American Jewish Archives, 1970.
  • Rupert, Linda M. “Contraband Trade and the Shaping of Colonial Societies in Curaçao and Tierra Firme.” Itinerario 30 (2006): 35-54.
  • "Curaçao". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency.
  • Curaçao Tourism Board
  • Directory and information guide for Curaçao
  • First Millennium Development Goals and Report. Curaçao and Sint Maarten. 2011
  • Halman, Johannes; Robert Rojer (2008). Jan Gerard Palm Music Scores: Waltzes, Mazurkas, Danzas, Tumbas, Polkas, Marches, Fantasies, Serenades, a Galop and Music Composed for Services in the Synagogue and the Lodge. Amsterdam: Broekmans en Van Poppel.
  • Halman, Johannes I.M.; Rojer, Robert A. (2008). Jan Gerard Palm: Life and Work of a Musical Patriarch in Curaçao (In Dutch language). Leiden: KITLV. Archived from the original on 2009-09-25.
  • Palm, Edgar (1978). Muziek en musici van de Nederlandse Antillen. Curaçao: E. Palm. Archived from the original on 2004-06-05.
  • Boskaljon, Rudolph (1958). Honderd jaar muziekleven op Curaçao. Anjerpublicaties 3. Assen: Uitg. in samenwerking met het Prins Bernhard fonds Nederlandse Antillen door Van Gorcum. Archived from the original on 2004-02-02.

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