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Architecture on Curaçao is a very unique experience. When the Dutch started to colonize in the 17th century, they brought a lot of their own architecture to Curaçao. The Dutch built Willemstad in the same architectural style as Amsterdam. Later the style evolved due to the Caribbean influences. The combination of these styles is what makes the architecture on Curaçao unique. Local materials and building skills were to be combined with foreign influences.

Architecture in Willemstad

Characteristic for the architecture on Curaçao are the pastel shades. The variegation of the buildings is due to an old governor-general who suffered from an eye-problem. His doctor told him that is was because of the dazzling white buildings. He paid to repaint all the buildings in different colors. Most of the typical architecture on Curaçao are to be found in Willemstad. Till this day most of the buildings still have their original color, but they changed into stores, banks and offices. The most famous example is the ‘Handelskade’ in Punda and which can be found on almost every postcard of Curaçao.

Architecture on Curaçao: Country houses

The architecture on Curaçao does not limit itself to Willemstad. Typical for the architecture on Curaçao are also the country houses that were built in the 18th and 19th century. Most of them are former plantation homes. There were approximately hundred small plantages on the island of Curaçao. The country house stood in the middle of every plantage. The owner of the plantage lived in the country house, where the slaves lived in the surrounding cabins. These country houses are mostly built of coral. A very large amount of these houses have withstand the ravages of time, which nowadays contribute to the architecture on Curaçao. Approximately 60 country houses still exist on the island (in different shapes and conditions).

Also see our interview with an Architect.

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