otrobanda willemstad houses

Otrobanda, the colorful cultural hub in Willemstad, Curaçao

The name translates to ‘the other side’. Otrobanda is known as one of the most artistic districts in Willemstad, the capital city of Curaçao. Located just across the bridge from Punda, where you may find the main shopping areas and tourist attractions. This neighborhood offers a unique glimpse into the vibrant street art scene in Curacao.

While many tourists go to the Punda district to snap photos of the colorful houses and buildings, there are plenty of quieter side streets where artists have painted vivid scenes depicting life in Curacao, including colorful fish jumping out of water, women riding horses, and even the island’s traditional windmills.
This beautiful neighborhood in Willemstad is home to many historical buildings such as the former Dutch Governor’s Palace, the old town hall, the church of Saint Nicholas, the old schoolhouse, the old hospital and some more. There are also several museums and galleries here.

The colorful steps are one of the most photographed spots in the city, which are found at top of Van Lennepstreet where you can find a great view of the arch bridge that is called the Queen Juliana Bridge. Another popular spot to visit is the murals that line up the passage between Quintastraat & Cornelis Dirkswegh.

The historic area of Willemstad

Otrobanda was once a rough neighborhood. But since the 1990s, artists and volunteers have transformed the place into a vibrant arts hub. Today, Otrobanda is home to dozens of murals, sculptures, and art installations.

In 1988, the government declared the area a historic monument, and it became part of the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1997. The neighborhood also hosts several galleries and museums dedicated to local history. One of the most popular attractions are the Kura Hulanda Museum and the Curaçao museum. There are also many restaurants and bars where you can enjoy live music and dance performances.

The people of the Netherlands established the port city of Willemstad on the Caribbean island in 1634. In 1795 it became part of the Dutch West Indies. A century later, in 1934, the United States took possession of the islands during World War II. During the post-war period, the US government transferred Willemstad to the Netherlands, which re-established control of the archipelago in 1986.

Willemstad is located in the southernmost part of the main island of Curacao, which lies off the coast of Venezuela. The city has a population of about 45,000 inhabitants. Most of the houses are built around small squares and streets, creating a typical Dutch pattern of housing development. The old quarter of the city is enclosed within a wall dating back to the early 18th century. This area contains many examples of late Baroque and Neoclassical buildings; some date back to the 19th century.

In addition, there are numerous churches, including the Basilica Santa Ana, the oldest church building in Willemstad. Other notable buildings include the former governor’s palace, the Town Hall, the House of Culture, the Art Museum, the National Library, the Maritime Museum, the Old Prison, the New Prison and the Botanical Gardens. In Otrobanda you will also find the first nursing home. This building is located in the Kura Hulanda Village, where you can find the beautiful boutique hotel ‘Kura Botanica’.


Your Otrobanda ‘to do list’

Otrobanda is one of those places where it feels like everyone knows each other. You’ll find yourself surrounded by friendly faces, and even though you don’t know anyone, you feel comfortable enough to strike up conversations. And while there are plenty of things to do in Otrobanda, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t spend some time getting to know the city.

There are many ways to explore Otrobanda. Whether you’re looking for something new to try out, want to learn about local culture, or just want to see what makes this city tick, we’ve got you covered.

Curaçao Museum

The Curacao Museum is located in the capital city of Willemstad, Curacao. This museum offers visitors a chance to learn about the history of Curacao, including the island’s natural environment, culture, and social life. There are several galleries where you can see the evolution of the island over the centuries. One such gallery features the island’s flora and fauna, while another showcases Curacao’s traditional costumes and dances.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of cultural activities at the museum, including dance performances, theater plays, musical concerts, art exhibitions, and even photography workshops. In addition, the museum hosts a number of special events throughout the year. For example, it holds a Christmas market every December, while the annual Carnival celebration takes place in February.

Rif Fort & Renaissance Mall

The Renaissance Shopping Mall is located in Otrobanda, next to one of the eight forts of Curaçao. This Fort is called Rif Fort and is located at the entrance of the St. Anna Bay. In 1824 it had been decided that the defenses of Curaçao needed to be improved, because they were outdated. Commissioned by Lieutenant General Krayenhoff, the construction was started in 1828. Next to the military purpose of the construction, it also provided employment on the island.

The fort had 56 cannons. Nowadays the riffort is the home to a shopping mall that offers many shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and entertainment venues.
There are many stores where you can buy souvenirs such as clothing, accessories, jewelry, watches, bags, shoes, perfumes, cosmetics, electronics, toys, books, etc. You can even find some exclusive brands here. There is no doubt that this place will satisfy your needs.

shopping renaissance mall

If you want to eat out, there are many options to choose from. You can enjoy a drink while strolling around the mall. There are several places where you can grab a coffee, tea, juice, beer, wine, cocktails, water, soft drinks, etc. There are also different types of cafés, bars, pubs, lounges, etc., where you can listen to live music and enjoy each other’s company.
For those who love gambling, there are casinos inside the mall. They offer slot machines, roulette, blackjack, poker, craps, baccarat, dice, etc. You can try your luck and win big prizes.

Queen Emma Bridge

The queen emma bridge is the bridge that is located in the st. anna bay, which connects the 2 districts Punda and Otrobanda. The bridge opens regularly to allow ships to enter the port.
The bridge was built in 1988 and has been renovated multiple times since then. The lighting arches were installed to celebrate the visit of Queen Juliana and Prince Bernard in 1955.
Every time the bridge opens, there are two ferries to take you across. Don’t forget to check out this beautiful bridge in the afternoon, so you will be amazed by the beautiful and colorful houses. Also, don’t forget to see it in the evening with all those magical lights.

queen emma bridge pontjesbrug

Otrobanda Architecture tour

Another fun activity in the city center is an architecture walk, as Otrobanda is known for its beautiful architecture. A tour takes +- 2 hours and you will learn all about the architecture, culture and people in this city.

Kura Hulanda Museum

The Kura Hulanda Museum is located in the Kura Hulanda Village, just like our Hotel Kura Botanica, with all its historic buildings. The location of the museum is the exact site of a former slave yard. The museum tells the history of Curaçao, the Caribbean, America and Africa. The museum shows how African culture still influences the culture of the island.

Otrobanda is a great place to enjoy yourself and to explore the island’s culture. There are many fun activities you can take part in. And don’t forget about the local culture! You’ll find lots of interesting places to explore and learn about.

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