Willemstad's Complex Pasts and Diverse Futures
Written by Donovan Angelina, Stephanie van Heijningen, Corina Regales, Zarja Garmers-Rojer, and Eugenique Wilkins
Willemstad, Curaçao’s vibrant capital city is set to celebrate its 25-year inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2022. But instead of having local city dwellers wander its streets, tourists abundantly occupying the restaurants and shops, and the sound of live music and traffic filling the air, the city’s life has come close to an absolute halt. Being hit hard by the effects of the current pandemic, Willemstad finds itself in a state of pause. For us, a
group of heritage professionals from different disciplines, this calls us to also take a moment to marvel at the complex history of this post-colonial city, to think critically about the current challenges, and be optimistic about what lies ahead. In celebration of ICOMOS’ International Day for Monuments and Sites on April 18th 2021, this article brings light to these aspects of Willemstad; we will walk through Willemstad’s past, present, and future, moving from the classical conservation approach to sustainable development opportunities for our World Heritage City.
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