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A brief overview of Curaçao

Curaçao is different. But is it because of the many historic buildings in the capital Willemstad, which more than ten years ago was declared a World Heritage? Or because of its people, more than 50 different nationalities living together on an island of no more than 444 square kilometers. Or is it because of the white sandy beaches, the blue sea and the warm temperature? Curaçao is probably different due to a combination of these and many more factors.

Located between hundreds of other Caribbean islands and just north of Venezuela, Curaçao attracts many tourists and business people. It is also considered home to almost 140.000 residents. The former Dutch colony is the largest island of the Netherlands Antilles, which is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The relationship with the Netherlands will remain, although a majority of voters chose for a big
change. In the years to come, Curaçao and St Maarten, also one of the islands forming part of the Netherlands Antilles, will both become countries with a more autonomous status within the Kingdom,
comparable to Aruba, which has had this status since 1986. The other three islands, Bonaire, St. Eustatius (Statia) and Saba will become part of the Netherlands with a status comparable to that of a small Dutch municipality.

While discussions about this change of status are ongoing, the economy of Curaçao performs very well.
Tourism is one of the main pillars of the economy. Every year hundreds of cruise ships enter the large natural harbor of Willemstad, allowing their passengers to admire the many historic buildings near the waterfront.

The same harbor is of service to many transport ships delivering their goods or oil for Curaçao’s oil refi nery.

And passengers of cruise ships that anchor at the Megapier are just a few minutes walk away from the historical Rif Fort. Apart from the cruise ships, thousands of tourists from Europe, the United States, South America and the Caribbean come by plane. During their stay on the island they enjoy the international or local cuisine, the Caribbean arts and music, the Carnival or the ‘Seú’ harvest parade. And after a day of swimming, sightseeing or shopping they lay their heads to rest in one of the many hotels, from the luxurious to smaller hotels for the budget conscious.

The financial services sector is the second pillar of the economy. Asset managers, investors and brokers all benefi t from the fact that Curaçao has a workforce of highly educated people, speaking several languages.

Apart from the local language Papiamentu, Dutch is an offi cial language, and English and Spanish are also commonly spoken.

It is no surprise that entrepreneurs currently are very positive about the future. New hotels are being built, new markets are sought, new projects are being developed, and new shops are being opened. A perfect combination of new and old, that’s what makes Curaçao different.