THE REAL ESTATE AGENT OF CURAÇAO TELLS: THE HISTORY OF BOOMING NEIGHBORHOOD OTROBANDA

20 september 2022
international fine living makelaar curacao

THE REAL ESTATE OF CURAÇAO TELLS: THE HISTORY OF THE BOOMING NEIGHBOURHOOD OTROBANDA.

Otrobanda is one of the four neighbourhoods belonging to Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao. The other districts are Punda, Scharloo and Pietermaai. The famous ponton bridge also known as ‘Queen Emma Bridge’ takes you from Punda to Otrobanda. Otrobanda means ‘on the other side’ in the local language of Curaçao, Papiamento. The district is part of Willemstad’s historic inner city and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1997. The neighbourhood is a historic district, rich in monumental buildings and modern street art. It is a popular neighbourhood among locals, interesting for investors and attractive for tourists. However, the district has known a dark period, hereby some of its history….

Otrobanda was created in the early 18th century due to a lack of space in Punda. Otrobanda was a great neighbourhood until the original inhabitants left the area. Many dockworkers settled in Otrobanda. A variety of nationalities could be found in the neighbourhood, where was a lack of structure and cultural cohesion, leading to chaos. In addition, many residents missed a garden and decided to move to other neighbourhoods. Decay came to Otrobanda, and drugs and crime played a major role in Otrobanda’s decline for decades. 

In the early nineteenth century, investors and Stichting Monumentenzorg Curaça0 ( Foundation for Monumental Buildings)  restored many of the shabby houses. The luxurious Renaissance Hotel was also established, attracting many tourists to the neighbourhood. Gradually, locals returned to the neighborhood. Another recent enrichment to the district is Kura Botanica. The former Kura Hulanda hotel has been bought and restored. Kura Botanica includes partly the Kura Botanica hotel, townhouses on long-term lease and partly restaurants and shops. 

Otrobanda is booming and several investors are actively pursuing interesting projects in combination with local culture. Besides investors and the government, artists have influenced the new life in Otrobanda. The artists’ murals are like hidden gems. In the neighbourhood, you will spot dozens of homes that feature colourful murals. ‘Dushi Walks Curaçao‘ is an organisation that organizes ‘history and art’ walking tours through the neighbourhood. Otrobanda is the place where history and art have found each other on Curaçao.

The famous ‘Kaya Kaya’ festival full of music, art and culture takes place in Otrobanda annually. It started in 2018 with a street party in Otrobanda organised by three friends. The trio never expected the festival to be such a success and decided to organize it every year. In 2019, as many as 15,000 people attended the festival in the streets ‘kayas’ of the historic district. Unfortunately, the festival could not take place in 2020 and 2021 due to Covid. In 2022, the third edition of the festival took place which was a huge success again. 

The old hospital SEHOS, has made way for the new hospital “Curacao Medical Center“. There are great plans to develop the historic building of the SEHOS and give it a new function within Otrobanda. In the more than 160 years of its existence, various building styles have been applied, mostly in high-quality architecture. The current structure of the buildings is unique with a large square and a succession of patios and smaller green spaces. The planned conversion of the hospital complex will make a huge contribution to creating a lively and attractive urban district on this side of Otrobanda. 

Otrobanda has transformed itself into a vibrant, hip, dynamic district where you can eat, walk, entertain and stay. The neighbourhood continues developing and is a very lovely district for people who like to have all the amenities at their fingertips. A real eye-catcher in the district is the stately Huize Batavia, excellently located in the city center. This monument, built in 1747, is now close to the modern conveniences of the cruise terminal, cinema, Starbucks, Brionplein and Riffort with all its restaurants and shops. Huize Batavia, equipped with a spacious swimming pool bordered by an optical garden has been restored with love, wisdom and perseverance. The residential part of the house is currently used as a petit restaurant serving traditional high teas on weekends and a restaurant license is available. This beautiful landhouse is for sale.

Categorieën: Curaçao island

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