The district Punda
The gorgeous St. Anna Bay divides Willemstad into two major districts—Punda on the east and Otrobanda on the west. When the Dutch captured the island from Spain in 1634, Punda (from “Punta,” or “the point” in Papiamentu) was born. The new leaders began to build a fort, Fort Amsterdam, to protect their settlement, and soon the city began to grow.
Today, the Fort serves as the seat of the Government of the Netherlands Antilles. Along with what are now Columbusstraat, Madurostraat, and Handelskade ("Commerce Street"), the up-and-coming Dutch Protestant merchants built their combined offices, warehouses, stores, and living quarters. The basic layout of this area, with its narrow perpendicular streets, hasn't changed much over the centuries.