Present history of Willemstad
Favorite thing: In 1926 Willemstad lost it's strategic value. What good does this fortress do against modern bombers? Still it got one tragedy in it's journals. On the 30st of May 1940 a Nazi-ruled ship carrying several hundreds of Belgian prisoners of war ran against a mine and was blown skyhigh. 200 of the Belgian soldiers died. Just outside the gates of Willemstad a memorial site remembers those poor souls.
Later history of Willemstad
Favorite thing: When The Netherlands were invaded by the French and the odds were comepletely against any chances for the Dutch, the troops of Napoleon also captured Willemstad. News about this magnificent fortress came even to the ears of Napoleon Bonaparte himself and he came to Willemstad to watch it's defensive works. In the same year he ordered the Arsenal to be built and later he ordered to erect the graceful "Kruithuis" (Gun)Powder-house)). The fortifications were strengthened and new bastions were added. Willemstad kept the visual appearance of a large fortress.
Early history of Willemstad
Favorite thing: After the brute murder of Willem of Orange, his son Maurits took over his father's duties and as well took care of Willemstad. He founded the small protestant church (1607) in the town. This church shows all symbols of the reformed church that was in those days one of the driving powers of the independance-fight of The Netherlands and the church that the Oranges belonged to. Simplicity and not to much beauty were the main architectural strengths. A place of prayer, without being distracted by statues, glass-in-led, paintings and other items. He also ordered the house built, that later got his name, that is now one of the top monuments here.
Earliest history of Willemstad: Ruigenhil
Favorite thing: At the end of the middle ages, the baron of "Bergen op Zoom" ordered a part of the lands where now-a-days Willemstad is situated, to be poldered dry - taken from the water. A village was created here, called "Ruigenhil". Some decades later (1582) Willem of Orange got this part of the new born country "Holland" as a loan from Brabant. He immediately saw the strategic importance and started to built a fortress. In 1583 this fortress had become an important little place and was granted cityrights. It's name became "Willem's Stad", later turned to Willemstad.