Willemstad Travel Guide

  • Willemstad
    by FlyingDutchmen
  • Helius Shanty Singers from Hellevoetsluis
    Helius Shanty Singers from...
    by ATLC
  • Willemstad
    by FlyingDutchmen

Willemstad Things to Do

  • Visit the Mauritshuis

    This former hunting lodge of Maurits of Orange is now a museum. It was built in 1623 in a fine dutch renaissance style.

  • Details ... always and everywhere, so...

    What would life be without details. Little things that make a grand finale even more special. Here in Willemstad there are many as the inhabitants do their best to make the place even more intresting then it already is. Flowers on the balconies or windows, clean streets and funny items behind the windows that you can always look into straight into...

  • The remainders that this is a military...

    Everywhere things remind the visitor about the fact that this town is a fortified work of defense. The Arsenal, the walls, canals and bastions, but also smaller things like the canons that are still visbible on many corners of the streets and squares. Willemstad has many of them still there, try to find them.

  • The old gatehouse at the entrance

    The old gatehouse is looking like a simple building at the entrance of Willemstad, but is also one of the oldest buildings in town. On it's side there is a place where some memorial stones show the various extreme flood levels that have endangered the town even more then human enemies ever did (see local customs).

  • Every Dutch town needs a windmill

    Every Dutch town needs a windmill, so Willemstad as well has one. It towers high above the marina and is visible from almost all places on the surrounding walls and fortifications of the town.

  • Old houses in various styles and shapes

    Walking through Willemstad you should really look around very sharply. The houses here have a rather wide variety in them, which surprised me a little. I was under the impression that most of them would date back to the same period in time, but the opposit is through. Willemstad has been changing throughout the centuries continuously.

  • The "Kruithuis", an explosive place

    It was the same Napoleon that took care of the wonderful building created to store the gunpowder: the "Kruithuis". This explosive place doesn't look like a military object at all and is now-a-days the main attraction on the entrance-square of Willemstad.

  • The Arsenal, where the weapons were...

    Ordered by Napoleon Bonaparte, the Arsenal is the large square-shaped building at your right as soon as you pass the gates entering Willemstad. Here the small detachement of French (later again Dutch) soldiers were keeping the stores of weapons.

  • The Koepelkerk (Rounded Church) in the...

    Straight in the heart of the seven pointed star shaped town stands the "Koepelkerk". This church too was built in order of Maurits. It is a protestant, even reformed, church, which is clearly visible as for the modesty that the architect has held up while constructing the building. No enormous church with a huge tower, but also no cross-shape,...


Willemstad Restaurants

  • Excellent service and food

    A busy Sunday evening after the Shanty Festival but service went perfectly. By that I mean: without fault and very friendly. It is suitable for family dinners as well as a romantic dinner.I was impressed by the amount of staff. I think 7 or 8 front of house, and then at least 3 cooks. It's not a small restaurant but by no means large.I highly...

  • Welcoming you when entering town

    Willemstad is a very small town indeed. Therefor a wide choice in restaurants is not there, but a heartwarming hospitality is. Right behind the Arsenal, when you enter the gates of Willemstad, the "Weapon of Wilemstad" is inviting you on it's terraces or inside. So either before or after you walked through town and over the fortifications ... have...

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Willemstad Transportation

  • Travelling by boat it should be the...

    If you have the luxery to travel around The Netherlands by boat (actually the best way besides the bicycle), Willemstad should definately be one of your destinations, if not THE destination. It has a fine marina that offers immediate access to the town itself.

  • Hopelessly far away for non-car-users

    Public transport in these parts of the province of Northern Brabant is rather bad. Only by bus you can reach Willemstad and it doesn't run that frequently from a relatively far away trainstation (Zevenbergen). By car it's little better, but still for the mayority of the Dutch, quite a long drive.

  • Don't Forget Insurance

    If your current health insurance doesn't cover you while your abroad, you should consider getting international travel insurance just in case something should go wrong.

Willemstad Local Customs

  • Shanty Choir Festival

    2010 was the year of the very first Shanty Festival in Willemstad.Now, Willemstad has endless activities. Especially in the maritime context. But this was a successful first time with no less than 9 choirs on 3 stages against the backdrop of picturesque Willemstad. It's a free festival!This festival was on Sunday afternoon 12th of September...

  • The inhabitants of Willemstad

    The town is definately not that big. You can easily mistake it for a small village if it weren;t for the fortifications and the monuments spread through the place. Willemstad's citizens are however proud to be inhabitants of the wonderful historical town and the dress up there town in the most wonderful way. Some even think of things that make the...

  • The real enemy slips through the gates

    Like in the whole history of The Netherlands, the real enemy was most of the time not the Vikings, French, English or Germans, but the water of the North Sea and rivers usualy bring fortune to our country. On the gatehouse there are some memorial plates in the wal that show the various flood levels in the years these disasterous events occured....


Willemstad Warnings and Dangers

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Don't get caught being naughty

    by Pavlik_NL Written Sep 19, 2003

    Now I know that some of you would like to, but don;t get caught being naughty. Chances are that you end up in the picture and that would definately not be that funny ... although ... it's again good for another picture (-:


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Willemstad Off The Beaten Path

  • Pavlik_NL's Profile Photo

    Willemstad ... not visited by the...

    by Pavlik_NL Updated Sep 19, 2003

    1.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As for it's geografical situation, Willemstad is not visited by mass tourism that stays in mayority within the borders of the "Randstad" (the horse-iron shaped ring of connecting towns in Western Holland: Utrecht, Amsterdam, Haarlem, Leiden, 's-Gravenhage, Rotterdam and the "Drecht"-towns). Therefor Willemstad is quite quiet, but ... it gets a lot of watertravellers ... so the marina is always filled with boats and visitors arriving by this kind of transport.

    Quiet streets, even in summertime!

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Willemstad Sports & Outdoors

  • Sailing, the most Dutch of sports

    Sailboats will be visible on the surrounding waters of Willemstad. Going through the "Volkerak" sluses towards the enormous amounts of wide open water that are available in this region. Beautyful graceful yaughts, but also the old "Schoeners" sail by. Now what's more traditional then that in The Netherlands.

  • Sports on surrounding waters

    Willemstad is on three sides surrounded with water. "Hollandsch Diep" and "Volkerak" are huge watermasses of the riverdelta's that are stretching out through the province of Zeeland towards the North Sea. They are excellent terrains to do surfing, sailing, boating, swimming and diving. If not having your own equipment, in Willemstad there is a...

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Willemstad Favorites

  • Present history of Willemstad

    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...

  • Later history of Willemstad

    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...

  • Early history of Willemstad

    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...


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