Curacao has a lot to offer, including an interesting and tumultuous history. In which The Netherlands played a huge role. Therefore, I would definitely recommend visiting one or more museums in Curacao, where you can learn a lot about that history. I’m sharing here 5 museums, of which number 1 is an absolute must-see. In addition, number 3, Landhuis Bloemhof, is a personal favorite. Immerse yourself in the history, culture, and art of the island. Here are my 5 museum recommendations for your vacation in Curacao.
Kura Hulanda: an absolute must-see in Curacao.
Kura Hulanda is an anthropological museum that will leave you almost stunned as you walk out. Established in Willemstad in 2001, on a site that used to be a slave depot, you will learn everything about the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. From the capturing of slaves in Africa, their shipment, to their resettlement in the New World. It is a quite impressive museum about the history of slavery. Something that is still relevant today. This museum tells you the whole story, and afterward, you will have a much better understanding of what these people have experienced and why it still resonates in society today.
A must-see if you are in Curacao. There is a lot to see and read in the museum, and if you wish, you can also take a guided tour. Make sure to allocate at least an hour for your visit.
The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, from 8:00 AM to 4:00 PM. On Sundays, the museum is open from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Cost: 18 guilders or 10 dollars. Across from the entrance, there is a restaurant where you can enjoy delicious food and refreshing juices. You can find the museum near the Queen Emma Bridge (Pondjesbrug) on the side of the Otrobanda district. Click here for the website of Kura Hulanda.
2. The Curacao Museum
The Curacao Museum is the oldest existing museum in Curacao and was established in 1946. Located a bit further away from the center of Willemstad, the Curacao Museum is situated in a beautiful park and housed in a monumental building dating back to 1853. It was once used as a military hospital for yellow fever patients.
Here you will find a stunning collection of art and craftsmanship, including paintings, sculptures, furniture, glassware, and textiles. Dating back to the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries. Dream away in the beautiful bedroom, living room, and old kitchen.
You can find the museum located on Van Leeuwenhoekstraat in Willemstad. It is best to go there by car. There is parking space available in front of the entrance. The museum is open from Tuesday to Friday, from 8:30 AM to 4:30 PM, and on Saturdays from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM. Here, too, the entrance fee is 10 dollars. Click here for the website of the Curacao Museum.
3. Landhuis Bloemhof
There are many country estates (landhuizen) in Curacao, and you can visit several of them. Landhuis Bloemhof is considered one of the most beautiful country estates. Here, you will find not only a beautiful park, a remarkable artwork, and a delightful restaurant, but it is also considered one of the most beautiful museums in Curacao. Bloemhof has stolen my heart, and I highly recommend visiting it if you are in Curacao. I’ll tell you why.
In Landhuis Bloemhof, art, history, and nature come together. It is an inspiring place where you can easily spend a couple of hours. Landhuis Bloemhof was built in the year 1735 and is the heritage of Shon May Henriquez, a pioneer of the art scene in Curacao. Discover its atmospheric sculpture studio and the picturesque library.
May Henriquez was the first Curacaoan artist to study in Paris. She paved the way for many talented artists from Curacao by becoming a patron of the arts.
In the main hall of the well-preserved authentic country estate, there is always an art exhibition featuring works by local or international artists who have a connection to the island.
In the gardens of the country estate, you can enjoy delightful walks. And you will come across many interesting things along the way. For example, a tree filled with books. And the famous Cathedral of Thorns. Also known as the ode to the free spirit. Here you will find a maze with niches filled with contemporary art. The cathedral was built by unemployed youth and is made up of approximately 30 million thorns from the spiky Acacia Tortuosa bush.
If you have visited the country estate, the adjacent park, and the cathedral, you can continue walking to Number Ten. This is a restaurant with beautiful living rooms and a delightful terrace overlooking a stunning garden. Located in the former home of May and Max Henriquez.
The country estate is open from Monday to Friday between 9:00 AM and 2:00 PM. At 9:30 AM, 10:30 AM, and 11:30 AM, there is an introductory tour that is highly recommended. Cost: 18 guilders or 10 dollars. The restaurant can also be visited separately from the country estate, and it has its own parking area. Click here for the website of Landhuis Bloemhof.
4. Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue and Jewish Museum
The Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, located in the center of Willemstad, is the oldest synagogue in continuous use on the American continent. The Jewish community of Mikvé Israel dates back to the 1650s and consisted of Spanish and Portuguese Jews who emigrated to Curacao from the Netherlands and Brazil. In the year 1732, the wooden synagogue, also known as the “Snoa,” was built. It is an important historical monument on the island, with unique architecture, old mahogany furniture, beautiful chandeliers, shimmering silver and brass ornaments. What immediately stands out is the floor of the synagogue: it is made entirely of sand.
Next to the synagogue you will find the Jewish Historical Cultural Museum. A small but interesting museum worth visiting.
You’ll find the synagogue in the middle of Willemstad, a few minutes’ walk from the letters Dushi Curacao. For admission to the synagogue and museum, you pay 18 guilders or 10 dollars. The museum is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 PM, but you can buy a ticket until 4 PM. Click here for the synagogue’s website.
5. Maritime Museum
The Maritime Museum was also on my list, but unfortunately I ran out of time to visit here. Since this too seems to be a very interesting museum, it is in my top 5, a next time I am in Curacao I will definitely visit this museum.
The Curacao Maritime Museum is a shipping museum in Willemstad. There is a permanent exhibition consisting of authentic nautical charts, ship models and navigational equipment, representing Curacao’s 500 years of maritime history.
The museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and Saturday, from 10:30 AM to 3:30 PM. Is there a cruise ship in Willemstad harbor? Then the museum is also open, at the same times. Due to limited opening hours, I unfortunately missed it, so if you would like to go here: check in advance to make sure you schedule it on the right day. The cost is 17.50 guilders or 10 dollars per person. Click here for the Curacao Maritime Museum website.
What museum in Curacao is high on your list?