Caribbean Culture Archives - Bon Trade Intl. Corp.

The historic port of Willemstad, the capital of Curaçao, stands out like a gem in the colorful crown of the Caribbean.
Punda, Otrobanda and Sint Ana Bay


It is no surprise that its vibrant inner city and harbor were designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1997 for its cultural heritage and architectural beauty.

Standing picture perfect on the southern side of the island, Willemstad has an exceptional blend of rich Dutch colonial architecture mixed with lustrous Caribbean influences. This is a testament to its rich tapestry and highlights its unique urban landscape.

Punda’s Famous Facade and seawall


The cobblestoned city is divided into the districts of Scharloo, Punda, Otrobanda and Pietermaai which span 190 hectares and includes the harbor of Sint Anna Bay.


It is easy to understand why the Dutch established a trading settlement in Curaçao’s natural deep-water harbor in 1634 and Willemstad has developed over the centuries on this strategic location into a cosmopolitan city, one which you must visit at least once in your lifetime.


At Bon Trade, we take pride and pleasure in regularly shipping cargo from the US to this historic trading post that has evolved into a bustling, modern hub of activity.

Why was Willemstad chosen as a UNESCO World Heritage Site?


Willemstad deserves its status as a Caribbean capital city listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site. It not only has picturesque qualities. It is also of outstanding universal value.

Original european architecture from the 1600’s


Over 700 of Willemstad’s buildings are protected monuments. They vividly reflect the influences from the Dutch, African, Portuguese and Spanish over several centuries.


The city has many historic landmarks. Included in the list is Fort Amsterdam, built in 1634.  Another famous landmark is the Mikvé Israel-Emanuel Synagogue, which is the oldest synagogue in the western hemisphere.  There are also the Museum Kurá Hulanda and the Curaçao Museum.  These historical buildings all tell the tale of a diverse, multifaceted history.


What makes Willemstad Special:
The iconic Queen Emma floating bridge that still connects the two halves of WIllemstad



Willemstad is a city of two halves. The iconic Queen Emma Bridge links the oldest part of the city, Punda, with Otrobanda. This further symbolizes the unity and connectivity of this community.




UNESCO selected Willemstad as a World Heritage Site because of the town’s planning and architectural qualities. Willemstad is also a prime example of how colonies developed organically in the Caribbean by combining European traditions with influences from the Americas and Africa. This happened over 3 centuries.

The city’s music scene, carnival, buzzing businesses and local festivals highlight the dynamic spirit of Curaçaoan people.

This globally recognized UNESCO status means that Willemstad and Curaçao will be preserved for future generations while tourists and traders continue to flock to celebrate its heritage, cultural resilience and architecture.

Why not be one of them and discover the rich historical details that define Curacao? You will not be disappointed.


Click for more information on Curacao

In celebration of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, Bon Trade shines a spotlight on the special contributions made by women of the Netherlands Antilles to events in history and contemporary society.

Women from the Caribbean Islands of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have been trailblazers and inspiring many.

The three people we wish to mention in this article, for International Women’s Day, are remarkable women, whose extraordinary achievements will energise and encourage generations to come.


Curaçao-born swimmer Enith Sijtje Maria Brigitha (born 1955) who first learned to swim in the Caribbean Sea, was twice named “Dutch Sportswoman of the Year” in 1973 and 1974.
Enith Brigitha
Enith Sijtje Maria Brigitha

Her name is etched in history as the first black champion swimmer to win a medal in the Olympics.

Enith moved to Holland in 1970 and represented the Netherlands in the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics and won two bronze medals at the 1976 Montreal, and Quebec Summer Olympics in the women’s 100m and 200m freestyle.

She also gained eight other medals in 100 meters and 200 meters backstroke and freestyle events in 1973 and 1975 FINA World Championships and at the 1974 European Championships.

Enith’s accomplishments stand out as she competed against women from the German Democratic Republic who benefitted from illegal doping practices, so to many, she is considered a gold medal winner.

After retiring from swimming she moved back to Curaçao and opened her own swimming school.


Also noteworthy for her achievements is mezzo-soprano Tania Kross (born 1976) who made significant strides in music.


Tania Kross
Tania Kross

The Curaçao-born singer was classically trained at the Utrechts Conservatorium and the International Opera Studio in Amsterdam and has performed in renowned operas globally.

.Tania played a pivotal role in bringing Papiamento culture to the forefront when she encouraged Carel De Haseth to adapt his novel “Katibu di Shon” into the first opera in Papiamento, celebrating the cultural heritage of the Dutch Caribbean.

She achieved global recognition representing The Netherlands as a finalist in the 2003 BBC Cardiff Singer of the World competition and for her portrayal of Carmen at Glyndebourne in 2008.

Modern music-lovers might remember Tania best for her performance in the Dutch 2019 edition of “The Masked Singer,” which she won as a robot.


Political Pioneer Angela Altagracia “Tata” de Lannoy-Willems (born 1913, died 1983) will be remembered for being the first female member of the Estates of the Netherlands Antilles in 1949.
Angela Altagracia "Tata" de Lannoy-WIllems
Angela de Lannoy-WIllems


Despite failing to be elected initially, Angela successfully secured her position and contributed significantly to the political landscape, holding office until 1954.

In 1951 she was also appointed to the Council of Ministers and was also elected to Curaçao Island Council.

She spearheaded the way for future generations of female leaders in the region.


These women’s exceptional feats not only celebrate their personal successes.  They have also managed to leave behind a lasting legacy that will shape the future by creating opportunities for the women for generations to come.

We celebrate their lives and their accomplishments at Bon Trade.  And we hope this article brings their enduring accomplishments to light for people around the world and even those living in the Netherland Antilles who may be discovering them for the first time.


Nothing captures the exuberance of the Caribbean better than carnival season.


Both locals and tourists are captivated by these vibrant festivals that usher in a kaleidoscopic tapestry of colourful sights and sounds across the islands.

For those of us at Bon Trade and our esteemed clients, who use our NVOCC services, we delight in the hues, rhythms and jubilations of these cultural celebrations in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.


Every island has its own flavor


Curacao Carnival


Each island offers its own unique carnival experience, infused with local traditions, rituals and global appeal. And Carnival 2024 will be no different.


The atmosphere in the streets vibrate with the sound of the Tumba and the Road March of the year.  The music is played by steel drum and typical Caribbean groups.  In some islands it is the calypso, and soca music.  Regardless of the island you will see flamboyant processions of dancers in elaborate costumes wind their way through the streets.

Aruba Carnival

The celebrations usually start in January and climax in February

During carnival season many resorts in Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are booked to capacity with holiday makers. After all, most of us love an opportunity to relax, dress up and dance the hours away.

A glimpse into history

The celebrations are often considered an opportunity for islanders to let their hair down, as the carnivals have their roots steeped in a fusion of colonialism, Catholic traditions and African heritage.

Carnival 2024 will attract visitors from across the globe to participate in these cultural celebration of music and dance.

Sint Maarten

Boom time for business

Carnival time offers island businesses the perfect opportunity to promote their businesses. Especially for those who cater to the festivities providing food, drink, costumes, and transport, helping to boost  the local economy.

Our Caribbean container and freight forwarding services are often booked up well in advance of Carnival. And we also have the privilege of transporting some of the materials and vehicles needed to put on these extravaganzas for local tradesmen.



Bonaire Carnival

Advice for overseas visitors

 For travellers seeking to immerse themselves in the Caribbean culture, there is no better time to visit the islands than during carnival. However, it is a good idea to book your transport and accommodation in advance to guarantee your place at carnival events. We would advise you to check local websites for full details and exact dates.

After all, you don’t want to miss out on the beauty and pageantry of these festivities, along with the sunset cruises, cuisine and rum cocktails.


Why Carnival matters


For clients of Bon Trade many of whom are global citizens with a penchant for the Caribbean’s rich culture, the Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao and Sint Maarten Carnivals offers more than entertainment. They are celebrations of heritage, a showcase of cultural diversity, that encapsulate the spirit of the islands’ rich history and are a testament to the resilience and creativity of the islanders, something we at Bon Trade cherish and encourage everyone to explore.


Bon Trade Intl. Corp. 40th Anniversary
Bon Trade Intl. Corp. was founded in 1984 to be a service company in support of the export trade to the Caribbean from South Florida, The Gateway to the Caribbean, and South America.

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