Bonbini na Korsou! Welcome to Curaçao! That’s what all of the tourists worldwide hear when they arrive here on this Caribbean rock. Curaçao with its rich culture and history has managed to put itself on the UNESCO world heritage list. It’s a melting pot with so many cultures from European to South American to African to Asian to name a few. Sometimes it feels like the whole world had once been living here.
Throughout the years, most of the neighborhoods in the center of the city, Willemstad, got a face-lift. One of those neighborhoods is the beautiful Scharloo and just on the north-west side of it, is the smaller neighborhood Fleur de Marie.
Scharloo is bursting with monumental buildings with the most beautiful designed architecture.
The details in the designs of the buildings are very impeccable. Every building had its own bright color, without clashing with each other.
The name Scharloo comes from the name Charloo or Charlois (latter is a neighborhood in the city of Rotterdam, The Netherlands, but has no connection to this part of Willemstad). The two above names were derived from the original word, Scharloo. Its meaning is to be found in the words composing it, schaar, meaning a shore and loo, very common suffix Dutch names of places, meaning a small wood or a lawn.
In 1713 Mr. Peter Claas of Charloo (or formal know as Peter Claas Oostdorp) paid taxes of 30 pesos for this part. But there weren’t many houses that time. And you had to use a small boat to cross the Waaigat bay to get to the center of the city, what we know now as Punda. In 1870 the neighborhood of Scharloo started to form the shape as we now know as it is.
The neighborhood is now seen as a lively new restoration. There is a younger generation making a statement in here. Introducing art, street art and culture for others to see and feel the same togetherness that once was a big part in this community in this neighborhood. The buildings are being restored; new restaurants, shops and entertainment locations are being added.
The beautiful Maritime Museum is located in one of a beautiful monumental building located at the wharf. Going from that part to just a bit behind it to a block with creative workspaces likes Creative Lab and Workspots, apartments, a social foundation Curacao Cares and of course restaurants like Beygalz and the newest addition Fleur de Marie Eatery.
The owners of Fleur de Marie Eatery, Korra Pietersz Juliana & Angela Guiamo, choose a part of the neighborhood of Scharloo that is one walking distance from the charming Fleur de Marie. Fleur de Marie had a massive face-lift and making it even more beautiful to walk around and explore this neighborhood. The positive change was and still has a good impact on the locals living here for years. That is why Fleur de Marie Eatery also organizing walk tours where you can get a chance to, beside see the neighborhood, you can also interact with the locals and see their homes from the inside. There’s no better way to know the locals than to be guided by a local, don’t you think?!
What great stories you can hear from them. For example that the family of the famous late singer, Celia Cruz, was from the neighborhood of Fleur de Marie, before they moved to Cuba. And that the neighborhood was very lively with its nightlife. Celia Cruz even came back one time and visited the ‘Oranje Bar’ (Orange Bar).
Stories you’ll hear from a famous singer from back in the day, Mr. Harold Diels, who bought his house in 1964 from Mr. Sha Capriles (owner of Maduro & Curiels Bank). He’s originally from the neighborhood of Otrobanda. That is on the other side of the St. Anna Bay. He met the love of his life in Fleur de Marie and they raised their beautiful family here. Joining him in the conversation was also a soccer player from the team Jong Holland, national and international known, Pong Malgel. I got a tour of his house, he shared some music with me and both shared their stories about the changes, bad and good, they had experienced over the course of many years. Mr. Diels can now say that Scharloo / Fleur de Marie is one of the safest neighborhoods on the island.
Fleur deMarie Eatery is also located in one of the monumental buildings of Scharloo. It has one of the simplest architecture designs in comparison with the other monumental buildings in the neighborhood, but it doesn’t take away the beauty of it.
So if you come to Curacao with a cruise or spend some weeks on the island, the neighborhood of Scharloo & Fleur de Marie is recommended. And don’t forget to stop by at Fleur de Marie eatery with their healthy food but with a Caribbean twist to it. Tell them JenPEN send you.