Historic Oranjestad

  1. Historic Oranjestad

Discover historic Oranjestad

Oranjestad, the island’s capital, with its traditional Dutch street names, is less than 2 miles from the resort. The city mainly consists of old buildings, typical Caribbean houses, and the 17th-century Dutch Fort Oranje. The colonial history of the Netherlands is still clearly visible on St. Eustatius. During your stay on the island, you will undoubtedly learn more about the role that St. Eustatius played in the Dutch slave trade. At the time, the island was used to grow products such as coffee, coconut, tobacco, and sugar, and was the main trading post of the West India Company.

Sights

  1. Fort Oranje
  2. St. Eustatius Historical Museum
  3. The Jewish Honen Dalim Synagogue
  4. The Dutch Reformed Church
  5. Berkel Family Plantation
 
 

The 17th-century Dutch Fort Oranje

Fort Oranje was built on the rock face of Oranjestad to protect the island against enemies and pirates. The Fort is made up of a courtyard with three bastions. Fort Oranje is the most important and best preserved of the sixteen remaining defenses on the island. The Dutch, French, and English fought for years to get hold of St. Eustatius, whereby the Oranje Fort kept changing hands and played an important role in history.

The famous First Salute
World history was written when the Dutch Governor Johannes de Graaf ordered the famous First Salute fired from Fort Oranje on November 16, 1776. Nine cannon shots were fired to greet the Andrew Doria ship, which sailed under the American flag. The salute from the island was the first time that the flag of the United States had been officially recognized by another country. In 1939, US President Roosevelt presented a plaque in honor of this event, which can be admired by the flagpole on Fortress Square.

With its rich history and breathtaking sea views, Fort Oranje is a must-see during your stay. Go on a self-guided discovery or book a historical-cultural city tour with a guide. The tourist information office is located in the fort.

 

''World history was made when the Dutch Governor fired the famous First Salute''

📸 St. Eustatius Historical Museum

The St. Eustatius museum can be found on the Emmaweg in the center of Oranjestad. The museum is located in a former plantation house that is one of the oldest and most beautiful houses on St. Eustatius. The museum paints a clear picture of what life on the island was like during the 18th century. During your visit, you’ll learn more about the role of the Netherlands in the international slave trade and why St. Eustatius has also become known as the Golden Rock.

 

📸 The Jewish Honen Dalim Synagogue

Situated on the Synagogue Path, the ruins of the Honen Dalim Synagogue are a beautiful site in the historic heart of Oranjestad. The synagogue takes you back to the 18th century when there was a lot of trade on St. Eustatius. Materials for the construction of the synagogue were brought over from the Netherlands. In 2005, a mikveh (ritual bath) was also discovered here; a special find for St. Eustatius.

 

📸 The Dutch Reformed Church

During your walk through the historic center of St. Eustatius, the walls of the Dutch Reformed Church are also worth a visit. The walls and tower are all that remain of this church from 1755 as the roof unfortunately collapsed during a hurricane. The adjacent cemetery is full of 18th-century gravestones and statues, including that of commander Jan de Windt.

 

📸 Tip: Haven't gotten enough of the history of St. Eustatius yet? Visit the Berkel Family Plantation Museum on the other side of the island. Peanuts and corn were grown on this former plantation, and the Museum is named after the family that has lived on the estate since 1913.

 
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