Paradise publications, a very creative and visionary publishing house based in Curaçao, has published the fifth edition of the magazine Made in Curaçao. In this edition, the focus is solely on stories of people living and working in the historic Otrobanda quarter of the capital Willemstad.
The love story that left a mark
Among the stories, you find inside is that of Valeska Boom. Her parents’ love story, which began in Otrobanda, has given the neighborhood a magical feel to her and it inspired her to join the board of the Ser’i Otrobanda Foundation. Established in 2012, this foundation conducts activities to enhance the development of the neighborhood, preserve its rich and authentic culture, bring it back to its original splendor and maintain its infrastructure up to date.
Cleaning up the neighborhood
Another story portrays Lisandra Martis, the president of the Otrobanda Federation, which is celebrating its 20th anniversary this month. This organization focuses on the necessities of the Otrobanda neighborhood while also educating its residents about the importance of hygiene, security and other social issues. In October it will be launching a campaign for the waste management of all of the car wrecks present throughout the neighborhood.
The important monuments of Otrobanda
Made In Curaçao also sat down with Jonathan Jukema, director of the Curaçao Monument Fund Foundation. He talked, among other things, about the restoration of a monument and the importance of living in one, especially in Otrobanda. Buildings are protected as monuments when they are at least 50 years old and possess one or two of the following values: beauty, art value and significance for science, history of the country and folk value. A great part of the monuments in Otrobanda comply with these criteria.
Murals that bring buildings to life
Another featured story is that of Arto Elstak, another board member of the Ser’i Otrobanda Foundation and proud resident of Otrobanda. One of the many interesting projects he helped organize with the foundation was the ‘Casas Vivas’ project. This project was aimed at tackling the problem of the many empty buildings found throughout the neighborhood by inviting artists to make colorful and vivid murals on their outer walls. These murals have attracted the attention of many tourists on the island.
A forest in Otrobanda!
The magazine also gives the narrative of Angelique Schoop and her daughter Caroline Kolk, both residents of Otrobanda who are contributing to the community. Angelique started Angelica’s Kitchen and Angelica’s Delights there, a food and travel service, and Caroline is now working on an amazing project called Urban Food Forest Otrobanda. The purpose of this project is to ultimately transform 500 urban square meters into a lush food forest where every plant, shrub and tree is either edible or medicinal.
Otrobanda: The Muse
And lastly, we get the tale of Carlos Blaaker, a Surinamese visual artist who has been living in Curaçao since 2009. He moved to Otrobanda almost five years ago and has been in love with the neighborhood ever since. He takes great inspiration from the neighborhood to create sculptures, paintings and photographs.
The Perfect Time To Invest
Otrobanda is known for its narrow alleyways, historic monuments and its charmingly authentic atmosphere. But these stories illustrate how people also contribute to its allure. Many young and creative people are now moving there and this, combined with the many restorative projects taking place throughout Otrobanda, has brought fresh new life to the district. Now is a momentous period to invest in this and the other historically rich and colorful districts of Willemstad.