Saturday, March 19, 2011

Aruba - more Dutch than the Netherlands

My generation grew up in the Netherlands not knowing any better than that Aruba was Dutch, together with Curacao and St Marten. Nobody questioned this very much, and many of the islanders came to the “main land” to work and live. Of course, there were also people from Suriname and Indonesia that did the same, and we lived together, all happily united in the Netherlands. At least, that’s how it seemed to me.

In reality, the Dutch spent a few centuries looting these lands and killing those who thought that wasn’t entirely fair. They’ll never recover, and there’s very little original culture left on Aruba, but it has wonderful beaches and are now top tourist destinations. The capital of Aruba is Oranjestad, which is pronounced with the emphasis on the second syllable. It means City of Orange, where Orange is part of the last name of the Dutch royal family, and signature color of the Netherlands.

The architecture shows a blend of Dutch Calvinistic austerity and colorful Caribbean cheer. From the parking lots and malls surrounding the port rises a merry din. Up ahead is the marina and all around the blue-green water of the Caribbean Sea. Whatever its cultural heritage, Aruba still looks like a fine place to spend a holiday lazing.

Aruba welcomes a traveller with lots of parking lots and malls
Nice coasts
Slick marina too
Can someone please retire me...?

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