Willemstad is the territorial capital of the Netherlands Antilles. Located at 12°7′N, 68°56′W, on the island of Curaçao, it has an estimated population of 125,000. The city consists of two quarters: Punda and Otrobanda. They are separated by the St. Anna bay, an inlet that leads into the large natural harbour called the 'Schottegat'.
Punda and Otrobanda are connected by Queen Emma Bridge, a long pontoon bridge. The city center of Willemstad boasts an array of colonial architecture that is influenced by Dutch styles. The city center, with its peculiar architecture and beautiful harbour entry, has been made a UNESCO world heritage site.
Due to its location, Willemstad is the site of a seaport. The port of Willemstad has brought the island of Curaçao much prosperity. Willemstad became a center for oil refining by Royal Dutch/Shell in 1914.
The city also is a tourist destination and contains several gambling casinos. Cruise ships often port here.
Willemstad is served by Hato International Airport, which is the home base of Insel Air, Curacao's airline.
A much-debated question, is when and after whom the city Willemstad was named. According to one historian, Willemstad was named after Stadhouder (stadtholder) William II, but a second historian, who made a very deep study of Willemstad, thinks that the city was named after Stadhouder William III, who occupied this position in 1672 and later on, in 1688, became King of England.
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