Flamingos and more Dutch history

Zoutpannen Jan Kok - Curacao Travel Blog

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The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok

In the late Middle Ages The Netherlands needed huge amounts of salt. In that time Dutch fishermen caught a lot of haring which was processed at sea and conserved in salt. Salt was obtained in Portugal. In 1580, however, Spain conquered Portugal. Since The Netherlands were in state of war with Spain, the salt deliveries were terminated.

The Dutch started looking for other salt resources and found those in Venezuela, that, ironically enough, was conquered by Spain as well. The suppressed Venezuelans were happy to, illegally, sell their salt to the Dutch. This last for a long time, but eventually the Spanish built fortresses preventing the Dutch from getting their beloved sea mineral. After that, the Dutch started running their own salt fields, mainly on the Caribbean Islands of Sint Maarten and Bonaire, but also on Curaçao.

The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Sint Marie Bay near Landhuis Jan Kok and Landhuis Hermanus had perfect evaporation conditions. Special walls were constructed to irrigate and harvest the salt.

The "Zout Pannen" (Salt Evaporation Ponds) on Bonaire are still in use. Those on Curaçao have become a nice historic site. And not only historic, also biological. The shallow salty waters of the Sint Marie Bay attracts huge groups of Flamingos.

We were lucky enough to see these distinguished pink birds, quietly walking in the ponds looking for food. A beautifully sight. Unfortunately a tropical rain storm aborted the flamingo session and scared us back into our "giant" Daihatsu.

More pictures below!

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The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
The Salt Ponds near Jan Kok
Landhuis Jan Kok
Landhuis Jan Kok
Not near Jan Kok but in Saliña Si…
Not near Jan Kok but in Saliña S…
Zoutpannen Jan Kok - Curacao
photo by: mdalamers