Green View

Green View’s The Story Of Heerenstraat

The pedestrian promenade which you see in the feature image is Heerenstraat, situated in the Punda quarter of Willemstad, Curaçao and it has an interesting back story.

Green View presents the story of Heerenstraat:

Heerenstraat used to support automobile traffic and was the heart of commerce and trade in Punda. Here only the elite used to go to shop, with stores that sold clothes, fabric material, and trunks among other things. There were no shop windows, only wooden doors which were locked with heavy iron bolts. This counted for all the stores in Punda.

Back then glass windows and doors which the client could open him- or herself would have caused a scandal and when they entered the store they were always helped by clerks who in turn were always male. Back in the beginning of the twentieth century up until the early thirties, the stores were predominantly owned by Curaçaoan Sephardic Jews; of the thirty-three stores they owned seventeen. The rest were owned by non-Jewish Curaçaoans, European Dutch, Germans, Asian Indians, and Latin Americans.

Back then life in Heerenstraat was so tranquil that at times owners would have enough leisure time to play pranks on each other. In the early thirties, however, Curaçao also experienced a period of economic depression and many of these stores had to be sold to new owners.

That was when the Curaçaoan Jews sold their stores to Askenazi Jews from Eastern Europe who at the time came here to escape the poverty and organized massacres inflicted on their people in their native countries. As the decades unfurled the scene shifted to the predominantly Asian Indian-run stores you see on Heerenstraat today.

See take a look in this street when you’re not enjoying the views at Green View. *wink*

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