Pietermaai can look back on a vibrant past and has been writing history once again in recent years. Thanks to serious renovations starting in the early years of this millennium, the area’s decay has been turned around. Since then, Pietermaai is being referred to as Curaçao’s Soho or Quartier Latin. Just like these hip and happening areas in New York and Paris, Pietermaai has been transformed from a forgotten ‘no-go area’ to an attractive and bustling hot spot. Students, artists and entrepreneurs have brought about a true renaissance and injected the vivacious atmosphere that has now made this area a highly sought-after one for living, working and enjoying.
Pietermaai originated in the late 17th century as a suburb of the first settlement Punda, which had already started to become densely populated. The area was named after sea captain Pieter de Meij, who came to Curaçao in 1674 and had three houses built for himself in the area with materials belonging to the Dutch West India Company, for which his superiors in Amsterdam reprimanded him.
In retrospect, we can’t really be angry with Pieter. After all, thanks in part to Pietermaai’s authentic monumental beauty, Willemstad has been included on UNESCO’s prestigious World Heritage List. While strolling through the area’s charming alleys, you will sometimes feel like a time traveler.