Willemstad, capital of Curaçao and the Netherlands Antilles, is one of the richest cities in the world in terms of culture and diversity. The city itself is actually divided in two sections—Punda and Otrobanda—connected by the Queen Emma pontoon bridge. Both sections provide visitors with duty-free shopping. Willemstad covers an area of some 450 square kilometers, and has a population of 135,000, which is composed of 55 nationalities.
Like Havana (Cuba) and San Juan (Puerto Rico), Willemstad is a typical port town. However, it is one without a hinterland, and focused on trade with the surrounding colonies, mainly the Spanish colonies on the South American continental coast, but also with French and English colonies.
According to a comprehensive survey by the government monument bureau there are 750 historic buildings in Willemstad alone, which merit preservation. New scaffolding goes up almost every month. Progress has been astonishing in just ten years and it is likely that, in the very near future, regions of the city will have regained their former splendor.