To start off this blog, I decided to include old posts on other personal social media. The following was originally posted on my personal Instagram account on December 4 2014. I wrote it when I was at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam doing some research for an assignment. In actuality, at that time I was an architectural history student at the University of Amsterdam.
I was, and still am baffled by the lack of research done on architectural history (and also urbanism) of the small Caribbean islands that are also known as the ‘Lesser Antilles’, The Bahamas, and Turks and Caicos. However, what surprised me the most, was the scarcity on architectural history resources about Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten: six Caribbean islands that, together with the Netherlands, form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (‘Koninkrijk der Nederlanden‘). The raised question back then in 2014 are still relevant in today, and probably for a long period of time:
“The ABC, SXM & BES islands are still part of the Dutch Kingdom, but there’s almost nothing written about their architecture, which played an important role in the development of their culture. #Curaçao has the most written sources; probably because it was used as the base colony in the past for the Dutchies. #Aruba has some information, but for the other islands there is a scarcity of literature in the Dutch libraries and perhaps on the islands themselves. On another note, in the architectural programmes of most universities in the Netherlands, the Dutch Caribbean is not mentioned at all! And it still baffles me that there is so little known in the #Netherlands about the history, not to mention arts, architecture and culture of the Dutch Caribbean islands. I ask myself: why? Segregation? Aren’t we all part of one Kingdom? Other questions that linger in my head often times: why aren’t we as #Caribbean islanders interested in our own culture and past? Is there a lack of education on the islands themselves? Does isolation also play a role here? Or does the “minderwaardigheidscomplex” still rule the islanders?
This lack of written sources should motivate the current generation and the ones to come, to be appreciative and make our existence known to the world. Well, at least to ourselves and the Netherlands for starters… Den un manera of otro, e cultura y pasado di e isla(nan) a forma nos bida pa con e ta awo; sea un tiki so of hopi mes. Sin miedo mi pueblo, sin miedo. ♡ [Translation: One way or another, the culture and past of the island(s) has formed our current life; be it a little bit or a lot.]”