Royals conclude visit to Curaçao | THE DAILY HERALD

Getting a taste of Carnival during Friday’s Tumba concert.

A “Chichi” painting session was cancelled.

At Hòfi Mango


Dinner in the Cathedral of Thorns

WILLEMSTAD–King Willem-Alexander’s visit to Plasa Brion in Curaçao last Thursday was all about children and sports. He gave the starting shot to register for the annual King’s Games, while primary school pupils took part in sports competitions on the square.

  Attendees had to deal with an incident when a confetti cannon apparently malfunctioned and hit the leg of Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas. A woman in a wheelchair also hurt her thumb. Fortunately, the first-aiders present acted quickly and no one was seriously injured.

  The monarch, Queen Maxima and Princess Amalia then walked into the historic Otrobanda district, where they talked to residents, met artists and watched musical performances, including one by Harry Moen, a well-known music teacher of the area.

  Afterwards a lunch with local authorities followed at the governor’s palace in Fort Amsterdam.

  However, the painting of a so-called “Chichi” by the royal family members was cancelled at the last minute on Thursday afternoon. They did visit such a doll and spoke to its maker Serena Israel, but the painting session that was to follow did not go through.

  There had been some commotion about that part of the visit’s planned schedule in recent days. Gallery owner Lusette Verboom sees the art object as a caricature of black women “with her legs spread wide, showing her breasts prominently.”

  Therefore, according to her, the activity would not have been appropriate. “At a time when we are processing our slavery past, where we are engaged in a search for equality, for self-respect of the black population in this society, it does not seem to me to show dignity if we see the royal party painting the caricature of a black woman.”

  The artist disagrees. “I stand for colour,” she said. When asked, the Netherlands Government Information Service indicated that local authorities determine the programme and therefore also deal with any changes.

  Instead of having the royals do some painting, Governor Lucille George-Wout took the floor. She stated in the presence of the king, queen and princess that “the appearance of the Chichi is often spoken of, but it is about the inner value.”

  The eldest daughter in a family is often called Chichi in Curaçao. George-Wout praised her “connecting” role: it is a pillar within the family that is important.

  The king, queen and Princess Amalia closed off their second day on the island with dinner in the “Cathedral of Thorns” at country house Bloemhof. Twenty-one locals who mean a lot to the community were invited, symbolising the royal couple’s years of marriage.

  The delegation toured the rural western part of Curaçao known as “Banda’bou” on Friday. They went to the former Knip plantation where Tula started the crushed slave revolt in 1795, for a performance about the uprising and talked to descendants of enslaved people.

  The group then visited Hòfi Mango, a former sugar plantation that is now a nature park, where, among other things, a horticultural training programme has been set up.

  In the afternoon they attended a presentation on the beach of Cas Abao by the Sea Turtle Conservation Curaçao (STCC) and the Dutch Caribbean Nature Alliance (DCNA) about marine protected areas and protecting the turtle population. The crown princess was then allowed to release a rescued turtle into the sea.

  The royal family members received an explanation about, among other things, tumours in sea turtles and their beach nesting cycle. This was followed by a demonstration by volunteers on the beach showing how they rescued a sea turtle from a discarded fishing net in collaboration with the Dutch Caribbean Coast Guard and divers.

  The official visit of King Willem-Alexander, Queen Máxima and Princess Amalia was concluded Friday evening with a Tumba concert on Plasa Brion.

  The royal party visits St. Maarten today, Monday and Tuesday, followed by St. Eustatius and Saba later this week.

Source: The Daily Herald