Following a short visit to Aruba, Bonita (my wife), Jack and Barbara Anderson (Barbara is my sister) and I decided we would drive a circuit around the northwestern portion of the island of Curacao. The roads were excellent and as we rounded the north side of Saint Christoffel we stumbled across the Jaanchie’s Restaurant in Westpunt. This eatery has an island wide reputation (it was suggested to us by our hotel manager) of great local food. It’s located in an old farmhouse and is hard to miss with its white and pink/orange paint and surrounded by tropical vegetation. The place was packed for lunch but we easily found a table for the four of us. The owner, eventually made his way to our table, sat down beside us and explained that he was the oral menu. I ordered lamb with rice and a salad and it was served in a stainless steel divided tray which reminded me of my Army chow hall days. The food was delicious and during the meal a roving trio entertained us playing guitars, spoons, rattles and other assorted rhythmic equipment. If you have to have a very structured dining experience and are put off by an occasional bird fluttering by, then stay away. But if you like an interesting place to eat with cool vibes and you are bit of an adventurer, if you are in the area, by all means stop in and dine.
We next moved on to the Landhuis Knip which closed at 4:00 PM but since it was shortly after 3:00, they would not allow us to tour the house because they were in the “process of closing down for the day”. While they were “closing down” I managed to photograph most of the interior of the house while the tour guide sat talking to my sister for the next 45 minutes (or should I say while she was closing down). It’s too bad that the people who run the place were so uncooperative. They must have met their quota of tourists for the day. In any event, I took my photographs both inside and out and I would have to read the history online. So here we go.
The Landhuis Kenepa (shortened to Knip) is named after the fruit of the Kenepa tree, known as genip fruit in Jamaica. The house was built in 1690 and the plantation produced divi-divi pods, used for tanning and sheep wool. The house is a long rectangle with lots of windows to catch the sea breezes. The rooms are large and there are large terraces on the front and back and a large partially enclosed porch across the front (west side). The arches across the front give the house a majestic look. The gable roof is covered with red Dutch tiles and house is painted yellow with white trim. It’s said that one of the governors of Curacao decreed that all houses had to be painted any color except white because the sun shining off the white walls gave him a headache.
Landhuis Knip is an important monument in Curacao because it was here on 17 August 1795 that a number of slaves refused to go to work on the Plantage Knip van Caspar Lodewijk van Uytrecht at Band’abou (the Knip plantation). This was lead by a slave named Tula and his partner Bastian Karpata. The revolution quickly spread and soon over one thousand slaves were involved. The revolt was ended on 3 October 1795 by Luis Brion (a famous lieutenant of Simon Bolivar) and his troops with the death of Tula and Bastian along with 10-20 other slaves who had weapons in their possession.
The house overlooks the surrounding countryside and two beautiful beaches, Kleine Knip and Grote Knip. In 1875 there were still 175 slave huts and five stone buildings that housed 390 people. The house was restored in 1985.
Landhuis Groot (large) Santa Maria, near the village of Soto on the island of Curacao, is on a hill, opposite Landhuis Klein (small) Santa Martha. Dutch colonialists established the plantation 1696. The plantation was famous for its cattle, sugar, rum, indigo and divi-divi pods. They built the landhuis about 1675 on the 1,369 acre (554 hectares) plantation. At the end of the nineteenth century, the plantation was noted for its export of fruit, cattle and the production of ninety percent of the island’s salt which was extracted from the nearby Santa Martha bay.
The house is built of coral stone and rubble plastered over with lime mortar. The triangle fronts are unique on the island. The gable roof is covered with red Dutch tiles. The house is painted yellow ocher with white trim. The house is U-shaped with a patio in the “U” at originally was enclosed by a fence. The original statue of Saint Martha is still in the courtyard. It is unknown who were the first owners of the plantation but Director Jan Donker ran the plantation from 1673 until 1709. The other owners were:
- 1715 – 1733 The Schuurman Family
- 1733 – 1742 The Ellis Family / Kock
- 1742 – 1743 The Betch Family
- 1743 – 1797 The Berch Family / Ellis
- 1797 – 1829 The Rojer Family
- 1829 – 1850 The Doval Family
- 1850 – 1886 The Haseth Family
- 1886 – 1914 The Haseth Family / Descend
- 1914 – 1933 The Schotborgh Family
- 1933 – 1952 The Van der Dijs Family
- 1952 – present The government of Curacao
The plantation house now serves as a care facility for people with physical and/or mental disabilities and their products they make are sold in the shop.