The Protestant Cultural Historical Museum

Official Re-opening of the Fortchurch Museum

Willemstad, Curaçao, September 1, 2007

15 Years after the founding of the Protestant Cultural Historical Museum, Mrs. Bea van der Jagt, (at 93 the oldest member of the VPG) cuts the ribbon to mark the official re-opening of the Fortchurch Museum as Ruth Spetter (daughter of Reverend Mrs. Afke Boezewinkel) and archaeologist Dr. Jay Haviser (member of the Museum's Founding Committee) look on. In attendance for this special occasion in the Museum's history were the Governor of the Netherlands Antilles, Mr. Frits Goedgedrag and Mrs. Goedgedrag, as well as former Governor of the Netherlands Antilles, Mr. Jaime Saleh and Mrs. Saleh. One of the many special guests and Museum Donors included Drs. Silvio Jonis, the Secretary of the Board of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba which contributed financially to the renovation of the Museum. The official program opened with remarks by Mrs. Maritza Bakhuis, the Chairman of the Central Committee of the VPG (Verenigde Protestantse Gemeente van Curaçao), Mrs. Millicent Smeets-Muskus, Chairman of the Fortchurch Museum who initiated and supervised the complete rebuilding of the Museum over many months with great dedication, and Dr. Jay Haviser.

Guests were then treated to a recital of classical Antillean works performed by a great friend and supporter of the Fortchurch and Museum, pianist and composer Wim Statius Muller and his grandson Alexander Krafft van Ermel. We hope you enjoy the collection of photos from the event displayed below and invite you to come and see the beautiful new exhibits in person and learn about the rich history of Curaçao's Protestant community.



Pictured from R to L, The Governor of the Netherlands Antilles, Mr. Fritz Goedgedrag, Mrs. Bea van der Jagt (oldest member of the VPG), Mrs. Millicent Smeets-Muskus, Chairman of the Fortchurch Museum, Dr. Jay Haviser, member of Museum Founding Committee, and Mr. Wim Statius Muller, Pianist and Composer.




In 1990-1992 the former vestry of the Fortchurch was converted into a museum. The rectangular building of the church is around 20.5 by 13.5 meters and is constructed on the former warehouse of the Dutch West-Indian Trading Company.

The museum houses a small elegant collection of artifacts from the church's Dutch Protestant congregation ( 1635) , such as antique silver chalices, a mahogany and silver baptismal font and an antique mahogany 'bible table' , formerly used in 'landhouses'.

A documentation of the island's most notable families and an impressive collection of old maps of Curacao are also exhibited.

The Museum has been undergoing a renovation and will be reopening to the public soon.

In the meantime, here is a collection of photographs and information from previous occasions.

Old Treasures to New Accomodation

Willemstad, Curaçao, August 8, 2000

Mrs Millicent Smeets-Muskus, Chairman of the Protestant Cultural Historical Museum receiving artifacts of the National Museum. The artifacts will be given a place in the existing exhibition of the Fortkerk Museum.

Archeological treasures that are in the trust of the National Archeological and Anthropological Museum and have a relation with the Protestant community of Curaçao are lent to the Fortkerk Museum. With this, the National Museum acts in accordance with its policy to put up artifacts as much as possible in a relevant environment. It is believed that the artifacts come out better there. The old objects are supplemented with documentary material. All this will fill two display cases in the Fortkerk Museum.

Part of the artifacts come from the burial ground that lay hidden under the Temple at Wilhelminaplein and partly exposed by Dr. Jay Haviser. Other artifacts which were found in the vicinity elsewhere in Punda or St. Annabaai give supporting information. Thus, for example, square nails were found which were used for wooden coffins, so "coffin nails". The wood has practically moldered away, but the direction in which the nails were found in the ground gives insight into the shape and size of the coffin. Such information is important for the knowledge of customs and practices of the former Protestant community.

In addition to the Fortkerk Museum, the National Museum has already accommodated many artifacts and objects of art at the Maritime Museum, the Curaçao Museum, the Telecommunications Museum, Landhuis Knip, and, for optimal storage care, at the National Archives.

Royal Visit To The Restored Fortchurch & New Museum

Willemstad, Curaçao, November, 1992

The visit of Her Majesty Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands to the restored Fortchurch and the Protestant Cultural Historical Museum Curaçao in November, 1992. The restored Church and Museum opened in October 1991.


Her Majesty Queen Beatrix with Mrs. Millicent Smeets-Muskus, Chairman of the Protestant Cultural Historical Museum. The Queen's son, Crown Prince Willem-Alexander, and her late-husband Prince Claus look on as Her Majesty signs the Museum's Guest Registry.

(L-R) Dr. Jay Haviser, Mrs. Millicent Smeets-Muskus, and Drs. Carel de Haseth.

Courtesy of the Curaçao Museum Guide