Porschist Magazine 66 - Curacao

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Magazine for Porsche enthusiasts • year 17 • quarterly • May/June 2021 • 66



“Dushi Curaçao”: Island of colours.


he idea to go to Curaçao arises during our conversation with Roy Heijdra of U-Boat Worx in Breda. When he spontaneously invites us for an introductory trip on one of their mini-submersibles in their training centre on Curaçao, we are immediately interested. Hmm, Curaçao… that’s somewhere we haven’t been yet. Shortly after, we get in touch with the Curaçao Porsche Club. Barely two weeks later we are dipping our toes into the warm sand.

text: kathleen van bremdt - photos: kathleen van bremdt & sven hoyaux



Curaçao is located in the south of the Caribbean, a stone’s throw from the coast of Venezuela. It is an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Together with Aruba and Bonaire it forms the so-called ABC islands, or Leeward Antilles. Curaçao is situated only 12 degrees north of the equator and has a wonderfully warm and sunny climate all year round. The average temperature is around 27°C. The ideal place for a hearty dose of vitamin D which we need after the winter.

“We see guests as friends and we treat friends like family. That is our philosophy.” Thijs van der Valk, Baoase Luxury resort


5 BAOASE: PARADISE INSIDE PARADISE We are staying - noblesse oblige - in the best hotel on the island: the Baoase Luxury Resort (pronounced ba-oase). The five-star resort has three rooms, eleven suites and nine villas. All surrounded by tropical gardens and delightful water features on an idyllic private lagoon. The Beachfront Pool Suite assigned to us is beautifully decorated with a four poster bed, blue accents and shell lamps on the wall. Baoase is one of those places where - once you are there - you don't want to leave. The emergence of this earthly paradise looks like a fairy tale: it grew out of a man’s desire to create an island for his beloved. That’s romance. The man was none other than Ad van der Valk, an entrepreneur in heart and soul and a well-known name in the Dutch hotel industry. Ad’s youngest offspring, Thijs, has been general manager of Baoase for a few months now and tells us exactly how it all turned out. “My father fell in love with Curaçao and bought a house by the sea with a beautiful banyan tree in the garden in the residential area of Marie Pampoen, where he stayed with his girlfriend Bibi.

Baoase Luxury Resort.


The cottage was converted into a dream villa and five more villas followed, one for each of his children. Not long afterwards, stone by stone and rock by rock, BibiIsland was built so that a real lagoon was created with a beautiful man-made beach. Systematically, Baoase - the first two letters are the initials of Bibi and Ad has grown into a high-end resort”. Bibi is passionately involved in taking care of the decor, her fondness for Bali is evident in the Asian sculptures and finishes that give the resort a palpable Zen feel. The big blue fish in the Banyan tree that you immediately see upon entering are also her idea. “That tree actually symbolizes the Baoase family”, explains Thijs. “We see guests as friends and we treat friends like family. That is our philosophy.” It is an approach that works extremely well.


Dining at Baoase is pure gastronomic indulgence. René Klop makes sure of that. This chef has been watching over the top quality standard of the kitchen for ten years. And not only that: He is also responsible for the service, purchasing, table setting, events and reservations. “It’s a total package,” he explains, “everything has to fit together perfectly.” His drive for perfection is reflected in every detail. Vegetables, meat and fish are even flown in twice a week. “That may sound strange when you are on an island where you can, so to speak, pick the fish out of the water, but there is no continuity and you need that for a high-class restaurant.” René regularly organises events to which he invites starred chefs. Viki Geunes from 't Zilte (Antwerp) and Roger Van Damme from Het Gebaar (Antwerp) have already taken part. “That way I get new inspiration”, says René. .


TRAVEL PORSCHIST WILLEMSTAD: CAPITAL ON THE UNESCO'S WORLD HERITAGE LIST Willemstad’s foundation stone was laid by the Dutch who, in 1634, established a trading settlement at the beautiful natural harbour on the Caribbean island of Curaçao. During the centuries that followed, Willemstad developed into the city it is today: atmospheric, colourful, with a unique Dutch-Portuguese-Spanish architecture and a beautiful historic centre. The city contains four districts - Punda, Otrobanda, Pietermaai and Scharloo - each with its own individual character. Punda is the oldest district of Curaçao and dates back to the 17th century. The other three districts were not added until a century later when the city was due for expansion. In Punda, the Old Dutch architecture with sleek lines and gable ends is still clearly visible in the street scene. We see the most beautiful examples on the Handelskade. The beautiful old merchant houses stand along the waterfront like soldiers on parade. The image has now become the city’s mascot and even appears on the number plates of the cars. Initially, the buildings were all covered in white plaster. Until a governor in the early 1800s thought that the sunlight that reflected off the walls was harmful to the eyes. A law required all facades to be given a different colour. No problem for the Antilleans who quickly went to work with a paint brush. Thanks to that law, Willemstad has grown into one of the most colourful cities in the world. Although the ordinance has long ceased to be in force, the custom of painting houses in cheerful colours has remained.


We have the best view of the beautiful Handelskade from the other side of the bay. We get there easily using the Queen Emma Bridge, which connects the districts of Punda and Otrobanda. Otrobanda literally means “the other bank”. The Queen Emma Bridge, popularly called Pontjesbrug, is not just any bridge. It is the only floating wooden swing bridge in the world. The bridge is supported by sixteen floating

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Gabriela dos Santos on the balcony of one of the beautiful mansions in Scharloo, Willemstad.




‘Bolo di bruid’: most striking house on the Scharlooweg, Willemstad.

pontoons. It regularly opens to make way for shipping traffic. 15,000 to 20,000 people use the bridge every day. Since the inauguration of the Queen Juliana Bridge a little further along in 1974, cars are no longer allowed on the wooden bridge. This special bridge plays an important role in the Porsche story, as you will read below.

Willemstad is one of the most colourful cities in the world.

Otrobanda was Willemstad's first working-class neighbourhood and is a network of picturesque alleys, completely the opposite of Punda's austere street plan. The already colourful houses are made even more colourful in Otrobanda by Street Art artists. The district still has the character of a pleasant working-class neighbourhood. Pietermaai is located right on the sea and has in recent years grown into the nightlife area of Willemstad. You can dine here, have a nice drink or enjoy the nightlife. It is a remarkable neighbourhood where restored historic buildings, modern constructions and dilapidated buildings stand side by side. In earlier times, the wealthiest settled in Scharloo, building lavish villas with pillars and large patios. Many buildings have unfortunately not stood the test of time, but some have been restored to their former glory and now house embassies and government buildings. Especially the houses on the Scharlooweg show clearly how the elite lived here at the end of the 19th century. The most striking house can be found at number 77: a green, richly decorated mansion with a fan-shaped staircase. Because of its frivolous appearance, it is nicknamed “bolo di bruid” (wedding cake).

While Willemstad is already an explosion of colour, the many beautiful murals that pop up all over the city add an extra visual dimension. Street art is omnipresent in Curaçao: on crumbling walls, in hidden alleyways, on the corner of a house, on a basketball court ... everywhere we look, we find artistic gems. Sometimes the works are impressively large, at other times charmingly small. Sometimes exuberant and explosive, at other times subdued and refined. But every artwork tells a story. The great thing about Street Art is that it is not hidden in a museum or chic gallery, but that it is art that is visible to every passer-by, for free, the work of the selfless artist. Perhaps most of all, it is the unstoppable creativity that flows through the city that reveals and allows us to understand the true face of the island.

THE SECRET OF CURAÇAO IS DIVERSITY Curaçao is a true melting pot of cultures. The ancestors of the current inhabitants of Curaçao came from almost all corners of the world, and ensured an extremely varied composition of the population. But what is the official language on an island where some fifty nationalities live side by side? That is Papiamento, a juicy mixed language of Dutch, Portuguese and Spanish. Dutch and English are the other two of the three official national languages. It is believed that the word Papiamento originated from the Portuguese word “papear” which means “to talk”. We think “dushi” is a great Papiamento word. It has many meanings and can hardly be translated, but one thing is paramount: it is always positive. Depending on the context, it means sweet, lovely, fine, delicious, sweetie, beautiful, attractive or darling.





17 Porsches on the Pontjesbrug. Photographer Kevin Newton, Drones Inspire Curaçao.

TRAVEL PORSCHIST PORSCHE-DAY Curaçao may be small, but there are a lot of Porsches driving around. Robert van Heulen, one of the board members of the Porsche Club Curaçao, has arranged with the port authorities that we can place a number of Porsches on the Pontjesbrug, the bridge that is normally only intended for pedestrians and cyclists. “On Sunday, at eight in the morning, the bridge will be closed to traffic for half an hour”, Robert tells us. “Police have been notified that cars will be stationed on the bridge. You will have half an hour for the photo shoot. I have called on the members of the club to be present, but given the early hour I cannot be sure how many will show up.” At half past seven, we are already waiting at the bridge, our cameras ready. Robert is the first to arrive with his beautiful 911 T C. Shortly after him, a red Carrera drives up to the starting place. And then they follow one after the other: a black 992 Convertible, a silver GT3 RS, a black Macan … In no time at all, no less than seventeen Porsches with roaring engines are ready to drive onto the bridge. We never expected such a large turnout. The bridge operator himself is so impressed that he lets all the cars drive on in succession, even though it was initially said that only three cars would be allowed on the bridge. It is a delightful sight: all those shiny supercars in a long row on the most iconic bridge of Curaçao!



When the photo work is done, the cavalcade drives to the Starbucks a little further on for a Cars & Coffee meeting. It is the ideal time for Porsche fanatics to catch up or get acquainted. There is a wonderful atmosphere: friendly and cheerful at the same time. After all, the car enthusiasts do not experience such a special Porsche event every day. And neither do we.

In no time at all, no less than seventeen Porsches are in position on the Pontjesbrug.

Even though we now have beautiful photo material, we still have one request: “Berg Altena, with all those brightly coloured terraced houses… could you perhaps stop there for a final snapshot?” The Porschists have got a taste for it and immediately set off to their pet vehicles. Although the houses are on a busy road, the Porsches park unabashedly in the middle of it. The through traffic gives way without grumbling. With a thumbs up we indicate that the photo shoot is over. The Porsches drive off with a loud honk, hands waving from the windows. We beam at each other. What an adrenaline rush, what an experience! Two days later we notice that our Porsche promotion was indeed a special event, when we are asked to give a radio interview and an article appears in the local newspaper.



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IN THE EYE OF THE EAGLE One image of the city keeps haunting us: that of that beautiful mural of an eagle’s head - black penetrating eyes on a bright blue background. Imagine a grey GT3 RS with a black bonnet in front of it: that must be a dream image. It doesn’t need more than one phone call to Robert. “The GT3 RS? That is Fred’s car. He will be happy to do that. He also has a black 911 RS. Nikki, his wife, can come with that. Then you have two cars for the price of one.” How easy everything is on this island.

A GT3 RS head-on in front of a penetrating mural of an eagle's head delivers a fantastic picture.


DEEP SEA ADVENTURE With a mini submarine on an adventure in the ocean: who wouldn't want that? U-Boat Worx promised us it would happen and keeps its promise. Barbara, the training centre manager, is waiting for us. She introduces us to two of her colleagues: Boris and Alex. “They will man the dinghy,” Barbara explains. “I am connected to Boris via my headset all the time, so absolutely nothing can go wrong. By the way, you are lucky,” Barbara continues, “because Klaudie is here. She is an underwater photographer and will be diving with you to take some pictures of you while you are in the sub. A nice souvenir.”

As we descend deeper we end up in a world of blue and green tones. 20

21 We climb in through the hatch at the top. We see all kinds of buttons, levers and screens. It feels like we are stepping into a space capsule. We crawl to the front of the sphere where we settle into two comfortable chairs. Barbara joins us and takes a seat behind us. She closes the hatch, takes some sort of remote control in hand and starts the submarine. Slowly the sub sinks below the water surface. As soon as we are completely in the water, it seems as if the acrylic dome dissolves into nothing. We no longer see a hull, only water. It’s unreal. We become one with the environment. In front of us, next to us, above us… we see fish everywhere. We don’t know where to look first. A beautiful coral wall with waving algae looms up. Klaudie also appears. Her blonde hair sways in the water. She takes pictures diligently. It is quite unreal to sit under water and see a diver swimming in front of you, while you are bone dry yourself. As we descend deeper, the colours change and we end up in a world of blue and green tones. “The water absorbs the red and yellow rays of the sun”, Barbara explains. The deeper we dive, the darker the colours become, until they are nearly black. However, as soon as Barbara turns on the submarine’s strong floodlights, the colours reappear. Admiring the beauty of the underwater world from a mini submarine is an unforgettable experience. Photo: Klaudie.



It is quiet in the boat. All we hear is the soft hum of the electrically powered propellers. We don’t notice any difference in pressure at all. In an airplane and especially when diving, the pressure difference affects you and you have to clear your ears. In the submarine, however, the pressure remains constant at 1 bar, an unlikely piece of top technology. Barbara sends the sub to two shipwrecks. They are two tugs that have been around for about thirty years now. “Wrecks are always interesting”, Barbara says. “It’s amazing how quickly a new habitat forms around an underwater object. Sponges grow, there is coral, once there is coral, fish also come and a new biotope is created very quickly. Scientists sometimes use it to bring troubled reefs back to life.” We descend even deeper. Eventually, there is no more coral to be seen and the fish are also disappearing. We stare into a deep darkness. This is the unknown world. Is Atlantis out there somewhere or was Plato wrong? “What do you think”, asks Barbara, “we are now at a depth of 76 meters. Shall we leave it at that?” Without realising it, we’ve been on this trip for two hours. When we slowly slide back up and the world takes on colour again, we realise that we have experienced something fantastic. If you ever get the chance, do it!

23 The power of the Caribian Sea: Boka Pistol.

DE SCHOONHEID VAN DE NATUUR Toegegeven, het klinkt cliché ‘zon, zee en strand’, maar wat is er heerlijker dan het zachte zand tussen je tenen voelen, het zout op je huid en de warme zonnestralen op je lichaam? De westkant van Curaçao heeft maar liefst 35 stranden, allemaal even idyllisch. Vele liggen verscholen in kleine baaitjes. Kom je op het juiste moment dan heb je een strand voor jou alleen. Aan de oostkust van het eiland is het water echter niet zo rustig en laat de Caribische Zee zich van haar ruige kant zien. Met donderend geweld stroomt het helderblauwe water er in grillige inhammen, de zogeheten ‘bokas’. Het beste spektakel levert Boka Pistol waar de golven aan weerszijden van de inham met zo’n grote knal metershoog tegen de rotsten slaan, dat het lijkt alsof er een pistool wordt afgevuurd. Natuurliefhebbers kunnen hun hart ook ophalen in het Christoffel Nationaal Park. Het landschap is er heuvelachtig en herbergt zeldzame tropische diersoorten en planten. Een ideaal gebied voor lange, prachtige wandelingen. Waar je


THE REEF: A FANTASTIC REAL ESTATE PROJECT BY KRIS VANDERBEKEN AND PETRA SCHRAUWEN Coincidence does not exist. During the photo shoot on the Pontjesbrug we had briefly met Kris and Petra, a sympathetic Belgian couple from Brasschaat who were present with their black Macan. “We know your magazine all too well”, they said warmly. “Shall we meet up?” They invite us two days later. It is quite possible that their names will ring a bell, because Schrauwen Plumbing and Heating is a well-known name in the construction world. Kris and Petra live in Blue Bay, a beautiful compound resort on an area of no less than 220 hectares with all the trimmings. An oasis in green and blue with its own beach and golf club. When we enter their home, our mouths drop. The wall-to-wall windows are wide open and we look straight out at a glittering ocean. The large indoor and outdoor living areas merge seamlessly into each other. The light, the view, the feeling of space! How wonderful it must be to live here.


Kris explains how they ended up in Curaçao. “In 2011 we received “an offer we could not refuse” as they say, for our company Schrauwen. After the takeover, we stayed on board with a lot of enthusiasm for a few years, but at a certain point you come to an age when you think: if we want to build a second life, it has to be done now. We had kept a holiday home on Curaçao for five years and we thought it would be a good idea to start something here. The Dutch language makes entrepreneurship accessible and so plans started to grow. We relocated in July 2018. Two years later we started our project: the construction of forty contemporary apartments here in Blue Bay.” Starting such a grand project abroad… you have to have guts to do that. “That’s right”, says Kris, “but the passion for furnishing and construction is simply in our genes and we can rely on thirty years of experience. With the project we want to achieve something unique at the top of the middle segment. A holiday residence or permanent home for people looking for a place in the sun in beautiful surroundings.” We conclude that The Reef is actually a resort within a resort. Spread across an area of 8000 m2, forty apartments are under construction in five buildings, all with two bedrooms and two


Petra Schrauwen and Kris Vanderbeken.

"The passion for furnishing and construction is simply in our genes and we can rely on thirty years of experience." Kris Vanderbeken


26 bathrooms in a luxurious finish made with European materials. The eye-catcher is a fantastic pool pavilion between swaying palm trees. Just like in their own home, the houses are designed in such a way that inside and outside flow into each other. “That’s how we live here on the island”, explains Kris, “feeling the breeze through the house and enjoying the sunset every day.” The Reef has everything a person dreams of. In addition, the price is attractive. Rates start from $ 320,000. In Knokke, France or Spain you would pay at least twice as much for the same thing. In addition, it is summer 365 days a year on Curaçao. The minimum temperature does not drop below 27 degrees. And the distance is not an obstacle either, because KLM operates a daily direct flight from Schiphol. In the meantime, it has been proven that the project is a winner. Forty percent of the apartments have already been sold in three months’ time. Visit the website www.thereefcuracao.com and be charmed by the beautiful promotional film. Naturally, the conversation also turns to Porsche. Kris and Petra are two thoroughbred Porschists. “We have already driven almost all models in all classic colours. At the moment we are driving a black Macan. But there is a 911 on the wish list again and we wouldn’t mind it being in a special colour. Porschist Magazine is always a pleasure for us. We never thought we would ever be in the magazine ourselves.”

BRABO DEVELOPMENT Design - Create - Build


PORSCHISTS AND THEIR STORIES Curaçao was a revelation. We really enjoyed our stay on this fantastic island that has so much to offer. The great Baoase resort, the minisubmarine trip, the photo shoot on the Pontjesbrug… all memorable moments. But what will stay with us longest are the many warm encounters with cordial Curaçaoans and passionate Porschists. They all have their own story. We therefore let some of them tell their stories further on in this magazine. ♦

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Impressive line-up at Berg Altena, Willemstad.

With our thanks to : Marlow De La Fuente (Director of Sales & Marketing Baoase Luxury Resort). Thijs van der Valk (General Manager Baoase Luxury Resort). All Porsche owners who took part in the fantastic photo shoot on the Pontjesbrug and Berg Altena. Brandon and Kevin: drone photos and film. Gabriela dos Santos: model. Barbara van Bebber (U-Boat Worx).

Antwerpen • Brussel • Gent • Hamme


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