Curaçao is not only sun, sea and beach, scattered across the island you will find over 80 country houses, still intact, often with a rich history. A special and well-maintained one is Manor Bloemhof.
You’ll find this cultural center right around the bend as you turn from Schottegatweg East onto Santa Rosaweg. The Manor House can be visited Tuesday through Saturday between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m.
Tip: drive a little further and park in the Number Ten parking lot, that way if you’re still wandering around the garden after closing time you can just walk across the little bridge to your car.
Cultural center with plenty of history
Manor Bloemhof dates back to 1735 and has been owned by the same family since the early 1900s. The grounds include not only the mansion, but also a large garden filled with works of art and sculptures. Do you like something and would like to put it in your home? This is possible, as many of the items are for sale. On the former water plantation, in addition to the large house, you will find an art studio, a large original well a bathhouse, as well as the Cathedral of Thorns. There are also regular workshops given by local artists, you can watch cultural film every month in the small outdoor theater and musical performances.
What makes the history of this mansion rare is that it has been owned by a woman for over 100 years. May Henriquez inherited the mansion in 1972 and decided to convert the carriage house into her sculpture studio. Since then, Manor Bloemhof has been an important venue for the local Curaçao art scene. Thus, important and major plays were translated into Papiamentu by May and performed by local theaters, concerts held, receptions and exhibits.
Exhibitions featuring local art
In 1999, May Henriquez passed away and her daughters and granddaughter took over Manor Bloemhof and established a foundation “Bloemhof Exploitation Foundation. Since 2002, the mansion has been open to visitors. Every six to eight weeks, a new exhibit features art by local artists. Want to know what exhibit is currently hanging? You can find these on the manors website. Upon entry, you can purchase a ticket (NAF 18 for adults and NAF 10.50 for children) with proceeds going to the foundation. As are the proceeds from the fun art pieces for sale in the store.
Cathedral of Thorns
In 2020, the artwork “Cathedral of Thorns” designed by artist Herman van Bergen opened in the garden of Manor Bloemhof. The artwork is made from thorns of the Acacia Tortuosa and in the shape of a labyrinth. You can walk through it and admire art by other artists. In addition, elements of all religions can be found in the artwork.
Short introductory tours will be given at 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. daily. The staff is clearly enthusiastic about the mansion and you can hear this in their stories. After this, you can walk around freely. Do you really want to know everything about the Manor? Then you can make reservations for an extended tour. On Wednesday, there will be a personal tour that addresses the art at Bloemhof Manor and you can also meet Herman van Bergen. On Thursdays there is an art, history and nature tour at 9:30 a.m. and on every first Friday of the month there is an event focused on (an illuminated) Cathedral of Thorns at 7:30 p.m.
A cultural outing
Dushi Korsou is more than just beautiful beaches and great weather. The island has a rich history and the local art is more than worth seeing. Especially since this is not yet widely known. Manor Bloemhof is an incredibly fun outing if you are interested in the history, art and nature of Curaçao. There are many shady spots and you can combine Manor Bloemhof well with, for example, lunch at the Number Ten located next door.
In short, Manor Bloemhof is definitely worth a visit. Check the website to see when there are which events. Certainly the event on the first Friday night of the month is worthwhile.