Pontoon Bridge Curacao
An iconic symbol of the island.
When you’re on the island, a visit to Pontoon Bridge Curacao is actually a must. The bridge is also known as the Swinging Old Lady, but its actual name is the Queen Emma Bridge. It is a characteristic pontoon bridge that crosses the St. Anna Bay in Willemstad. With a span of 168 meters, the bridge connects the two neighborhoods of Punda and Otrobanda in the historic center of Willemstad. It is one of the oldest bridges in the Caribbean, opened in 1888, and has become an iconic symbol of the island. As one of the most recognizable structures in Curacao, both the local population and tourists come in droves every year to see this wonder of engineering.
Piece of History
In Curaçao, the first bridge was built by Johannes Jacobus Römer, a Dutch civil engineer sent to Curaçao to oversee construction and maintenance. The original bridge was a wooden swing bridge that opened to allow ships to pass through Sint Anna Bay on their way to the harbor. The current Pontjesbrug Curaçao was built between 1886-1888 with African hardwood and iron by the Nederlandsche Handelmaatschappij (NHM). In 1888, the Pontjesbrug was put into use. The name was changed to “Queen Emma Bridge” after Queen Emma opened the bridge in 1888 during her visit to the island for the 100th anniversary celebration. Since then, the bridge has been renovated several times iin a short period of time. When it was renovated in 2005, 478 cubic meters of African hardwood were incorporated into the structure.
Until 1934, people had to pay to cross the Emma Bridge unless they were barefoot. Payment was made by 2 cents. Recently, 2 of these authentic pennies were auctioned off on the island, during a Herring Party. By the way, people who did not want to pay at the time simply took off their footwear.
Characteristic Pontoon Bridge
The Pontjes Bridge is unique in that it is the only floating swing bridge in the world. Pontoons (small boats), which move fairly freely, support the bridge’s construction. You can feel the waves and movements of the water as you cross the pontoon bridge. The bridge is mobile and surprisingly adaptable. You might feel a little nauseous (seasick) when walking across the Pontjesbrug Curaçao. When you walk across the Emmabrug, you can see Fort Amsterdam and the Riffort as well as Brionplein in Otrobanda and Punda’s Handelskade beautifully.
Terra Boutique Hotel
Located At Sea, In The Middle of Pietermaai.
Terra Boutique Hotel has a unique location in the heart of the island of Curaçao, Willemstad. While you can relax and have a dip in the Caribbean waters, it’s also possible to enjoy the Caribbean culture and bustling neighbourhood of Pietermaai. Shops, bars and the finest restaurants are within walking distance from our Hotel. Besides this, Pietermaai has a lot more to offer like museums, live-music, markets, local crafts and the best Caribbean street food.
After all the hustle and the bustle of Willemstad, you can enjoy the beautiful and relaxing sunset at our private beach with your favourite drink.
World-famous Pontoon Bridge Curacao
Today, the famous Pontoon Bridge is not only a functional bridge connecting two parts of Willemstad, but also an important landmark that has become synonymous with Curacao tourism. You can take iconic photos from the bridge with the Handelskade in the background – just like on all the postcards! Locals use the famous Pontoon Bridge daily for transportation purposes or for special events, such as the Carnival celebrations in spring and the ushering in of the New Year.
The operation of a wooden drawbridge
As soon as a ship needs to enter or leave the port, the Pontoon Bridge must be opened. The opening of the pontoon bridge is indicated by the ringing of a bell. Pedestrians must then leave the bridge within 3 minutes. Do you stay on the bridge? Then you will have to wait for the ship (or several ships) to pass. Sometimes this can take quite a long time, so keep this in mind!
To still get from Punda to nice stores in Otrabanda during the passage of a ship, you can use the free ferry (Ferry) as an alternative transport. This is located about 100 meters down the Handelskade and sails back and forth every 15 minutes. Even when the Pontjesbrug is passable. When it is very busy there are even 2 ferries alternating from one side to the other.
The length of time that the Pontoon Bridge Curacao remains open is indicated by a different flag color. The bell rings, the gates close after a few minutes, and how long the bridge remains open is indicated by a colored flag on the driver’s cab. If the bridge is marked with an orange flag, it is restricted access only. It is safe to assume that the bridge will be accessible for quite some time if the blue flag is visible.
The Emma Bridge can be kept at a minimum length when only small boats need partial opening. However, if a cruise ship or other large boat needs to pass, the bridge can be left open for hours. Tugboats take their time piloting large ships in and out of the harbor. The view, by the way, is very breathtaking.
If you’re in the vicinity of the famous Pontoon Bridge Curacao, take a look at the Floating Market as well. This market is located on the Sha Caprileskade, opposite the Handelskade in Punda. Farmers and fish vendors from Venezuela bring their daily catch to this market to sell. Since agriculture is not very common in Curacao, it is worth it for Venezuelans to make the trip and sell their goods.
Because the costs are generally lower than those of other shops, this marketplace is very popular with locals. It is customary to haggle when making purchases. You will also be amazed at all the different types of fruit and vegetables, which are artfully arranged. You will also find other goods, such as nice Curacao souvenirs.
We would love to welcome you at Terra Boutique Hotel
The Historic Pontoon Bridge Curacao as a Symbol
The famous Pontoon Bridge is not only of historical importance, but is also considered one of the world’s marvels of engineering because of its innovative design. The bridge has been mentioned several times in international magazines, such as National Geographic Traveler. The bridge plays a crucial role in the local infrastructure, making Willemstad easily accessible to both sides. Something that promotes economic activity throughout the region.
It also leaves a lasting impression on tourists who cross the bridge. Essentially, this structure symbolizes connection and what can be achieved when people work together to create something unique and beautiful. So on your next visit to Curaçao, the Pontjesbrug is definitely one of the unique attractions for your to-do list!