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by Paul Bacsich (Sero), originally for VISCED

For entities in Curacao see Category:Curacao

Curacao, pedantically Curaçao (Dutch: Land Curaçao, Papiamentu: Pais Kòrsou which includes the main island of Curaçao plus the small, uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao") is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Curaçao is the largest and most populous of the three ABC Islands (for Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao) of the Lesser Antilles, specifically the Leeward Antilles. It has a land area of 444 square kilometres (171 square miles).

As of 1 January 2009, it had a population of 141,766.

Its capital is Willemstad.

Prior to October 2010, when the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved, Curaçao was administered as the Island Territory of Curaçao, one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.

The ISO 3166-1 alpha-3 country code CUW and the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code CW has been assigned to Curaçao, but the .cw Internet ccTLD is not yet in use.

Origin of the name

The origin of the name "Curaçao" is debated. The explanation gathering more consensus among the Portuguese and the Spanish is that the word derives from the Portuguese word for the state of becoming cured (curação). The reason for this is that sailors travelling for months in the sea would often contract scurvy. It appears that in one of such long travels, a group of Portuguese sailors landed for the first time in Curação and were cured from scurvy, probably after eating fruit with vitamin C. The island was known from then on as Ilha da Curação (Island of Healing). Another explanation is that it is derived from the Portuguese word for heart (coração), referring to the island as a centre in trade. Spanish traders took the name over as Curaçao, which was followed by the Dutch. Another explanation is that Curaçao was the name the indigenous peoples of Curaçao had used to label themselves (Joubert and Van Buurt, 1994). This theory is supported by early Spanish accounts, which refer to the indigenous peoples as "Indios Curaçaos". After 1525 the island appeared on Spanish maps as Curaçote, Curasaote, and Curasaore. By the 17th century the island was known on maps as Curaçao or Curazao. On a map created by Hieronymus Cock in 1562 in Antwerp, the island was referred to as Quracao.

The name "Curaçao" has become associated with a shade of blue, because of the deep-blue version of the liqueur named Curaçao (also known as Blue Curaçao). Today, locally, the island is known as Dushi Korsou (Sweet Curaçao).

There is an excellent Wikipedia article at

Education in Curaçao

Historically, education in Curaçao - and also in Aruba and Bonaire - had been predominantly in Spanish up until the late 19th century. There were also efforts to introduce bilingual popular education in Dutch and Papiamentu in the late 19th century. Dutch was made the sole language of instruction in the educational system in the early 20th century to facilitate education for the offspring of expatriate employees of Royal Dutch Shell. Papiamentu was tentatively re-introduced in the school curriculum during the mid-1980s.

Recent political debate has centered on the issue of Papiamentu becoming the sole language of instruction. Proponents of making Papiamentu the sole language of instruction argue that it will help to preserve the language and will improve the quality of primary and secondary school education. Proponents of Dutch-language instruction argue that students who study in Dutch will be better prepared for the free university education offered to Curaçao residents in the Netherlands.


Public education is based on the Dutch educational system and besides the public schools, private and parochial schools are also available. Since the introduction of a new public education law in 1992, compulsory primary education starts at age six and continues six years, secondary lasts for another five.

The International School of Curaçao (ISC), located in Emmastad, is an accredited, private, and co-educational day school which offers a strong academic programme designed to aid students in creating a solid foundation upon which they can build their future. Classes are taught in English and are available for grades K3 through 12. The school's curriculum includes the IB program, available to students attending grades 11 and 12. Coursework in the program allows students to receive the IB diploma, as well as college recognition for taking a variety of classes at both a higher and a standard level.

Higher education

The main institute of higher learning is the University of Curaçao, enrolling 2100 students. This seems to have been formerly the University of Netherlands Antilles - and the web site still uses that name - see - the non-country TLD .net might suggest an institution in transition. See also


There is a surprising lack of relevant references. One is:

  1. Education for All and its Influence on at-risk Student Policy in Curacao, Netherlands Antilles,

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