Curaçao and the Shell heritage


Madness, but can it be remedied?

Turning Point

In 1985, Royal Dutch Shell sold its refinery in the port of Curaçao to the former government of the island. For the symbolic amount of one guilder. The refinery was outdated and no longer met the current environmental standards. The legacy for Curaçao is a very outdated facility and a huge asphalt lake. The Dutch government, then a co-owner of Shell, puts pressure on the government of Curaçao to either dismantle the refinery or a clear plan for the future.

Curacao’s history dates back to about 3000 BC. Rock paintings and artifacts show that the island was already inhabited. The Spaniard Alonso de Ojeda was the first Western discoverer who set foot on Curaçao in 1499. The original inhabitants, the Caquetio, were expelled and the island transformed into a major agricultural and livestock project. Large numbers of sheep, cows, horses and pigs shipped from Spain and its colonies to the…

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