Stichting News

At the end of January, the royal family visited the Caribbean part of the Kingdom with the aim of introducing the Princess of Orange to the islands. In the Aruba program there were various themes that were given attention. These included; nature, colonial history, sports but also the culture of Aruba. Also represented in the company were the State Secretary for Kingdom Relations, Mrs. Alexandra van Huffelen, the Governor and the Prime Minister of Aruba.
In the cultural part of the program on Monday, January 30, no less than three projects of the Monumentsfund Aruba (SMFA) received attention during the royal visit, a cultural educational project and two monuments were visited.

To start with, the royal family visited the project ‘Looking for Boy’.

LOOKING FOR BOY is a transnational tribute to this young hero of Aruba who gave his life on November 6, 1944 for the freedom of Aruba and the Netherlands.
An exceptionally courageous, overconfident and honest young man who is still an example to us.

During a visit to Aruba, the Culture Generation Foundation (Stichting Cultuurgeneratie) noticed that among the portrayed heroes on the walls of Aruba, their own young hero from the Second World War was missing. That is why Colegio San Antonio, Filomena College, Muchila Creativo, Monumentsfund Aruba, the MBO Media College in Amsterdam, Stichting Cultuurgeneratie, the Department of Culture Aruba and the Fund for Cultural Participation went LOOKING FOR BOY.
All pupils and students previously immersed themselves in digital archive research into the Ecury family, which has been digitized by Archivo Nacional Aruba and the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation. This archival research formed the basis of their creative expressions in theatre, poetry and visual workshops.

Artist Esmeralda Kelly created the mural on the exterior of Filomena College, inspired by the students’ ideas during their art workshops led by her and Rudberth Wolff. The students of Colegio San Antonio created a tableau vivant, musically accompanied by students and teachers of Muchila Creativo. They studied this tableau vivant in honor of our hero Boy Ecury with theater coaches Lupita Bernabela and Jhon Freddy Montoya.
The students of the MBO Media College from Amsterdam filmed the final presentations and made a short documentary.

During the visit to Filomena College Mavo, the royal family was able to admire the mural and paintings by the students and artist Esmeralda Kelly. The play was presented by the students of Colegio San Antonio and Muchila Creativo. After this presentation, the royal family went to the Water Tower in San Nicolaas, a monument that is more than eighty years old. A tower built in the 1930s when a water distillation factory was built in Aruba in Balashi. In the same period, the distribution of water through a network began.
This led to an increase in the demand for water, which led to the decision to build two water towers, one for Oranjestad and one for San Nicolas. Both towers were built in Art Deco style and were taken into use in 1939. After being out of service for a few of years, the towers were sold to Monumentsfund Aruba for the symbolic amount of 1 guilder. Both towers were restored with local financing and a low-interest loan from the National Restoration Fund (NRF). The tower of San Nicolas, which was visited by the royal family during their visit, has been Aruba’s Museum of Industry since 2016.

Finally, the royal couple and Princess Amalia had the opportunity to visit the iconic Nicolaas Store building, from where they enjoyed various presentations together with our director Anne Witsenburg and the community of San Nicolaas. The Nicolaas Store is notable for its unique architecture on the island and was built in the 1940s by Mr. Nicolaas. He was a merchant who arrived in Aruba in the thirties and lived with his family on the first floor of this building while on the ground floor in his shop ‘Nicolaas Store’ he sold books, newspapers, instruments, gifts and much more.  One of the most popular shops and also a meeting point in San Nicolas that unfortunately also had to close after the closure of the refinery. After being vacant for 20 years, the family sold the building to SMFA. With local funding and NRF, it was possible to completely restore this monument and give it a new purpose. It was converted into a ‘Community Museum’ in 2014 and the well-known Kulture Café is located on the ground floor.

For SMFA, as a foundation that has existed for more than 26 years, it has certainly been an honor to have been able to present part of our projects to the Royal family.