Monuments & Churches

Dutch Reformed Church

This church was built in 1755. The north and west walls of the tower were plastered white to serve as a beacon for those at sea. It is one of the most ecumenical buildings on Statia. When from ca. 1795 the members of the Dutch Reformed Congregation left the island, Anglican ministers, Methodist preachers and even a Roman Catholic priest who later became Bishop of Willemstad (Curaçao), held services within these walls. But there were no permanent users anymore. The church fell into disrepair. Every historical building material used on St. Eustatius is found incorporated in the walls: Dutch and New England bricks, cut local volcanic basalt and Bermuda lime stone. Many of the tombs in the church yard date back to the 18th century.

Location: On Kerkweg, Oranjestad
Guided Tour: No
Special Features: Tower can be climbed for spectacular views. (contact Monuments office next to Paper Corner)


Synagogue

The synagogue was built in 1739: an impressive two story building completely built from imported Dutch yellow bricks with cut stones from local volcanic rock decorating the corners and door and window openings. You can still see the holes for the beams that carried the ladies’ gallery and at the back is the brick staircase leading to this gallery. To the right of the entrance to the compound is a unique structure: the mikveh. This is the ritual bath that plays an important role in the traditional Jewish religious customs. The synagogue was used by both Sephardic Jews (of a Spanish/Portuguese background) and Ashkenazy Jews (Eastern-European heritage). At the eastern end of Oranjestad lies the Jewish cemetery with the oldest tomb stone dating back to 1742.

Location: On Synagogue Path, Oranjestad
Guided Tour: No
Special Features: Historical marker provides extra information


Roman Catholic Church

The Roman Catholic Church of St. Eustatius was built in 1910. It is dedicated to the saint whose name was given to the island. The building to the left of the church, on the edge of the cliff, was the church before. It is originally an eighteenth century merchant’s residence. Its original owner traded his property with the building first used as a church by the Roman-Catholics in 1845 as he was afraid his house would fall over the cliff. The walls of the original brick kitchen of this residence still stand between this building and the present church. To the right of the church stands the rectory which was built in 1897.

Location: at the top of the Bay Path, Oranjestad
Guided tours: No
Special Features: Ruins of the 18th residence of Governor De Windt (“Zeezicht”) behind the church

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Methodist Church

Bethel Methodist Church dates from 1843. It was built to replace an earlier chapel that was destroyed in 1843 by an earthquake that was felt as far away as New York. In 1896 a tower was added. Above its door you see a stone with “JJvP” engraved in it: a reference to John James van Putten, one of the most prominent members of the Methodist community in 1896. A bell cast in London in 1894 hangs in the tower. Methodism was introduced to St. Eustatius by a slave called “Black Harry.” Despite fierce persecution his group of followers continued to grow until it became the largest denomination on the island.

Location: on Black Harry Lane, Oranjestad
Guided tours: No
Special Features: Beautiful stained window with the Good Shepherd

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Fort Oranje

The first thing the Dutch did when they occupied St. Eustatius was to build a fort on a strategic corner of the cliff, overlooking the anchorage of Oranje Bay and the climbing path leading from the beach up to the rest of the island. It was named after the first family of the Netherlands: the House of Orange. Inside the fort stand buildings that originally served as the governor’s and commander’s residence, barracks and the town hall. The flag post, cistern and gunpowder magazine are amongst the original structures. A jail was built inside the fort in 1895. It was from this fort that on November 16th, 1776 the flag of the United States was first formally recognized by a formal gun salute.

Location: at the top of the Bay Path, Oranjestad
Guided tours: No
Special Features: Plaques commemorating the First Salute including one presented by US President F.D. Roosevelt


St. Eustatius Historical Foundation Museum

The award winning Museum is housed in the former stately home of the planter Simon Doncker. It was originally a plantation house, one of the oldest on the island, with its two story core built entirely of Dutch imported yellow bricks. It already features on the oldest detailed map of the island from the 1740s, where it’s called ‘Doncker’s Old Temple.’ The Museum showcases the history of the island from the time of its pre-Columbian inhabitants, highlighting the trading days as ‘The Golden Rock,’ the famous First Salute and the days of slavery. Lavishly furnished period rooms illustrate the life of the rich planter-merchants.

Location: Ada de veer-Southern Road, Oranjestad
Guided tours: Yes
Special Features: Museum shop

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