Dutch Forts, Philipsburg - Stein Travel
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Dutch Forts

The town of Philipsburg boasts the remains of two historic forts that bear witness to its strategic importance in days of old. Fort Amsterdam, the first Dutch military establishment in the Caribbean, was built in 1631 on a peninsula between Great Bay and Little Bay, but it was captured almost immediately by the Spanish. The Spanish later abandoned it, and the little fort returned to Dutch hands, being kept in use right up to the 1950s as a signalling and communications station. The other fortification, Fort Willem, lies to the west of downtown Philipsburg, topped with a television transmission tower. Both forts are worth the walk to visit, particularly for the views afforded from their elevated positions.

Information & Facts

Language

Dutch and French are the official languages, but English is widely spoken. Locals commonly use a language known as Papiamento, a mixture of Portuguese, African, Spanish, Dutch and English.

Money

On the Dutch side the currency is the Netherlands Antilles Guilder or Florin (ANG), where one guilder is divided into 100 cents, but US Dollars are also widely accepted and prices are usually quoted in Dollars as well as Guilders. On the French side of the island the Euro (EUR) is the local currency, although establishments will also accept US Dollars. There are numerous bureaux de change and banks throughout the island and ATMs in the main towns in both national sectors; travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted.

Time

GMT -4.

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