Willemstad vĭl´əmstät [key], city (1992 pop. 24,235), capital of Curaçao and former capital of the Netherlands Antilles . The city was the commercial and industrial center of the Netherlands Antilles (dissolved in 2010) as well as a free port and tourist center. It is important as a transshipment point and refining center for petroleum sent across the Gulf of Venezuela from Maracaibo ; however, the petroleum demand declined in the mid-1980s. Willemstad has a distinctive Dutch character with streets lined by narrow, gabled houses.
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