Regional Office for Culture in Latin America and the Caribbean

Portal of Culture of Latin America and the Caribbean

Aruba - Monsigneur Niewindtstraat 37

The cultural heritage of large-scale Caribbean plantation slavery was introduced by Afro-Caribbean labor migrants in the 1930s and 1940s. One of the contributions of the Afro-Caribbean migrants was in the field of (wooden) architecture. Although most of the original dwellings of the Caribbean migrants have disappeared, some wooden living houses with typical bread woodwork still exist. Despite overdue maintenance and some alterations, the Peterson house, located at Monsigneur Niewindtstraat 37, is a beautifully preserved example of Afro-Caribbean architecture in San Nicolas, Aruba.

According to both the present owners and independent experts on Aruban architecture, the building is unique on Aruba and deserves recognition and preservation. It has not (yet) been placed on the National Monuments List.
The building is owned by the family Peterson. The family has expressed their willingness to contribute to cultural or educational programs. Recognition of Afro-Caribbean cultural heritage would further encourage the awareness of the Afro-Caribbean cultural legacy on Aruba, especially in the (culturally much neglected) San Nicolas area.

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Monsigneur Niewindtstraat #37 was originally built in an unknown location, eastward in the nearby Lago Oil Refining Companies compound “The Colony.” It is not known who were the first owners or inhabitants of the house. The building changed owners several times and was moved to its present location no later than 1952. Its present owners, family Peterson, obtained the house in 1956. The construction is a two-storey wooden building placed on stone stilts. The stilts rest on a cement foundation. The roof is an A-frame and has two sets of dormers, on the west and the north side. The second floor has a balcony overlooking the former Lago tank park. In the 1950s, the original stairway to the second floor was closed and moved. In the 1960s, the veranda (1st floor, south) was closed off, using wooden sheets and aluminum window shutters. The original floor (1st floor, living room) was partly covered by tiles and an imitation parquet floor. A number of the original windows were replaced by timber or aluminum windows. One of the original windows can be seen in the pictures. Despite several modernizations and overdue maintenance, the building has not lost its original character and design.

Accessibility: Good
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Other data of interest


Historical name

Monsigneur Niewindtstraat 37





Access level


Current Use

Living House

Original use

Living House

Property kind


Expressions of intangible heritage associated

Architectural design and construction techniques.