Terramar Museum is one of Kralendijk’s cornerstone museums, recently opened in 2016. It has designed a modern-style exhibition that spans a timeline of over 7000 years of history of both Bonaire and also the larger neighboring Caribbean region.


The timeline of the exhibition covers the period from the early Amerindian settlers through the colonial period and the advent of slavery, all the way up to present day Bonaire. What is great about the exhibition is that you can see all the key and fascinating events that were unfolding on the other Caribbean islands, whilst Bonaire was taking its long and ever twisting transformation into the modern day Blue destination and Diver’s paradise it is today.

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Terramar’s collection is verse and they have many items that are up on display. Items in their collection span from early Amerindian Ceramics, stone, figurines and flint tools to Colonial clay tobacco pipes, glass slave beads and Spanish Olive Jars and even fascinatingly enough items from historic shipwrecks such as personal items of sailors, cutlery and ship parts. Some of their collection was also acquired from the neighboring islands such as Barbados, Trinidad and Martinique etc, and help to paint a greater historical picture of the Caribbean and it’s fascinating past.

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The Museum’s design was done by Steven Schaeken, whom is the director of NorthernLight, a Dutch design agency. The contents of the museum were setup by Schaeken along with Joost Morsink, a scientist and archaeologist, and initial director Ruud Stelten. The museum itself was created in one of the few remaining historic buildings in the heart of Kralendijk, a fitting venue to house the innovative exhibition.

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Majority of tourists don’t possess any knowledge of the unique and exotic history of the Caribbean. The historical value of the Caribbean is exceptional steep due to the deeply diverse interaction of world cultures that took place on the massive tropical archipelago. This is one of the Caribbean’s greatest treasures, underneath the immense natural beauty and azure-blue waters, lays a truly exotic mix of stories, monuments and diverse cultural traces. These can still be seen and heard in Bonaire and the larger Caribbean region.

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This is the aim of Terramar, to help promote the history of the region which according to the designer Schaeken, they aimed to do in a non-Eurocentric way, giving visitors a whole new understanding and perspective on the Caribbean region.

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The Terramar Museum is a non-profit organization, not financially supported by local or Dutch government. It has sadly had some financial problems as of late and was recently facing closure. Current director Jude Finies, worked hard to keep it temporarily open through discussions with various potential partners, government and donors. However, they are not out of the water yet and still need further financing to keep the operation running. They are stressing the importance of the Museum as an important centre for Bonaire to both house a permanent exhibition and be used as a means of further archaeological research and debate. For example, researching further into the Pre-Columbian period of the island, the Spanish era and further underwater archaeology, that still contains a large shroud of mystery. History is still waiting to be uncovered and the museum is hard at work trying to keep the institution afloat to continue this work. If you would like to support, donations are welcome and you can find more information on how to support via this link.

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You can reach the Terramar museum fairly easily. You can park your rental car at Wilhelmina plaza next to the Pasanggrahan. You can then stroll to the Terramar Shopping Centre in the centre of Kralendijk, which is right close to the Cruise Docks and gain access to the Terramar Museum from Kaya J.N.E Craane or from Kaya Isla Riba.