No, your eyes do not deceive you. There, perched along the side of a nondescript mound in an otherwise barren landscape of mud and varying degrees of underbrush are nine whitewashed letters purposely arrayed to mimic the nine whitewashed letters in the famed Hollywood sign out in Tinsel Town. This, however, is Curacao. Sint Willibrordus, Curacao to be exact.
So, what’s with the sign?
Well, to hear our friends at 1,000 Awesome Things About Curacao tell it, the sign speaks to the aspirations, creativity and whimsical nature of one of the island’s more colorfully diverse communities.
Located in Curacao’s western region, about 15 miles outside of the capital, Willemstad, Sint Willibrordus has primarily been known over the years for its stunning church, which dates back to 1888.
More recently, though, a spirit of whimsical civic pride has seemingly caught on, giving rise to the Williwood designation. It’s no joke either, as the name was officially adopted by the town in November 2011 and local merchants apparently do brisk sales of Williwood-branded t-shirts, hats and other merchandise.
This whole Williwood thing has apparently put this otherwise sleepy neighborhood on the map, attracting visitors to her roadside bars and BBQ spots to drink in the local scene.
How did it all begin? From 1,000 Awesome Things About Curacao:
A nickname spray-painted on a wall 3.5 years ago meant to poke fun at the hysterical “Hollywood” antics of neighbors — especially those who congregate bo’i palu (under the tree) — has gone viral… putting their name on the map quite literally!
I passed through this area a few times during my trip to Curacao last spring, but never saw the sign, or had a chance to stop in at the church. On my next visit, though, you can be sure that I’ll be spending a good bit of time here hanging with the locals under that one special tree to get a sense of what this Williwood phenomenon is really all about.
To learn more about Williwood, check out the full 1,000 Awesome Things About Curacao article here.