WELGELEGEN

This area in Cay Hill was named after the plantation with the same name of which only ruins remain nowadays. Plantation “Welgelegen” was owned by the first medical doctor in the Dutch side Mr. Rijgersma. He was sent to the island by Dutch King Willem III in 1863 after the official abolition of slavery. Rijgersma’s task was to look after the health and wellbeing of the entire population of 2819 persons. Of those were 1878 that had just gotten their freedom. Some of them stayed on Sint Maarten, cultivating their land, while others migrated to surrounding islands in search for a better life. With such a small population, the doctor had ample time to research the flora and fauna he encountered. From those he painted aquarels and sent them to universities and institutes in the Netherlands, Sweden and the USA. A century later, those treasures, were compiled by a Dutch scientist Mr. Hennie Coomans in two books that are available in the library for the reading public. “Welgelegen” means that the plantation was well situated with a nice view, good breezes, good soil and a large pond. Hotel l’Espérance can be found right in the middle.

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