A Touch of Dutch & A Feel of French

Whereas St Maarten / Saint Martin is a truly Caribbean island and for that atmosphere we advise to go where the locals go, get a St Maarten distilled rum and have a good Johnny Cake, on various places there is also European Dutch accents to be spotted on the Dutch side and a European French ambiance to the French side.

For a Dutch feeling but with better weather, try:

A cannon in Fort Amsterdam between Great Bay and Little Bay close to Philipsburg, Dutch side capital of St Maarten

1 . Fort Amsterdam

It is not for nothing this 17th century holds the name of the Dutch capital. Fort Amsterdam was the key stronghold for the colonial Dutch, protecting the salt trade and making Peter Stuyvesant lose his leg by the Spanish.

Red tram at the entrance of Amasterdam bar on the Frontstreet in Philipsburg

2. AMAsterdam Cafe

AMAsterdam cafe: A great location for a Frontstreet selfie with a true Amsterdam streetcar, or even to pose in an Amsterdam Red light district window. Also the sole location where St Maarten souvenirs are sold in typical Dutch Delft Blue!

Woman serving beers at the Dutch Blonde Beach Bar on the Boardwalk in Philipsburg

3. Dutch Blonde Beer Bar

The home of the Dutch lager inspired Dutch Blonde Beer, and you will find plenty of other orange references to the little European country and its grassy polders on this Boardwalk beach bar – serving Dutch Pancakes!

Bar and umbrellas on Karakter beach, next to the airport of St Maarten

4. Karakter

The name of this hidden gem of a Simpson Bay beach bar, Dutch for “Character”, reveals both the background of its owners and of that of its many European visitors. No wonder, Karakter is the best place to be at January 1st, when it is home to the typical Dutch “Nieuwjaarsduik” or new year’s dive as also done in the Netherlands. A typical orange cap is provided complimentary, as is an ice cube bath for the total northern-European feeling of this time of year.

Restaurant area of Holland House during sunset on St Maarten / St Martin

5. Holland House

Holland House ‘s name also predicts a background, as well as its Ocean Lounge’s offer of typical Dutch “bitterballen” for those who get hungry in Frontstreet.

6. Philipsburg Front Street

Visit the Philipsburg “stegen”, still using the Dutch name for alley (steeg). They often still have historical buildings from a different timeframe. Within the Philipsburg stegen / alleys, you find a large array of wall paintings of local artists, often depicting historical events.

Courthouse in Philipsburg, St Maarten / St Martin

For a European French accent to your vacation, some suggestions:

Fort Louis in Marigot, French side capital of St Martin

1.Fort Louis

Fort Louis overlooking Marigot is a very clear remnant of French colonial times, still carrying the most popular name of French kings.

Grand case beach with lush St Martin landscape at the back

2. Grand Case

Grand Case restaurants offer a large choice of French inspired cuisine in many variations. Also a large offer of Caribbean and international cuisines.

Orient Beach with sailboats on the shore during a warm day on St Maarten / St Martin

3. Orient Beach

Orient Beach and its many beach bars give a feeling of the French Riviera. Add to this its status of semi-clothing optional, and you might lose track whether you are in the Caribbean or in St Tropez!

Marigot from a distance, French side capital of St Maarten / St Martin

4. Marigot

French side capital Marigot offers great variety of French boutiques and fashion stores for every taste and style. Wander around the streets of Marigot and hop in and out of shops along the way!