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Our Swinging Old Lady History Queen Emma Bridge

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The Swinging Old Lady The Swinging Old Lady The Swinging Old Lady The Swinging Old Lady

Hello everybody, we are glad you are visiting us again.

Today’s article is dedicated to our Swinging old lady, our Queen Emma Bridge. A World Natural Heritage monument, the Queen Emma Bridge was constructed by American consul Leonard Burlington Smith in 1888 and is considered one of the world’s most unique bridges.
The Swinging Old Lady The bridge is hinged and opens to enable the passage of ocean going vessels. On the opposite end from the hinge is a small shelter where an operator controls two diesel engines turning propellers.
The propellers are mounted perpendicular to the length of the bridge which allows it to swing parallel to the shore. The process only takes a few minutes to complete. When the bridge is open to let ships from the harbor pass, pedestrians are transported free of charge via ferry.

The “Swinging Old Lady," the Queen Emma pontoon bridge connects the east side Punda to the west side Otrabanda of the city of Willemstad, Curaçao's capital and is instrumental to the viability of the port and Willemstad's city center. The Queen Emma Bridge, which already celebrates its 125th anniversary, has become an icon of the island, boosting tourism and Curaçao's economy.

Did you know?

The Swinging Old Lady The pontoons were built in Camden, Maine (USA) and transported to Curacao by sailboat. The movable section was locally built (in two separate parts) on the Motet wharf nor far from the bridge's current location. Mr. Smith considered naming the bridge “Alliance” since it connected the two halves of Willemstad, but the Governor at that time Nicolaas van den Brandhof proposed to name it after Her Majesty Queen Emma of The Netherlands... rumor has it Smith kindly obliged, particularly since his daughter was also named Emma.

Interesting fact!

The bridge was at one time a toll bridge, up until 1934 when the toll was finally lifted. Individuals wearing shoes had to pay 0.02 NAFls (Netherlands Antilles Florins) to cross over, but those without shoes were allowed free passage. It is common folklore on the island that savvy pedestrians would take off their shoes prior to crossing in order to dodge the toll, whereas some poor but proud pedestrians who did not have the luxury of wearing shoes on a daily basis would save theirs for crossing on special occasions and proudly pay their 2 cents at that time.
Proudly we can say, our Emma Bridge is the only floating wooden swing bridge in the world, and in 2013 was nominated as for one of the 8th Wonder of the World.
We hope you enjoyed today's article.
Sunset Queen Emma Bridge

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