The Blue Horses in Oranjestad, a book by Heleen Bongers

Heleen reports she was inspired by her husband Evert Bongers, to transition some of his Dutch-language stories into English for the benefit of visitors. She thinks of the book as: Your slice of paradise in stories and photos.

I said transition because Heleen did not literally translate Evert’s stories. She gave the original materials a short and sweet bundling with spectacular images, resulting in an easy to read and appreciate guide of Aruba’s sights, landmarks and historical personalities.

In case you don’t know, retired teacher Evert Bongers is considered Aruba’s one and only historian, having compiled a number of informative books about Aruba, past and present. He is currently working on a number of projects, one revolves around the long forgotten Eagle refinery, a walking tour, besides collaborating on a number of efforts to make the island’s unique history accessible and palatable for visitors and locals.

Among the 34 chapters of the new book, readers may find informative narratives about the Blue Horses, the Caiquetios Indians, Frenchmen’s Pass, The Gold Rush, The Alto Vista Church, the California Lighthouse, The Colony, Quinta del Carmen, Betico Croes, Architecture, Traditions and Celebrations, Facts about the island, as well as official holidays, and more.

In Heleen’s own words: “The Blue Horses in Oranjestad is a book filled with photographs, of this fantastic island, but also with stories about Aruba’s past: Read about early settlers, their art work, the impact of the oil refinery, what happened here during World War II and how tourism gave the island a much-needed boost when the future looked uncertain. By reading it, you will get to know this island and its cheerful inhabitants, a bit better.”

“Enjoy the beach, the restaurants and the cool vibes,” she concludes, “and we hope to see son soon again.”

The book was proofread and edited by Evert Bongers and Marisol Zinghini, the lay out and cover were designed by local artist Irene Peterson; it was printed in full color, in Bogota, Colombia.

The book contains photographs by Lex Corbach, Ron Steens, Erik Neuteboom, Najib Gomez and the two Bongers. It also contains many rare photographs from private collections.

Dutch-born Heleen was an English language reporter and PR personality before becoming a retailer. She devoted much of her leisure to windsurfing and photography, and to the rescue of animals.

Proceeds from the book will go to her favorite rescue foundations.

The book is for sale at the Aruba Donkey Sanctuary for Awg 45.50 / $26 and at all DeWit Vandorp Gifts stores in the hotels – Bucuti, Divi All Inclusive, Tamarijn All Inclusive, Manchebo, Holiday Inn, Avenida Milo Croes, Main street, Reina Beatrix Airport, and more. [email protected]

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May 27, 2023
Rona Coster