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Terramar Museum Marks the Beginning of a New Era

Xp Bonaire IslandLife Feature Story

“To protect and guarantee the most important cultural activities, authentic customs and cultural identity of the island and its original inhabitants for the generations to come.”

(Culture Policy, Bonaire, 2010)

You might remember not so long ago, in 2020, the Museum Terramar, located down town Kralendijk was in danger of closing. Intensive conversations and efforts between the Director, Jude Finies, and various potential partners, including governments and donors, resulted in the continuation of the museum.

Research, Museum and Community

This August, 2022, Terramar Museum presented their new motto: “Research, Museum and Community.” The Terramar Museum, in collaboration with FuHiKuBo (Fundashon Históriko Kultural Boneriano) and the Mondriaan Fonds will bring knowledge, research and history closer to the Bonairean community. Previous collections were primarily aimed at informing tourists, now the new approach will have a more local feel to connect with Bonaireans through research, the collection and associated activities.

In addition, the community programs will be continued. During these programs, the problems on the island are discussed and attention is paid to the nature and culture of Bonaire. Great strides have also been made in the field of education. The museum offers educational programs for schools about Bonairean culture and history. Workshops are also held where historical, Bonairean topics are discussed with drama, art and storytelling.

The new collection will be shared with the public in 2023.

The new Terramar team consists of an historian, curator, program manager, director and about 20 volunteers.

As you can imagine, this didn’t come about just by luck or accident. Starting more or less at zero, the Director, Jude Finies, had to put all her energy into building new relationships with the island government, The European Netherlands and the EU to receive subsidies and funding to ensure a stable future for the museum, art and history on the island. Since the subsidies and fundings are project related it remains a continues effort.

“Political thinking on Bonaire about the importance of art and culture for our community really needs a booster,“ says Jude Finies, pushing hard for more appreciation for the cultural sector with Bonairean and The Hague decision makers.

“We do not have an updated “Cultuurnota” (government funding for cultural preservation) here with clear objectives. There is no art plan, so no public, transparent overview of the criteria and the mechanism by which institutions can come for objective assessment and support from the local government. It is also not clear what resources are available, whether for artists or for art institutions.”

Jude Finies

Jude Finies, a born Rinconera, moved to the Netherlands at age 17. She studied Retail Management at the Mondriaan College of Arts and finalized her Bachelor’s degree in fashion design at the Willem de Kooning Academy while working in marketing, fashion, art and the government, traveling Europe from Denmark, Sweden, and Germany to The Netherlands.

Before she started a new job in Sweden as a product manager, she returned to Bonaire for a vacation. She realized that with all her knowledge and experience, she could be helpful on her island Bonaire.

Taking a deep dive into the culture sector, she started working as the new Director of Terramar Museum in 2018.

Besides making history, and cultural fundings in general, an important part of Bonaire’s healthy development and future, she is fighting for clear policies in funding traditional culture and heritage projects and new art, creators, school education, neighborhood, and community projects.

Archeological and Historical Collection

Of course, the historical and archaeological collection cannot be missed. The collection takes you through 7000 years of history, from the earliest Amerindian settlers to the age of exploration and the colonial era! You will discover the fascinating history of Bonaire and the Caribbean region through expositions, fascinating artifacts, 3D reconstructions and interactive experiences.

Local Artists EXPO’s

One of the great additions is the local artist expositions.

The latest that you may have missed was the “Art for Life” Exhibition by Judmar Emerenciana and Robert Nestor, two young, local artists expressing themselves in their own individual styles. Judmar’s art expresses his growth as an artist. His art style is focused on graffiti together with graphic design under the name of MARZWORLD. Robert describes his art as unorthodox, expressive and personal. His abstract art line (clothing, accessories and paintings) is called OFFTHEGRID.

Be on the look out for what’s to come!

Monthly Events AND UPDATES BY Jude Finies

We are proud to be part of the new approach and will be publishing the monthly events at Terramar Museum (see page 2) in print and on our socials.

Jude Finies, Director of the Terramar Museum, will update you personally in a monthly column about the latest beginning in our October edition!

Wanted – Museum Café

In its efforts to integrate the community, the Terramar Museum is planning to open a Museum Café with food and drinks to create a meeting place for conversation, inspiration and discussion. Hospitality professionals are more than welcome to present their visions and ideas!


Terramar Museum

Kaya Isla Riba 3, Kralendijk

Opening hours: Mo- Fr 9 am – 2 pm

Phone: +599 701 4700

Facebook Terramar Museum Bonaire

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