Welcome To St. Maarten

The Alleys of Philipsburg, St. Maarten

SXM Island

In 2009, Philipsburg celebrated the centenary of the christenings of its alleys. One hundred years ago they received the names they still carry today. Philipsburg has moved on but time has stood still in the form of some of its architecture and in the names of its alleys.

The alleys are still called “Steeg” which is Dutch for alley. Both Front Street and Back Street traded their names in for English ones to conform. To modern times but the alleys have retained their colonial sounding names, adding a ring of authenticity and quaint echoes of olden days. It Also means that some of these names have now become complicated tongue twisters like Schreinwerker Steeg, that is if you’re not Dutch.

Schreinwerker Steeg is a good example of the name providing a feel of what old Philipsburg was like. It means “Cabinet Maker’s Alley” and one can imagine the scent of freshly cut wood and varnish and the sounds of hammering and sawing that advertised the craftsman’s trade.

Several alleys leading to the beach in the West part of Philipsburg are reminders of maritime trades such as Vissers Steeg (Fisherman’s Alley) and Scheepmaker’s Steeg (Shipbuilder’s Alley). Hey. Those names sound kind of English.

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