What the Heck is a Toko in Curacao?


Have you been to Curacao and heard of the word "Toko", but you don't know what it is or means? Keep reading, we will tell you all we know about it!


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....But what does the word "Toko" mean. It is not a word from Curacao's local language Papiamento. It is Indonesian and came from there via the Netherlands and Suriname (a former Dutch colony in Latin America) to Curacao. Toko is the Indonesian word for "shop where you can find everything". It is basically a mini-mini-market. The Toko in St. Willibrordus serves many purposes; it is the shop where both locals and tourists buy their basic groceries. Mind you, many people in Curacao don't have a car and have to either take the bus or walk. Since the bus does not run very frequently, having a place to buy basic groceries is extremely important. ​​


The Toko is also a meeting point. It is the place in the village where people gather for having a beer together or to sing karaoke.

The Toko was first opened in 1964 and has been run by 4 different families. The last owner, Marfa, decided the toko should not only be there for shopping, but also for fun. Besides Karaoke, they organize jam sessions, local dinners, dance parties, and BBQs. When sipping your morning cappuccino on the Toko's terrace you have an excellent view of the Williwood sign. Marfa lead the communities initiative to rename the village of St. Willibordus to Williwood.

The village has officially been named Williwood on Dia di San Willibrordus on November 5, 2011 with the unveiling of a community-effort: the (now) famous Williwood sign.


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