Malchi pa flèktu sombré

This hat mold is a rare remnant of what was once a flourishing craft in Curaçao. Hat weaving. In many families, weaving was an important source of income. From the age of six, children helped with the wickerwork. It was also taught at school. Especially with the weaving of Panama hats, Curaçao proved successful. Those hats were woven from the leaves of the Jipijapa palm.

A colonial report from 1913 states that in that year as many as 5,700 people worked as hatters, out of a total population of 32,926 people. At its peak, in the second half of the 19th century, a dozen hats in New York brought in $16. At the time, a large sum. Curaçao exported about 40,000 dozen hats annually.

The turnaround came at the end of the 19th century. Competition from China and Japan did Curaçao hat weaving no favors. It was hard to compete against the much cheaper hats made of rice straw.

"From the age of six, children helped with the wickerwork."