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Culture
 
 
 

The cultural diversity of St Maarten springs from its historical role as a crossroads for visitors to the New World. Dutch, French and British traders brought European traditions, while Afro-Caribbean people brought the language and culture of West Africa. Today the range of influences is reflected in the number of languages spoken. Dutch is the official language, but English is taught in schools and spoken everywhere, while other common languages are Spanish and Papiamento, the dialect of the Netherlands Antilles. St Maarten's premier cultural event is its annual Carnival (held after Easter), which includes parades, calypso competitions, reggae shows, and an endless array of stands serving traditional island food.

Numerous poets, playwrights and writers reside in St Maarten/St Martin, drawing upon the history and culture of this and other nearby islands for their inspiration. Art galleries offer painting, sculpture and lithography by talented local artists and immigrés. Much of their work reflects the natural beauty of the island and its people.

 

 
 

 



 


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