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Philipsburg Courthouse Tours

Philipsburg Courthouse
Standing sentinel in the palm-lined Watney Square on Front Street, Philipsburg Courthouse is the centerpiece of the island’s Dutch capital. Built in 1793, the white wooden structure with crisp green trim has a bell tower topped by a pineapple—a classic Caribbean symbol for “welcome.” Once used as a jail, a post office, and a fire station, the building is currently a working courthouse.

The Basics
As the Philipsburg Courthouse is a working courthouse, it may not always be open to visitors. To learn more about the courthouse, book a guided sightseeing tour of the area. Such tours might start in Philipsburg and stop at a former plantation and perhaps Fort Amsterdam in Philipsburg and Fort Louis in the French-sde capital of Marigot. Guides often speak of the island’s history both before and after France and Holland divided the land in half.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Philipsburg Courthouse appeals to travelers interested in the history of the island.  
  • Tours may include pickup and drop-off for cruise ship passengers, and some food and drink. Check tours for specific details.
  • Listen for the sound of the tower’s 25 bells.
  • Remember sun protection and water for hydration.

How to Get There
The courthouse sits right at the center of downtown Philipsburg on Front Street. From the cruise ship dock, it’s a 10-minute walk. If you drive, there's a parking lot about a block from the courthouse.

When to Get There
The best time to visit St. Martin/St. Maarten is in the shoulder seasons of spring or fall when cheaper rates are offered and rain is less likely. With pleasant year-round weather, there’s no bad time to visit, but summer is the warmest. 

For History Buffs
Travelers curious about the history of both the town and the island should make a visit to the St. Maarten Museum, about a 5-minute walk east down Front Street from the Courthouse. On display are Arawak pottery shards, artifacts and photos from the plantation era, and items from the excavated HMS Proselyte, a frigate that sank off Fort Amsterdam in 1801.
Address: Front Street, Philipsburg, St Maarten
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7 Tours and Activities to Experience Philipsburg Courthouse

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