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Philipsburg is the main town on the Dutchmarker side of the Netherlands Antillesmarker island of Sint Maartenmarker, on a narrow stretch of land between Great Bay and the Great Salt Pond. It is also the capital of all of Sint Maarten and functions as the island's commercial center. , it has 1,338 inhabitants.

It was discovered by Christopher Columbus on 11 November 1493 but there was already an Arawak settlement there before he made the discovery. Philipsburg was founded in 1763 by John Philips, a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy, and soon became a bustling centre of international trade. Two historic forts bear witness to Philipsburg's strategic importance in St. Maarten's history: Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.

The main shopping district, Front Street, is in the heart of the city. Philipsburg has a port that is home to many cruise liners, ships like Celebrity Solstice, Crown Princess, Disney Magic, and in 2010 Oasis of the seas will call there.

Princess Juliana International Airport

Aircraft on short final
World famous for its close-proximity photographs of landing aircraft, Princess Juliana International Airportmarker (IATA: SXM, ICAOmarker: TNCM), west of Philipsburg, has become for many a reason in itself to visit Sint Maarten.

Due to its short runway (2,180 metres, 7,200 ft), airplanes on approach for Runway 10 have to fly at unusual low altitudes, overflying mere 10-20 metres (30-60 ft.) over nearby Maho Beachmarker.

Jet blast from departing aircraft is also another 'attraction' as it creates artificial waves, popular with windsurfers.

However, jet blast is an actual hazard and people need to exercise caution; local authorities placed a warning on the airport's fence to warn people of the dangers of jet blast.


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