Built somewhere in the beginning of the 18th Century Pietermaai was originally a residential neighborhood. Owing its existence to lack of space within the city walls and because of the interest of wealthy merchants preferring to settle in the suburb, District Pietermaai became a highly favored neighborhood with many impressive mansions. Pietermaai District is well known for its stunning Dutch colonial architecture, built in the 18th and 19th century style. It is said that the area was named after the Dutch captain Pieter de Meij. In the mid-19th century, after the city walls were torn down, Pietermaai became a hub for ideas, business and culture. In the late 20th century after having been a top notch business district for many years, slowly and regretfully Pietermaai was being taken over by drug peddlers. The residents in the area retreated indoors and wealthier families moved to safer parts of the island leaving the streets and iconic buildings for criminals to wreak havoc on. Remnants of that period are still visible in a few buildings, however most of the derelict buildings have been restored and modern buildings occupy previously vacant plots.