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Flag of Netherlands Antilles
Map of Netherlands Antilles
Introduction Netherlands Antilles
Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of oil refineries to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. The island of Saint Martin is shared with France; its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles; its northern portion is called Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe (France).
Geography Netherlands Antilles
Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - composed of five islands, Curacao and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela, and St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates:
12 15 N, 68 45 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 960 sq km
land: 960 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin)
Area - comparative:
more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 15 km
border countries: Guadeloupe (Saint-Martin) 15 km
364 km
Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds
generally hilly, volcanic interiors
Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Scenery 862 m
Natural resources:
phosphates (Curacao only), salt (Bonaire only)
Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 90% (2005)
Irrigated land:
Natural hazards:
Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt and are rarely threatened; Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October
Environment - current issues:
Geography - note:
the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles are divided geographically into the Leeward Islands (northern) group (Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten) and the Windward Islands (southern) group (Bonaire and Curacao)
People Netherlands Antilles
221,736 (July 2006 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.9% (male 27,197/female 25,886)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 71,622/female 77,710)
65 years and over: 8.7% (male 7,925/female 11,396) (2006 est.)
Median age:
total: 32.8 years
male: 31.1 years
female: 34.4 years (2006 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.79% (2006 est.)
Birth rate:
14.78 births/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Death rate:
6.45 deaths/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2006 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2006 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 9.76 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.54 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.93 deaths/1,000 live births (2006 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.03 years
male: 73.76 years
female: 78.41 years (2006 est.)
Total fertility rate:
1.99 children born/woman (2006 est.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
HIV/AIDS - deaths:
noun: Dutch Antillean(s)
adjective: Dutch Antillean
Ethnic groups:
mixed black 85%, Carib Amerindian, white, East Asian
Roman Catholic 72%, Pentecostal 4.9%, Protestant 3.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.1%, Methodist 2.9%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.7%, other Christian 4.2%, Jewish 1.3%, other or unspecified 1.2%, none 5.2% (2001 census)
Papiamento 65.4% (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect), English 15.9% (widely spoken), Dutch 7.3% (official), Spanish 6.1%, Creole 1.6%, other 1.9%, unspecified 1.8% (2001 census)
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.7%
male: 96.7%
female: 96.8% (2003 est.)
Government Netherlands Antilles
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Netherlands Antilles
local long form: none
local short form: Nederlandse Antillen
former: Curacao and Dependencies
Dependency status:
an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 1954; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Government type:
name: Willemstad (on Curacao)
geographic coordinates: 12 06 N, 68 56 W
time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
Administrative divisions:
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
note: each island has its own government
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
National holiday:
Queen's Day (Birthday of Queen-Mother JULIANA in 1909 and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX in 1980), 30 April
29 December 1954, Statute of the Realm of the Netherlands, as amended
Legal system:
based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
18 years of age; universal
Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Frits GOEDGEDRAG (since 1 July 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Emily de JONGH-ELHAGE (since 26 March 2006)
cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Staten (legislature)
elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch for a six-year term; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the Staten; election last held 27 January 2006 (next to be held by 2007)
note: government coalition - PAR, PNP, DP St. Maarten, UP Bonaire, WIPM Saba, DP Statia
Legislative branch:
unicameral States or Staten (22 seats - Curacao 14, Bonaire 3, St. Maarten 3, St. Eustatius 1, Saba 1; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 27 January 2006 (next to be held in 2010)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - PAR 5, MAN 3, FOL 2, Forsa Korsou 2, National Alliance 2, PNP 2, UPB 2, DP St. E 1, DP St. M 1, BDP 1, WIPM 1
note: the government of Prime Minister Emily de JONGH-ELHAGE is a coalition of several parties
Judicial branch:
Joint High Court of Justice (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Bonaire: Democratic Party of Bonaire or PDB [Jopi ABRAHAM]; Patriotic Union of Bonaire or UPB [Ramonsito BOOI]
Curacao: Ban Vota [Norbert GEORGE]; C-93 [Stanley BROWN]; Democratic Party of Curacao or DP [Errol HERNANDEZ]; E Mayoria [Aurelio PEDRO]; Forsa Korsou [Nelson NAVARRO]; Liste Ni'un Paso Atras [Nelson PIERRE]; Movemiento Patriotiko Korsou [Reginald LAK]; New Antilles Movement or MAN [Charles COOPER]; Partido Akshon Pa Prosperidat I Seguridat [Sonja BERKEMEYER]; Partido Laboral Krusada Popular or PLKP [Errol COVA]; Party for the Restructured Antilles or PAR [Emily de JONGH-ELHAGE]; People's National Party or PNP [Ersilia DE LANNOOY]; Pidjin [Jasmin PINEDO]; Pueblo Soberano [Herman WIELS]; Workers' Liberation Front or FOL [Anthony GODETT]
Saba: Saba Labor Party [Akilah LEVENSTONE]; Windward Islands People's Movement or WIPM [Ray HASSELL]
Sint Eustatius: Democratic Party of Sint Eustatius or DP-St. E [Julian WOODLEY]; Progressive Labor Party [Clyde VAN PUTTEN]; St. Eustatius Alliance [Ingrid HOUTMAN-WHITFIELD]
Sint Maarten: Democratic Party of Sint Maarten or DP-St. M [Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS]; Freedom Slate of National Democratic Party [Theophilus PRIEST]; National Alliance or NA [William MARLIN]; People's Progressive Alliance or PPA [Gracita ARRINDELL]; St. Maarten People's Party [Johan LEONARD]; United People's Labor Party [Bienvenido RICHARDSON]
note: political parties are indigenous to each island
Political pressure groups and leaders:
Unions (AVBO) and Employers Association (VBC)
International organization participation:
ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WCO, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - Mr. Jeffrey CORRION, Minister Plenipotentiary for Aruba at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Consul General Robert E. SORENSON
consulate(s) general: J. B. Gorsiraweg #1, Willemstad, Curacao
mailing address: P. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao
telephone: [599] (9) 4613066
FAX: [599] (9) 4616489
Flag description:
white, with a horizontal blue stripe in the center superimposed on a vertical red band, also centered; five white, five-pointed stars are arranged in an oval pattern in the center of the blue band; the five stars represent the five main islands of Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten
Economy Netherlands Antilles
Economy - overview:
Tourism, petroleum refining, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Although GDP has declined or grown slightly in each of the past eight years, the islands enjoy a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, the US and Mexico being the major suppliers. Poor soils and inadequate water supplies hamper the development of agriculture. Budgetary problems hamper reform of the health and pension systems of an aging population.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.8 billion (2004 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate):
GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2004 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP):
$16,000 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 15%
services: 84% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
83,600 (2005)
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 20%
services: 79% (2005 est.)
Unemployment rate:
17% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.1% (2003 est.)
revenues: $757.9 million
expenditures: $949.5 million; including capital expenditures of $NA (2004)
Agriculture - products:
aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
tourism (Curacao, Sint Maarten, and Bonaire), petroleum refining (Curacao), petroleum transshipment facilities (Curacao and Bonaire), light manufacturing (Curacao)
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
1.005 billion kWh (2004)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)
Electricity - consumption:
934.7 million kWh (2004)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2004)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2004)
Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - consumption:
70,000 bbl/day (2004 est.)
Oil - exports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Oil - imports:
NA bbl/day (2001)
Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2004 est.)
$2.076 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum products
Exports - partners:
US 29.4%, Panama 14.4%, Mexico 8.8%, Haiti 5.6%, Venezuela 4.9%, Bahamas, The 4.4% (2005)
$4.383 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - commodities:
crude petroleum, food, manufactures
Imports - partners:
Venezuela 50.7%, US 20.8%, Italy 4.8%, Netherlands 4.5% (2005)
Debt - external:
$2.68 billion (2004)
Economic aid - recipient:
$21.5 million IMF provided $61 million in 2000, and the Netherlands continued its support with $40 million (2004)
Currency (code):
Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Netherlands Antillean guilders per US dollar - 1.79 (2005), 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003), 1.79 (2002)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Netherlands Antilles
Telephones - main lines in use:
81,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
200,000 (2004)
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally adequate facilities
domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
international: country code - 599; submarine cables - 2; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 8, FM 19, shortwave 0 (2004)
217,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (there is also a cable service, which supplies programs received from various US satellite networks and four Venezuelan channels) (2004)
69,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
19,204 (2006)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
2,000 (2000)
Transportation Netherlands Antilles
5 (2006)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2006)
Merchant marine:
total: 152 ships (1000 GRT or over) 1,289,462 GRT/1,671,649 DWT
by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 13, cargo 68, chemical tanker 3, container 19, liquefied gas 4, passenger 2, passenger/cargo 3, petroleum tanker 2, refrigerated cargo 28, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 3
foreign-owned: 143 (Belgium 4, Cuba 1, Denmark 1, Germany 60, Netherlands 54, Norway 5, Sweden 5, Turkey 9, UK 3, US 1)
registered in other countries: 1 (Netherlands 1) (2006)
Ports and terminals:
Bopec Terminal, Fuik Bay, Kralendijk, Willemstad
Military Netherlands Antilles
Military branches:
no regular military forces; National Guard, Police Force (2005)
Military service age and obligation:
16 years of age for National Guard recruitment; no conscription (2004)
Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 54,200
females age 16-49: 56,868 (2005 est.)
Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 45,273
females age 16-49: 47,166 (2005 est.)
Manpower reaching military service age annually:
males age 18-49: 1,720
females age 16-49: 1,657 (2005 est.)
Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Transnational Issues Netherlands Antilles
Disputes - international:
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering center

This page was last updated on 18 January, 2007