Netherlands Antilles

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Introduction - Netherlands Antilles:


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, called Saint Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France.

Location - Netherlands Antilles:


Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - composed of five islands, Curacao and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela, and Sint 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: 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); the island of Saint Martin is the smallest landmass in the World shared by two independent states, the French territory of Saint Martin and the Dutch territory of Sint Maarten

People - Netherlands Antilles:


223,652 (July 2007 est.)

Age structure

0-14 years: 23.6% (male 27,020/female 25,726)
15-64 years: 67.4% (male 72,449/female 78,259)
65 years and over: 9% (male 8,243/female 11,955) (2007 est.)

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

Median age

total: 33.1 years
male: 31.4 years
female: 34.8 years (2007 est.)

Population growth rate

0.777% (2007 est.)

Birth rate

14.56 births/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Death rate

6.39 deaths/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Net migration rate

-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2007 est.)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.926 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.929 male(s)/female (2007 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 9.63 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.33 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2007 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 76.24 years
male: 73.96 years
female: 78.65 years (2007 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.99 children born/woman (2007 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%, other 15% (includes Carib Amerindian, white, East Asian)


Roman Catholic 72%, Pentecostal 4.9%, Protestant 3.5%, Seventh-Day Adventist 3.1%, Methodist 2.9%, Jehovahs 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

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

Queens Day (Birthday of Queen-Mother JULIANA and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX), 30 April (1909 and 1980)


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 2010)
note: government coalition - PAR, PNP, DP-St. M, UPB, WIPM Saba, DP-St. E

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, PDB 1, WIPM 1
note: the government 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 Niun 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]; Peoples 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 Peoples 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]; Peoples Progressive Alliance or PPA [Gracita ARRINDELL]; St. Maarten Peoples Party [Johan LEONARD]; United Peoples 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

Caricom (observer), 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. Most of the oil Netherlands Antilles imports for its refineries come from Venezuela. 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 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

Oil imports

NA bbl/day

Oil proved reserves

0 bbl

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 27.4%, Panama 13.8%, Mexico 8.5%, Haiti 5.4%, Singapore 4.9%, Venezuela 4.7%, Bahamas, The 4.3% (2006)


$4.383 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)

Imports commodities

crude petroleum, food, manufactures

Imports partners

Venezuela 47.2%, US 20.1%, Italy 7.2%, Netherlands 4.6% (2006)

Debt external

$2.68 billion (2004)

Economic aid recipient

$21.5 million
note: IMF provided $61 million in 2000, and the Netherlands continued its support with $40 million (2004)

Currency code

Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)

Exchange rates

Netherlands Antillean guilders per US dollar - 1.79 (2006), 1.79 (2005), 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003), 1.79 (2002)

Communications - Netherlands Antilles:

Fiscal year

calendar year

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 (2003)

Television broadcast stations

3 (there is also a cable service, which supplies programs received from various US satellite networks and 4 Venezuelan channels) (2003)

Internet country code


Internet hosts

19,204 (2006)

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.)

Military note

defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Manpower reaching military service age annually

males age 18-49: 1,720
females age 16-49: 1,657 (2005 est.)

Disputes international


This page was last updated on 16 September, 2007
Source: CIA >>>

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