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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 northern portion is named Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe, and its southern portion is named Sint Maarten and is part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Geography Netherlands Antilles
Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - one includes Curacao and Bonaire north of Venezuela; the other is east of the Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates:
12 15 N, 68 45 W
Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean
total: 960 sq km
note: includes Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin)
water: 0 sq km
land: 960 sq km
Area - comparative:
more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:
total: 10.2 km
border countries: Guadeloupe (Saint Martin) 10.2 km
364 km
Maritime claims:
exclusive fishing zone: 12 NM
territorial sea: 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% (1998 est.)
Irrigated land:
NA sq km
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
214,258 (July 2002 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 25% (male 27,351; female 26,135)
15-64 years: 67.1% (male 68,431; female 75,312)
65 years and over: 7.9% (male 7,049; female 9,980) (2002 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.93% (2002 est.)
Birth rate:
16.16 births/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Death rate:
6.4 deaths/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.42 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2002 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.71 male(s)/female
total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2002 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
11.06 deaths/1,000 live births (2002 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.15 years
female: 77.46 years (2002 est.)
male: 72.96 years
Total fertility rate:
2.06 children born/woman (2002 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, Protestant, Jewish, Seventh-Day Adventist
Dutch (official), Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) predominates, English widely spoken, Spanish
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 99% (1981 est.)
Government Netherlands Antilles
Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Netherlands Antilles
local long form: none
former: Curacao and Dependencies
local short form: Nederlandse Antillen
Dependency status:
part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 1954; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Government type:
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 Etienne YS (since 3 June 2002)
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 18 January 2002 (next to be held by NA 2006)
note: government coalition - PDB, DP-St. M, FOL, PLKP, PNP
cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Staten
Legislative branch:
unicameral States or Staten (22 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - FOL 5, PAR 4, PNP 3, PLKP 2, DP-St.M 2, UPB 2, DP 1, MAN 1, PDB 1, WIPM 1
note: the government of Prime Minister Miguel POURIER is a coalition of several parties; current seats by party - PAR 4, PNP 3, FOL 2, MAN 2, UPB 2, DP-St. M 2, PDB 1, SEA 1, WIPM 1, other 4
elections: last held 18 January 2002 (next to be held NA 2006)
Judicial branch:
Joint High Court of Justice (judges appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders:
Antillean Restructuring Party or PAR [Miguel POURIER]; C 93 [Stanley BROWN]; Democratic Party of Bonaire or PDB [Jopi ABRAHAM]; Democratic Party of Curacao or DP [Errol HERNANDEZ]; Democratic Party of Sint Eustatius or DP-St. E [Julian WOODLEY]; Democratic Party of Sint Maarten or DP-St. M [Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS]; Foundation Energetic Management Anti-Narcotics or FAME [Eric LODEWIJKS]; Labor Party People's Crusade or PLKP [Errol COVA]; National People's Party or PNP [Susanne F. C. CAMELIA-ROMER]; New Antilles Movement or MAN [Kenneth GIJSBERTHA]; Patriotic Union of Bonaire or UPB [Ramon BOOI]; Patriotic Movement of Sint Maarten or SPA [Vance JAMES, Jr.]; People's Party or PAPU [Richard Hodi]; Pro Curacao Party or PPK [Winston LOURENS]; Saba Democratic Labor Movement [Steve HASSELL]; Saba Unity Party [Carmen SIMMONDS]; St. Eustatius Alliance or SEA [Kenneth VAN PUTTEN]; Serious Alternative People's Party or Sapp [Julian ROLLOCKS]; Social Action Cause or KAS [Benny DEMEI]; Windward Islands People's Movement or WIPM [Will JOHNSTON]; Workers' Liberation Front or FOL [Anthony GODETT, Rignald LAK, Editha WRIGHT]
note: political parties are indigenous to each island
Political pressure groups and leaders:
International organization participation:
Caricom (observer), CCC, ECLAC (associate), Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), UPU, WCL, WMO, WToO (associate)
Diplomatic representation in the US:
none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Consul General Deborah A. BOLTON
consulate(s) general: J. B. Gorsiraweg #1, Willemstad AN, 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 in each of the past five 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.
purchasing power parity - $2.4 billion (2000 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
-3.5% (2000 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $11,400 (2000 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 15%
services: 84% (1996 est.)
Population below poverty line:
Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
5.8% (2000 est.)
Labor force:
Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture 1%, industry 13%, services 86% (1994 est.)
Unemployment rate:
15% (1998 est.)
revenues: $710.8 million
expenditures: $741.6 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1997 est.)
tourism (Curacao, Sint Maarten, and Bonaire), petroleum refining (Curacao), petroleum transshipment facilities (Curacao and Bonaire), light manufacturing (Curacao)
Industrial production growth rate:
Electricity - production:
1.175 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
other: 0% (2000)
nuclear: 0%
Electricity - consumption:
1.093 billion kWh (2000)
Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2000)
Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2000)
Agriculture - products:
aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
$276 million f.o.b. (2000)
Exports - commodities:
petroleum products
Exports - partners:
US 35.9%, Guatemala 9.4%, Venezuela 8.7%, France 5.4%, Singapore 2.8% (2000)
$1.5 billion f.o.b. (2000)
Imports - commodities:
crude petroleum, food, manufactures
Imports - partners:
US 25.8%, Mexico 20.7%, Gabon 6.6%, Italy 5.8%, Netherlands 5.5% (2000)
Debt - external:
$1.35 billion (1996) (1996)
Economic aid - recipient:
IMF provided $61 million in 2000, and the Netherlands continued its support with $40 million
Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)
Currency code:
Exchange rates:
Netherlands Antillean guilders per US dollar - 1.790 (fixed rate since 1989)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Communications Netherlands Antilles
Telephones - main lines in use:
76,000 (1995)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
13,977 (1996)
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally adequate facilities
domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
international: submarine cables - 2; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 9, FM 4, shortwave 0 (1998)
217,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (there is also a cable service which supplies programs received from various US satellite networks and two Venezuelan channels) (1997)
69,000 (1997)
Internet country code:
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
Internet users:
2,000 (2000)
Transportation Netherlands Antilles
0 km (2002)
total: 600 km
paved: 300 km
unpaved: 300 km (1992)
Ports and harbors:
Kralendijk, Philipsburg, Willemstad
Merchant marine:
total: 123 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,056,362 GRT/1,341,735 DWT
ships by type: bulk 2, cargo 39, chemical tanker 2, combination ore/oil 4, container 24, liquefied gas 5, multi-functional large-load carrier 15, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 24, roll on/roll off 7
note: includes foreign-owned ships registered here as a flag of convenience: Belgium 3, Denmark 2, Germany 43, Monaco 8, Netherlands 52, New Zealand 1, Norway 3, Peru 1, Spain 1, Sweden 3, United Kingdom 5 (2002 est.)
5 (2001)
Airports - with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2002)
Military Netherlands Antilles
Military branches:
no regular indigenous military forces; Royal Netherlands Navy, Marine Corps, Royal Netherlands Air Force, National Guard, Police Force
Military manpower - military age:
20 years of age (2002 est.)
Military manpower - availability:
males age 15-49: 54,752 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:
males age 15-49: 30,642 (2002 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:
males: 1,610 (2002 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 19 March 2003