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Introduction
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational
Issues
  Introduction Back To Top

Background:
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.

  Geography Back To Top

Land boundaries:
total: 15 km
border countries: Saint Martin 15 km

Climate:
tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds

Map references:
Central America and the Caribbean

Geographic coordinates:
Bonaire: 12 12 N, 68 15 W
Curacao: 12 10 N, 69 00 W
Saba: 17 38 N, 63 14 W
Sint Eustatius: 17 30 N, 62 58 W
Sint Maarten: 18 04 N, 63 04 W

Natural resources:
phosphates (Curacao only), salt (Bonaire only)

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Scenery 862 m

Terrain:
generally hilly, volcanic interiors

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

Area:
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)

Location:
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 Sint Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands

Coastline:
364 km

Area - comparative:
more than five times the size of Washington, DC

Irrigated land:
NA

Environment - current issues:
NA

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm

Natural hazards:
Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October; Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt and are rarely threatened

Land use:
arable land: 10%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 90% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.98 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.93 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.69 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
NA

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
NA

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.45 years
male: 74.15 years
female: 78.87 years (2008 est.)

Literacy:
definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 96.7%
male: 96.7%
female: 96.8% (2003 est.)

Net migration rate:
-0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
mixed black 85%, other 15% (includes Carib Amerindian, white, East Asian)

Median age:
total: 33.4 years
male: 31.6 years
female: 35.2 years (2008 est.)

Population:
225,369 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
NA

Population growth rate:
0.754% (2008 est.)

Languages:
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)

Death rate:
6.43 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 9.36 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.04 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 8.64 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
NA

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 14 years
male: 14 years
female: 15 years (2002)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23.2% (male 26,749/female 25,467)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 73,319/female 78,842)
65 years and over: 9.3% (male 8,541/female 12,451) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
14.37 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Religions:
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)

Nationality:
noun: Dutch Antillean(s)
adjective: Dutch Antillean

  Government Back To Top

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) 461-3066
FAX: [599] (9) 461-6489

National holiday:
Queen's Day (Birthday of Queen-Mother JULIANA and accession to the throne of her oldest daughter BEATRIX), 30 April (1909 and 1980)

Suffrage:
18 years of age; universal

Government type:
parliamentary

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Employers Association (VBC); Unions (AVBO)

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

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

International organization participation:
Caricom (observer), ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WCO, WMO

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

Legal system:
based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence

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

Independence:
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Netherlands Antilles
local long form: none
local short form: Nederlandse Antillen
former: Curacao and Dependencies

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

Capital:
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)

Constitution:
29 December 1954, Statute of the Realm of the Netherlands, as amended

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

Administrative divisions:
none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
note: each island has its own government

Judicial branch:
Joint High Court of Justice (judges appointed by the monarch)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
US 18.9%, Mexico 13.3%, Panama 11.4%, Singapore 6.9%, Haiti 6.6%, Bahamas, The 5.3% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
992 million kWh (2006 est.)

Central bank discount rate:
NA

Electricity - imports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Debt - external:
$2.68 billion (2004)

Unemployment rate:
17% (2002 est.)

Oil - exports:
206,900 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$16,000 (2004 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$2.927 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.8 billion (2004 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$NA

Exchange rates:
Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar - NA (2007), 1.79 (2006), 1.79 (2005), 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003)

GDP - real growth rate:
1% (2004 est.)

Stock of money:
$1.133 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
83,600 (2005)

Imports - partners:
Venezuela 59.1%, US 17.7%, Brazil 7.1% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.1% (2003 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 15%
services: 84% (2000 est.)

Oil - imports:
277,600 bbl/day (2005)

Exports:
$3.71 billion f.o.b. (2006)

Natural gas - consumption:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)

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, Italy, 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. The Netherlands provides financial aid to support the economy.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
crude petroleum, food, manufactures

Industries:
tourism (Curacao, Sint Maarten, and Bonaire), petroleum refining (Curacao), petroleum transshipment facilities (Curacao and Bonaire), light manufacturing (Curacao)

Electricity - exports:
0 kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
NA%

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
9.21% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$2.309 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
1.195 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Imports:
$15.74 billion f.o.b. (2006)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 20%
services: 79% (2005 est.)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Oil - consumption:
67,450 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$NA

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$NA

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$488.6 billion (2003)

Currency code:
ANG

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: NA%
highest 10%: NA%

Exports - commodities:
petroleum products

Economic aid - recipient:
$21.32 million (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Budget:
revenues: $757.9 million
expenditures: $949.5 million (2004)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
0 bbl/day (2005 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
2,000 (2000)

Telephones - main lines in use:
81,000 (2001)

Televisions:
69,000 (1997)

Internet country code:
.an

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 8, FM 19, shortwave 0 (2003)

Radios:
217,000 (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
200,000 (2004)

Television broadcast stations:
3 (there is also a cable service that supplies programs received from various US satellite networks and 4 Venezuelan channels) (2003)

Telephone system:
general assessment: generally adequate facilities
domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
international: country code - 599; the Americas Region Caribbean Ring System (ARCOS-1) and the Americas-2 submarine cable systems provide connectivity to Central America, parts of South America and the Caribbean, and the US; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
6

Internet hosts:
47,597 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

Ports and terminals:
Bopec Terminal, Willemstad

Merchant marine:
total: 147
by type: barge carrier 2, bulk carrier 2, cargo 72, carrier 19, chemical tanker 2, container 8, liquefied gas 1, passenger 2, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 27, roll on/roll off 6, specialized tanker 3
foreign-owned: 123 (Belgium 1, Cuba 1, Cyprus 21, Denmark 2, Germany 43, Hong Kong 2, Netherlands 38, Norway 3, Sweden 1, Turkey 10, US 1) (2008)

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 (2007)

Roadways:
total: 845

Airports:
5 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

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: 55,365
females age 16-49: 57,060 (2008 est.)

Military - note:
defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 46,102
females age 16-49: 47,219 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
no regular military forces; National Guard (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 1,855
female: 1,760 (2008 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
none

Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering center

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