[Country map of Netherlands Antilles]

Netherlands Antilles

(part of the Dutch realm)


Location: Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - one includes Curacao and Bonaire north of Venezuela and the other is east of the Virgin Islands

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total area: 960 sq km
land area: 960 sq km
comparative area: slightly less than 5.5 times the size of Washington, DC
note: includes Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin)

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 364 km

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

International disputes: none

Climate: tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds

Terrain: generally hilly, volcanic interiors

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

Land use:
arable land: 8%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 92%

Irrigated land: NA sq km

current issues: NA
natural hazards: Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt, so rarely threatened; Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October
international agreements: party to - Whaling (extended from Netherlands)


Population: 203,505 (July 1995 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 26% (female 25,349; male 26,577)
15-64 years: 67% (female 69,273; male 67,485)
65 years and over: 7% (female 8,599; male 6,222) (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.06% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: 16.23 births/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Death rate: 5.26 deaths/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.38 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1995 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 9 deaths/1,000 live births (1995 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 76.94 years
male: 74.67 years
female: 79.33 years (1995 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.9 children born/woman (1995 est.)

noun: Netherlands Antillean(s)
adjective: Netherlands Antillean

Ethnic divisions: mixed African 85%, Carib Indian, European, Latin, Oriental

Religions: Roman Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Seventh-Day Adventist

Languages: Dutch (official), Papiamento a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect predominates, English widely spoken, Spanish

Literacy: age 15 and over can read and write (1981)
total population: 98%
male: 98%
female: 99%

Labor force: 89,000
by occupation: government 65%, industry and commerce 28% (1983)


conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Netherlands Antilles
local long form: none
local short form: Nederlandse Antillen

Digraph: NT

Type: part of the Dutch realm; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 1954

Capital: Willemstad

Administrative divisions: none (part of the Dutch realm)

Independence: none (part of the Dutch realm)

National holiday: Queen's Day, 30 April (1938)

Constitution: 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

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Jaime SALEH (since NA October 1989)
head of government: Prime Minister Miguel POURIER (since 25 February 1994)
cabinet: Council of Ministers; appointed with the advice and approval of the unicameral legislature

Legislative branch: unicameral
Staten: elections last held on 25 February 1994 (next to be held March 1998); results - percent of vote by party NA; seats - (23 total) PAR 8, PNP 3, SPA 2, PDB 2, UPB 1, MAN 2, DP 1, WIPM 1, DP-St.E 1, DP-St.M 1, Nos Patria 1
note: the government of Prime Minister Miguel POURIER is a coalition of several parties

Judicial branch: Joint High Court of Justice

Political parties and leaders: political parties are indigenous to each island
Bonaire: Patriotic Union of Bonaire (UPB), Rudy ELLIS; Democratic Party of Bonaire (PDB), Franklin CRESTIAN
Curacao: Antillean Restructuring Party (PAR), Miguel POURIER; National People's Party (PNP), Maria LIBERIA-PETERS; New Antilles Movement (MAN), Domenico Felip Don MARTINA; Workers' Liberation Front (FOL), Wilson (Papa) GODETT; Socialist Independent (SI), George HUECK and Nelson MONTE; Democratic Party of Curacao (DP), Augustin DIAZ; Nos Patria, Chin BEHILIA
Saba: Windward Islands People's Movement (WIPM Saba), Will JOHNSON; Saba Democratic Labor Movement, Vernon HASSELL; Saba Unity Party, Carmen SIMMONDS
Sint Eustatius: Democratic Party of Sint Eustatius (DP-St.E), K. Van PUTTEN; Windward Islands People's Movement (WIPM); St. Eustatius Alliance (SEA), Ralph BERKEL
Sint Maarten: Democratic Party of Sint Maarten (DP-St.M), Claude WATHEY; Patriotic Movement of Sint Maarten (SPA), Vance JAMES

Member of: CARICOM (observer), ECLAC (associate), ICFTU, INTERPOL, IOC, UNESCO (associate), UPU, WMO, WTO (associate)

Diplomatic representation in US: none (self-governing part of the Netherlands)

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Consul General Bernard J. WOERZ
consulate(s) general: Saint Anna Boulevard 19, Willemstad, Curacao
mailing address: P. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao
telephone: [599] (9) 61-3066
FAX: [599] (9) 61-6489

Flag: 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


Overview: Tourism and offshore finance are the mainstays of the economy. The islands enjoy a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure as compared with other countries in the region. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with Venezuela and the US being the major suppliers. Poor soils and inadequate water supplies hamper the development of agriculture.

National product: GDP - purchasing power parity - $1.85 billion (1993 est.)

National product real growth rate: 1.8% (1994 est.)

National product per capita: $10,000 (1993 est.)

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.5% (1994 est.)

Unemployment rate: 13.4% (1993 est.)

revenues: $209 million
expenditures: $232 million, including capital expenditures of $8 million (1992 est.)

Exports: $240 million (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: petroleum products 98%
partners: US 39%, Brazil 9%, Colombia 6%

Imports: $1.2 billion (f.o.b., 1993)
commodities: crude petroleum 64%, food, manufactures
partners: Venezuela 26%, US 18%, Colombia 6%, Netherlands 6%, Japan 5%

External debt: $672 million (December 1991)

Industrial production: growth rate NA%

capacity: 200,000 kW
production: 810 million kWh
consumption per capita: 4,054 kWh (1993)

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

Agriculture: chief products - aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit

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

Economic aid:
recipient: Western (non-US) countries, ODA and OOF bilateral commitments (1970-89), $513 million

Currency: 1 Netherlands Antillean guilder, gulden, or florin (NAf.) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Netherlands Antillean guilders, gulden, or florins (NAf.) per US$1 - 1.79 (fixed rate since 1989; 1.80 fixed rate 1971-88)

Fiscal year: calendar year


Railroads: 0 km

total: 950 km
paved: 300 km
unpaved: gravel, earth 650 km

Ports: Kralendijk, Philipsburg, Willemstad

Merchant marine:
total: 110 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 1,044,553 GRT/1,343,842 DWT
ships by type: barge carrier 1, bulk 2, cargo 36, chemical tanker 6, combination ore/oil 1, liquefied gas tanker 4, multifunction large-load carrier 20, oil tanker 2, passenger 4, refrigerated cargo 27, roll-on/roll-off cargo 7

total: 5
with paved runways over 3,047 m: 1
with paved runways 1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
with paved runways 914 to 1,523 m: 1
with paved runways under 914 m: 1


Telephone system: NA telephones; generally adequate facilities
local: NA
intercity: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
international: 2 submarine cables; 2 INTELSAT (Atlantic Ocean) earth stations

broadcast stations: AM 9, FM 4, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 1
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Branches: Royal Netherlands Navy, Marine Corps, Royal Netherlands Air Force, National Guard, Police Force

Manpower availability: males age 15-49 56,058; males fit for military service 31,558; males reach military age (20) annually 1,734 (1995 est.)

Note: defense is responsibility of the Netherlands

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