One happy island



Discovered and claimed for Spain in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Dutch in 1636. The island's economy has been dominated by three main industries. A 19th century gold rush was followed by prosperity brought on by the opening in 1924 of an oil refinery. The last decades of the 20th century saw a boom in the tourism industry. Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 and became a separate, autonomous member of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Movement toward full independence was halted at Aruba's request in 1990.




Caribbean, islands between the Caribbean Sea and North Atlantic Ocean, east of Puerto Rico. The most northerly of the Leeward Islands in the Lesser Antilles
Geographic coordinates: 12 30 N, 68 58 W
Area: Total: 91 sq km
Land: 91 sq km total: 180 sq km
country comparison to the world: 224
land: 180 sq km
water: 0 sq km
Coastline: 68.5 km
Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm
Climate: tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation 
Terrain: flat with a few hills; scant vegetation
Elevation Extremes lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
highest point: Mount Jamanota 188 m 
Natural Resources: NEGL; white sandy beaches
Land use: arable land: 10.53%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 89.47% (2005)
Natural hazards: arable land: 10.53%
permanent crops: 0%
other: 89.47% (2005)
Environment - current issues: NA
Environment: a flat, river less island renowned for its white sand beaches; its tropical climate is moderated by constant trade winds from the Atlantic Ocean; the temperature is almost constant at about 27 degrees Celsius (81 degrees Fahrenheit)



note: estimate based on a revision of the base population, fertility, and mortality numbers, as well as a revision of 1985-99 migration estimates from out migration to in migration, which is assumed to continue into the future; the new results are consistent with the 2000 census (July 2009 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 19.1% (male 9,921/female 9,758)
15-64 years: 70.3% (male 34,676/female 37,752)
65 years and over: 10.6% (male 4,351/female 6,607) (2009 est.)
Population growth rate: 1.478% (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 12.79 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 7.71 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net migration rate: 9.7 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 47% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 0.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.66 male(s)/female
total population: 0.9 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
Nationality: noun: Aruban(s)
adjective: Aruban; Dutch
Ethnic groups: mixed white/Caribbean Amerindian 80%, other 20%

Roman Catholic 80.8%, Evangelist 4.1%, Protestant 2.5%, Jehovah's Witnesses 1.5%, Methodist 1.2%, Jewish 0.2%, other 5.1%, none or unspecified 4.6%

Languages: Papiamento (a Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect) 66.3%, Spanish 12.6%, English (widely spoken) 7.7%, Dutch (official) 5.8%, other 2.2%, unspecified or unknown 5.3% (2000 census)
Literacy: definition: NA
total population: 97.3%
male: 97.5%
female: 97.1% (2000 census)


Country name: Aruba
Dependency status: member country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs obtained in 1986 upon separation from the Netherlands Antilles; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
Government type: parliamentary democracy
Capital: name: Oranjestad
geographic coordinates: 12 31 N, 70 02 W
Administrative divisions: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Independence: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
National holiday: Flag Day, 18 March (1976)
Constitution: 1 January 1986
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 of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980); represented by Governor General Fredis REFUNJOL (since 11 May 2004)

head of government: Prime Minister Nelson O. ODUBER (since 30 October 2001)

cabinet: Council of Ministers elected by the Staten

elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed for a six-year term by the monarch; prime minister and deputy prime minister elected by the Staten for four-year terms; election last held in 2005 (next to be held by 2009)

election results: Nelson O. ODUBER elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA
Legislative branch:
unicameral Legislature or Staten (21 seats; members elected by direct popular vote to serve four-year terms)elections: last held 25 September 2009 (next to be held in 2013)election results: percent of vote by party - AVP 48%, MEP 35.9%, PDR 5.7%; seats by party - AVP 12, MEP 8, PDR 1
Judicial branch: Common Court of Justice of Aruba (judges are appointed by the monarch)
Political parties and leaders: Aliansa/Aruban Social Movement or MSA [Robert WEVER]; Aruban Liberal Organization or OLA [Glenbert CROES]; Aruban Patriotic Movement or MPA [Monica ARENDS-KOCK]; Aruban Patriotic Party or PPA [Benny NISBET]; Aruban People's Party or AVP [Mike EMAN]; People's Electoral Movement Party or MEP [Nelson O. ODUBER]; Real Democracy or PDR [Andin BIKKER]; RED [Rudy LAMPE]; Workers Political Platform or PTT [Gregorio WOLFF]
International organization participation: Caricom (observer), ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, ITUC, UNESCO (associate), UNWTO (associate), UPU, WCL, WFTU, WMO
Diplomatic representation in the US: none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - Mr. Henry BAARH, Minister Plenipotentiary for Aruba at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Diplomatic representation from the US: the US does not have an embassy in Aruba; the Consul General to Netherlands Antilles is accredited to Aruba
Flag description:

blue, with two narrow, horizontal, yellow stripes across the lower portion and a red, four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper hoist-side corner; the star represents Aruba and its red soil and white beaches, its four points the four major languages (Papiamento, Dutch, Spanish, English) as well as the four points of a compass, to indicate that its inhabitants come from all over the world; the blue symbolizes Caribbean waters and skies; the stripes represent the island's two main "industries": the flow of tourists to the sun-drenched beaches and the flow of minerals from the earth


Overview: Tourism is the mainstay of the small open Aruban economy with offshore banking and oil refining and storage also important. The rapid growth of the tourism sector over the last decade has resulted in a substantial expansion of other activities. Over 1.5 million tourists per year visit Aruba with 75% of those from the US. Construction continues to boom with hotel capacity five times the 1985 level. In addition, the country's oil refinery reopened in 1993 providing a major source of employment, foreign exchange earnings, and growth. Tourist arrivals have rebounded strongly following a dip after the 11 September 2001 attacks. The island experiences only a brief low season. Hotel occupancy in 2004 averaged 80% compared to 68% throughout the rest of the Caribbean. The government has made cutting the budget and trade deficits a high priority.
  $2.258 billion (2005 est.)
GDP (official exchange rate): $2.258 billion (2005 est.)
GDP - real growth rate: 2.4% (2005 est.)
GDP - per capita (PPP): $21,800 (2004 est.)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 0.4%industry: 33.3%services: 66.3% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line: 23% (2002)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5.3% (2006 est.)
Labor force: 41,500 (2004 est.)
Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: NA%
industry: NA%
services: NA%
note: most employment is in wholesale and retail trade and repair, followed by hotels and restaurants; oil refining

Unemployment rate: 6.9% (2005 est.)
Budget: revenues: $507.9 million
expenditures: $577.9 million (2005) est
Industries:  tourism, transshipment facilities, oil refining
Industrial production growth rate: NA
Agriculture - products: aloes; livestock; fish
Exports: $124 million (2006);
Exports - commodities: live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment
Exports - partners: US 69.4%, Brazil 8.7%, France 6.4%, UK 4.5% (2008)
Imports: $1.054 billion (2006)
Imports - commodities: machinery and electrical equipment, crude oil for refining and reexport, chemicals; foodstuffs
Debt - external: $478.6 million (2005 est.)
Exchange rates: Aruban guilders/florins (AWG) per US dollar - NA (2007), 1.79 (2006), 1.79 (2005), 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003)


Telephones - main lines in use: 38,500 (2008)
Telephones - mobile cellular: 127,100 (2008)
Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 16, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations: 1(1997)
Internet country code: .aw
Internet hosts: 17,661 (2008)
Internet users: 24,000 (2007)


Airports: 1(2009) Queen Beatrix International Airport
Ports and harbors: Barcadera, Oranjestad, Sint Nicolaas

Military No regular military forces: the Netherlands maintains a detachment of marines, a frigate and an amphibious combat detachment in the neighboring Netherlands Antilles (2009)
  Note: defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  Main Source of Information: the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook

Items of Interest  
National Anthem Aruba Deshi Tera

Aruba, patria aprecia
nos cuna venera.
Chikito y simpel bo por ta,
pero si respeta !

Chorus :
Oh ! Aruba, dushi tera,
nos baranca tan stima !
Nos amor pa bo t'asina grandi,
c'un tin nada pa kibr'e.

Bo playanan tan admira
cu palma tur dorna.
Bo escudo y bandera ta,
orgullo di nos tur.

Grandeza di bo pueblo ta
su gran cordialidad.
Cu Dios por guia y conserva
su amor pa libertad.

English Translation
Aruba Precious Country

Aruba beloved home
our venerated cradle
though small and simple you may be
you are indeed esteemed.

Aruba our dear country
our rock so well beloved
our love for you is so strong
that nothing can destroy it. (repeat)

Your beaches so much admired
with palm trees all adorned
your coat of arms and flag
the symbols of our pride.

The greatness of our people
is their great cordiality
and may God guide and preserve
its love for freedom.


Lyrics by: Juan Chabaya 'Padu' Lampe
Music by: Rufo Inocencio Wever

Favourite local cuisine:

Traditionally the Arubans have enjoyed stoba (stews of peas and beans), funchi and pan bati.  A popular snack is the pastechi, a small pie with cheese or beef filling.