Motto: Libertate Unanimus (United in Freedom)


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 is called Saint-Martin and is an overseas collectivity of France.




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

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


total: 800 sq km
land: 800 sq km
water: 0 sq km
note: includes Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin)

Land boundaries:

total: 15 km
border countries: Guadeloupe (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)

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

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)



227,049 (July 2009 est.)

Population growth rate:

0.79% (2006 est.)

Age structure: 0-14 years: 22.7% (male 26,429/female 25,162)
15-64 years: 67.7% (male 74,183/female 79,434)
65 years and over: 9.6% (male 8,875/female 12,966) (2009 est.)
Birth rate: 14.19 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Death rate: 6.48 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
Net Migration Rate: -0.39 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
Urbanization: urban population: 93% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: 1.6% annual rate of change (2005-10 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: 0.68 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2009 est.)


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%, Jehovah's 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.)


Country name:

Netherlands Antilles

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

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:

(part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
note: each island has its own government


DefinitionField Listing
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 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. Maarten, UP Bonaire, WIPM Saba, DP Statia

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, BDP 1, WIPM 1
note: the government of Prime Minister Emily de JONGH-ELHAGE 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 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

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

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



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

GDP (purchasing power parity):

$2.8 billion (2004 est.)

GDP - per capita (PPP):

$16,000 (2004 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 1% (2004)

Labor force:

91,470 (2007)

Labor force - by occupation:

agriculture: 1%
industry: 20%
services: 79% (2005 est.)

Unemployment rate:

15.5% (2002 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)


$3.71 billion f.o.b. (2006 est.)

Exports - commodities:

petroleum products

Exports - partners:

US 17.6%, Mexico 13.8%, Panama 11.9%, Haiti 6.9%, Singapore 6.2%, Bahamas, The 5.5%, Italy 4.1%, Honduras 4.1% (2008)


$15.74 billion (2006)

Imports - commodities:

crude petroleum, food, manufactures

Imports - partners:

Venezuela 59.2%, US 19.1%, Brazil 5.9% (2008)

Exchange rates:

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


Telephones - main lines in use:

88,000 (2008)

Telephones - mobile cellular:

200,000 (2004)

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)

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:

47,597 (2008)

Internet users:

2,000 (2000)



5 (2006)

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 (2009)

Merchant marine:

total: 147
country comparison to the world: 42
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)

Ports and terminals:

Bopec Terminal, Willemstad


no regular military forces; National Guard, Police Force (2005) , 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: The Dutch national Anthem "Wilhelmus van Nassouwe" (William of Nassau) is the official anthem

Wilhelmus van Nassouwe
Ben ik van Duitsen bloed
Den vaderland getrouwe
Blijf ik tot in den dood
Een Prince van Oranjen
Ben ik vrij onverveerd
Den Koning van Hispanjen
Heb ik altijd geeerd

In Godes vrees te leven
Heb ik altijd betracht
Daarom ben ik verdreven
Om land om luid' gebracht
Maar God zal mij regeren
Als een goed instrument
Dat ik zal wederkeren
In mijnen regiment

Lijdt u mijn onderzaten
Die oprecht zijn van aard
God zal u niet verlaten
Al zijt gij nu bezwaard
Die vroom begeert te leven
Bidt God nacht ende dag
Dat hij mij kracht wil geven
Dat ik u helpen mag

Lijf en goed al te samen
Heb ik u niet verschoond
Mijn broeders hoog van namen
Hebben 't u ook vertoond
Graaf Adolf is gebleven
In Friesland in den slag
Zijn ziel in 't eeuwig leven
Verwacht den jongsten dag

Edel en hoog geboren
Van keizerlijken stam
Een vorst des rijks verkoren
Als een vroom Christenman
Voor Godes woord geprezen
Heb ik vrij onversaagd
Als een held zonder vrezen
Mijn edel bloed gewaagd

Mijn schild ende betrouwen
Zijt gij o God mijn Heer
Op u zo wil ik bouwen
Verlaat mij nimmermeer
Dat ik doch vroom mag blijven
Uw dienaar t'aller stond
Die tirannie verdrijven
Die mij mijn hert doorwondt

Van al die mij bezwaren
En mijn vervolgers zijn
Mijn God wilt doch bewaren
Den trouwen dienaar dijn
Dat zal mij niet verrassen
In haren bozen moed
Haar handen niet en wassen
In mijn onschuldig bloed

Als David moeste vluchten
Voor Saul den tiran
Zo heb ik moeten zuchten
Met menig edelman
Maar God heeft hem verheven
Verlost uit alder nood
Een koninkrijk gegeven
In Israel zeer groot

Na 't zuur zal ik ontvangen
Van God mijn Heer dat zoet
Daar na zo doet verlangen
Mijn vorstelijk gemoed:
Dat is dat ik mag sterven
Met eren in dat veld
Een eeuwig rijk verwerven
Als een getrouwe held

Niet doet mij meer erbarmen
In mijnen wederspoed
Dan dat men ziet verarmen
Des Konings landen goed
Dat u de Spanjaards krenken
O edel Neerland zoet
Als ik daar aan gedenke
Mijn edel hert dat bloedt

Als een Prins opgezeten
Met mijner heires kracht
Van den tiran vermeten
Heb ik den slag verwacht
Die bij Maastricht begraven
Bevreesde mijn geweld
Mijn ruiters zag men draven
Zeer moedig door dat veld

Zo het den wille des Heren
Op die tijd had geweest
Had ik geern willen keren
Van u dit zwaar tempeest
Maar de Heer van hier boven
Die alle ding regeert
Die men altijd moet loven
En heeft het niet begeerd

Zeer prinselijk was gedreven
Mijn prinselijk gemoed
Standvastig is gebleven
Mijn hert in tegenspoed
Den Heer heb ik gebeden
Van mijnes herten grond
Dat hij mijn zaak wil reden
Mijn onschuld doen bekend

Oorlof mijn arme schapen
Die zijt in groten nood
Uw herder zal niet slapen
Al zijt gij nu verstrooid!
Tot God wilt u begeven
Zijn heilzaam woord neemt aan
Als vrome Christen leven
't Zal hier naast zijn gedaan

Voor God wil ik belijden
En zijner groter macht
Dat ik tot genen tijden
Den Koning heb veracht
Dat dat ik God den Here
Der hoogster Majesteit
Heb moeten obedieren
In der gerechtigheid


William of Nassau, scion
Of an old Germanic line,
Dedicate undying
Faith to this land of mine.
A prince I am, undaunted,
Of Orange, ever free,
To the king of Spain I've granted
A lifelong loyalty.

I 've ever tried to live in
The fear of God's command
And therefore I've been driven,
From people, home, and land,
But God, I trust, will rate me
His willing instrument
And one day reinstate me
Into my government.

Let no despair betray you,
My subjects true and good.
The Lord will surely stay you
Though now you are pursued.
He who would live devoutly
Must pray God day and night
To throw His power about me
As champion of your right.

Life and my all for others
I sacrificed, for you!
And my illustrious brothers
Proved their devotion too.
Count Adolf, more's the pity,
Fell in the Frisian fray,
And in the eternal city
Awaits the judgement day.

I, nobly born, descended
From an imperial stock.
An empire's prince, defended
Braving the battle's shock
Heroically and fearless
As pious Christian ought
With my life's blood the peerless
Gospel of God our Lord.

A shield and my reliance,
O God, Thou ever wert.
I'll trust unto Thy guidance.
O leave me not ungirt.
That I may stay a pious
Servant of Thine for aye
And drive the plagues that try us
And tyranny away.

My God, I pray thee, save me
From all who do pursue
And threaten to enslave me,
Thy trusted servant true.
O Father, do not sanction
Their wicked, foul design,
Don't let them wash their hands in
This guiltless blood of mine.

O David, thou soughtest shelter
From King Saul's tyranny.
Even so I fled this welter
And many a lord with me.
But God the Lord did save me
From exile and its hell
And, in His mercy, gave him
A realm in Israel.

Fear not 't will rain sans ceasing
The clouds are bound to part.
I bide that sight so pleasing
Unto my princely heart,
Which is that I with honor
Encounter death in war,
And meet in heaven my Donor,
His faithful warrior.

Nothing so moves my pity
As seeing through these lands,
Field, village, town and city
Pillaged by roving hands.
O that the Spaniards rape thee,
My Netherlands so sweet,
The thought of that does grip me
Causing my heart to bleed.

A stride on steed of mettle
I've waited with my host
The tyrant's call to battle,
Who durst not do his boast.
For, near Maastricht ensconced,
He feared the force I wield.
My horsemen saw one bounce it
Bravely across the field.

Surely, if God had willed it,
When that fierce tempest blew,
My power would have stilled it,
Or turned its blast from you
But He who dwells in heaven,
Whence all our blessings flow,
For which aye praise be given,
Did not desire it so.

Steadfast my heart remaineth
In my adversity
My princely courage straineth
All nerves to live and be.
I've prayed the Lord my Master
With fervid heart and tense
To save me from disaster
And prove my innocence.

Alas! my flock. To sever
Is hard on us. Farewell.
Your Shepherd wakes, wherever
Dispersed you may dwell,
Pray God that He may ease you.
His Gospel be your cure.
Walk in the steps of Jesu
This life will not endure.

Unto the Lord His power
I do not confession make
That ne'er at any hour
Ill of the King I spake.
But unto God, the greatest
Of Majesties I owe
Obedience first and latest,
For Justice wills it so.

Favorite Local Cuisine: Traditional dishes take their flavors from the variety of cultures which have existed in these islands, the French, Spanish, Dutch and English. Some of the favorites include Funchi (a maize flour pancake) and goat stew.