Netherlands Antilles

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Once the centre of the Caribbean slave trade, the island of Curacao was hard hit by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighbouring 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 part of Guadeloupe (France).
Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea - composed of five islands, Curacao and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela, and St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates:
12 15 N, 68 45 W
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)
Land boundaries:
total: 10.2 km
border countries: Guadeloupe (Saint-Martin) 10.2 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% (2001)
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
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)
219,958 (July 2005 est.)
Age structure:
0-14 years: 24.2% (male 27,302/female 26,002)
15-64 years: 67.3% (male 70,838/female 77,148)
65 years and over: 8.5% (male 7,673/female 10,995) (2005 est.)
Median age:
total: 32.46 years
male: 30.86 years
female: 34.01 years (2005 est.)
Population growth rate:
0.82% (2005 est.)
Birth rate:
15 births/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Death rate:
6.41 deaths/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Net migration rate:
-0.4 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2005 est.)
Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.92 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2005 est.)
Infant mortality rate:
total: 10.03 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 10.82 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 9.19 deaths/1,000 live births (2005 est.)
Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 75.83 years
male: 73.58 years
female: 78.2 years (2005 est.)
Total fertility rate:
2 children born/woman (2005 est.)
noun: Dutch Antillean(s)
adjective: Dutch Antillean
Ethnic groups:
mixed black 85%, 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:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Netherlands Antilles
local long form: none
local short form: Nederlandse Antillen
former: Curacao and Dependencies
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:
Willemstad; note - located on Curacao, the largest of the islands
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
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 18 January 2002 (next to be held in 2006)
election results: percent of vote by party - NA%; seats by party - PAR 4, PNP 3, PLKP 2, DP St. M 2, UP Bonaire 2, WIPM 1, DP
note: the government of Prime Minister Etienne YS is a coalition of several parties; current government formed after collapse of FOL led government on 4 April 2004
Judicial branch:
Joint High Court of Justice (judges appointed by the monarch)
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. 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.
GDP (purchasing power parity):
$2.45 billion (2003 est.)
GDP - real growth rate:
0.5% (2003 est.)
GDP - per capita:
purchasing power parity - $11,400 (2003 est.)
GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 15%
services: 84% (2000 est.)
Labour force:
89,000 (2000)
Labour force - by occupation:
agriculture 1%, industry 13%, services 86% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:
15.6% (2002 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices):
2.1% (2003 est.)
revenues: $710.8 million
expenditures: $741.6 million, including capital expenditures of NA (1997 est.)
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)
Electricity - production:
1.017 billion kWh (2003)
Electricity - consumption:
945.8 million kWh (2003)
Oil - consumption:
72,500 bbl/day (2003 est.)
$2.076 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Exports - partners:
US 20.4%, Panama 11.2%, Guatemala 8.8%, Haiti 7.1%, Bahamas, The 5.6%, Honduras 4.2% (2004)
$4.383 billion f.o.b. (2004 est.)
Imports - partners:
Venezuela 51.1%, US 21.9%, Netherlands 5% (2004)
Debt - external:
$1.35 billion (1996)
Economic aid - recipient:
IMF provided $61 million in 2000, and the Netherlands continued its support with $40 million (2000)
Currency (code):
Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)
Exchange rates:
Netherlands Antillean guilders per US dollar - NA (2005), 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003), 1.79 (2002), 1.79 (2001)
Fiscal year:
calendar year
Telephones - main lines in use:
81,000 (2001)
Telephones - mobile cellular:
81,000 (2001)
Telephone system:
general assessment: generally adequate facilities
domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
international: country code - 599; submarine cables - 2; satellite earth stations - 2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)
Radio broadcast stations:
AM 8, FM 19, shortwave 0 (2004)
Television broadcast stations:
3 (there is also a cable service, which supplies programs received from various US satellite networks and two Venezuelan channels) (2004)
Internet country code:
Internet hosts:
119 (2001)
Internet users:
2,000 (2000)
5 (2004 est.)
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 (2005 est.)
total: 600 km
paved: 300 km
unpaved: 300 km
Merchant marine:
total: 168 ships (1,000 GRT or over) 1,317,007 GRT/1,668,499 DWT
by type: barge carrier 3, bulk carrier 23, cargo 72, chemical tanker 2, container 21, liquefied gas 6, passenger 2, petroleum tanker 3, refrigerated cargo 30, roll on/roll off 4, specialized tanker 2
foreign-owned: 158 (Belgium 5, Cyprus 1, Denmark 1, Germany 57, Hong Kong 3, Netherlands 71, Peru 1, Sweden 9, Turkey 7, United Kingdom 2, United States 1) (2005)
Ports and terminals:
Bopec Terminal, Fuik Bay, Kralendijk, Willemstad
Military branches:
no regular military forces; National Guard, Police Force (2005)
Military - note:
defence is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Illicit drugs:
transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering centre