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By Entry Pages > Visit Detail > Country Facts for Netherlands Antilles
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Map of Netherlands Antilles
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 is called Saint-Martin and is part of Guadeloupe (France).
Location: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
Map references:Central America and the Caribbean
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)

Area - comparative:more than five times the size of Washington, DC
Land boundaries:total: 10.2 km
border countries: Guadeloupe (Saint-Martin) 10.2 km

Coastline:364 km
Maritime claims:territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm

Climate:tropical; ameliorated by northeast trade winds
Terrain: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)

Irrigated land:NA sq km
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
Environment - current issues:NA
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)
Population: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.)
HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:NA
HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:NA
HIV/AIDS - deaths:NA
Nationality:noun: Dutch Antillean(s)
adjective: Dutch Antillean

Ethnic groups:mixed black 85%, Carib Amerindian, white, East Asian
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)
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)
Literacy: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

Government type:parliamentary
Capital: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

Independence: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
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 of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Frits GOEDGEDRAG (since 1 July 2002)
head of government: Prime Minister Etienne YS (since 3 June 2004)
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 18 January 2002 (next to be held by NA 2006)
note: government coalition - PAR, PNP, PLKP, 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 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)
Political parties and leaders:Antillean Restructuring Party or PAR [Etienne YS]; C 93 [Stanley BROWN]; Democratic Party of Bonaire or PDB [Jopi ABRAHAM]; Democratic Party of Curacao or DP [Errol HERNANDEZ]; Democratic Party of Sint Eustatius or DP-St. E [Julian WOODLEY]; Democratic Party of Sint Maarten or DP-St. M [Sarah WESCOTT-WILLIAMS]; Foundation Energetic Management Anti-Narcotics or FAME [Eric LODEWIJKS]; Labor Party People's Crusade or PLKP [Errol COVA]; National Alliance [William MARLIN]; National People's Party or PNP [Susanne F. C. CAMELIA-ROMER]; New Antilles Movement or MAN [Kenneth GIJSBERTHA]; Patriotic Union of Bonaire or UP Bonaire [Ramonsito BOOI]; Patriotic Movement of Sint Maarten or SPA [Vance JAMES, Jr.]; People's Party or PAPU [Richard HODI]; Pro Curacao Party or PPK [Winston LOURENS]; Saba Democratic Labor Movement [Steve HASSELL]; Saba Unity Party [Carmen SIMMONDS]; St. Eustatius Alliance or SEA [Kenneth VAN PUTTEN]; Serious Alternative People's Party or Sapp [Julian ROLLOCKS]; Social Action Cause or KAS [Benny DEMEI]; Windward Islands People's Movement or WIPM [Will JOHNSTON]; Workers' Liberation Front or FOL [Anthony GODETT, Rignald LAK, Editha WRIGHT]
note: political parties are indigenous to each island

Political pressure groups and leaders:NA
International organization participation:ILO, IMF, Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), UPU, WCL, WCO, WMO, WToO (associate)
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
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.)

Labor force:89,000 (2000)
Labor force - by occupation:agriculture 1%, industry 13%, services 86% (2000 est.)
Unemployment rate:15.6% (2002 est.)
Population below poverty line:NA
Household income or consumption by percentage share:lowest 10%: NA
highest 10%: NA

Inflation rate (consumer prices):2.1% (2003 est.)
Budget:revenues: $710.8 million
expenditures: $741.6 million, including capital expenditures of NA (1997 est.)

Agriculture - products:aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
Industries:tourism (Curacao, Sint Maarten, and Bonaire), petroleum refining (Curacao), petroleum transshipment facilities (Curacao and Bonaire), light manufacturing (Curacao)
Industrial production growth rate:NA%
Electricity - production:1.005 billion kWh (2002)
Electricity - production by source:fossil fuel: 100%
hydro: 0%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0% (2001)

Electricity - consumption:934.3 million kWh (2002)
Electricity - exports:0 kWh (2002)
Electricity - imports:0 kWh (2002)
Oil - production:0 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - consumption:72,000 bbl/day (2001 est.)
Oil - exports:NA
Oil - imports:NA
Exports:$1.579 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Exports - commodities:petroleum products
Exports - partners:US 27.3%, Venezuela 13.5%, Bahamas, The 7%, Singapore 4.5%, Honduras 4.5%, Netherlands 4.3%, Guatemala 4.1% (2004)
Imports:$2.233 billion f.o.b. (2002)
Imports - commodities:crude petroleum, food, manufactures
Imports - partners:Venezuela 53.5%, US 23.2%, Netherlands 5.2% (2004)
Debt - external:$1.35 billion (1996)
Currency (code):Netherlands Antillean guilder (ANG)
Currency code:ANG
Exchange rates:Netherlands Antillean guilders per US dollar - 1.79 (2004), 1.79 (2003), 1.79 (2002), 1.79 (2001), 1.79 (2000)
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)
Radios:217,000 (1997)
Television broadcast stations:3 (there is also a cable service, which supplies programs received from various US satellite networks and two Venezuelan channels) (2004)
Televisions:69,000 (1997)
Internet country
Internet hosts:119 (2001)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs):6
Internet users:2,000 (2000)
Highways:total: 600 km
paved: 300 km
unpaved: 300 km

Ports and harbors:Bopec Terminal, Fuik Bay, Kralendijk, Willemstad
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)

Airports:5 (2004 est.)
Airports - with paved runways:total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
2038 to 3047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (2004 est.)

Military branches:National Guard, Police Force
Military manpower - military age and obligation:16 years of age for military recruitment; no conscription (July 2002)
Military manpower - availability:males age 16-49: 54,200 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - fit for military service:males age 16-49: 45,273 (2005 est.)
Military manpower - reaching military age annually:males: 1,720 (2005 est.)
Military note:defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Transnational IssuesTop
Disputes - international:none
Illicit drugs:transshipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering center

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