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 Netherlands Antilles
(part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
[Country Flag of Netherlands Antilles]
Geography
People
Government
Economy
Communications
Transportation
Military
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Netherlands Antilles]

Netherlands Antilles

Geography

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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

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:
exclusive fishing zone: 12 nm
territorial sea: 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%
permanent pastures: 0%
forests and woodland: 0%
other: 90% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: Curacao and Bonaire are south of Caribbean hurricane belt, so are rarely threatened; Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are subject to hurricanes from July to October

Environment—current issues: NA

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Whaling (extended from Netherlands)
signed, but not ratified: NA

People

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Population: 205,693 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 26% (male 27,001; female 26,091)
15-64 years: 67% (male 64,964; female 72,329)
65 years and over: 7% (male 6,393; female 8,915) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.06% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 17.61 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 6.63 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.43 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.9 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.72 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 12.95 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.05 years
male: 71.99 years
female: 76.2 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 2.11 children born/woman (1998 est.)

Nationality:
noun: Netherlands Antillean(s)
adjective: Netherlands Antillean

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

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

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

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

Government

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

Data code: NT

Dependency status: part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 1954

Government type: parliamentary

National capital: Willemstad

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, 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 of the Netherlands (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 elected by the Staten
elections: the queen is a constitutional monarch; governor general appointed by the queen 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 30 January 1998 (next to be held by NA 2002)
election results: Miguel POURIER elected prime minister; percent of legislative vote - NA

Legislative branch: unicameral States or Staten (22 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 30 January 1998 (next to be held by NA 2002)
election results: percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party—PAR 4, PNP 3, SPA 1, PDB 2, UPB 1, MAN 2, PKLP 3, WIPM 1, SEA 1, DP-St.M 2, FOL 2; no party won enough seats to form a government
note: the government of Prime Minister Miguel POURIER is a coalition of several parties

Judicial branch: Joint High Court of Justice, are appointed by the Netherlands monarch

Political parties and leaders:
Bonaire: Democratic Party of Bonaire (PDB), Jopi ABRAHAM; Patriotic Union of Bonaire (UPB), Rudy ELLIS
Curacao: Antillean Restructuring Party (PAR), Miguel POURIER; National People's Party (PNP), Suzy ROMER; New Antilles Movement (MAN), Domenico Felip Don MARTINA; Workers' Liberation Front (FOL), Wilson GODETT, Jr.; Socialist Independent (SI), George HUECK; Democratic Party of Curacao (DP), Frank MAYNARD; Nos Patria, Chin BEHILIA; Social Action Cause (KAS), Benny DEMEI; Labor Party People's Crusade (PLKP), Errol COVA; Foundation Energetic Management Anti-Narcotics (FAME), Eric LODEWIJKS; Pro Curacao Party (PPK), Winston LOURENS; C 93, Stanley BROWN; People's Party (PAPU), Richard HODI
Saba: Windward Islands People's Movement (WIPM Saba), Ray HASSELL; Saba Democratic Labor Movement, Steve HASSELL; Saba Unity Party, Carmen SIMMONDS
Sint Eustatius: Democratic Party of Sint Eustatius (DP-St. E), Julian WOODLEY; Windward Islands People's Movement (WIPM); St. Eustatius Alliance (SEA), Ingrid WHITFIELD
Sint Maarten: Democratic Party of Sint Maarten (DP-St. M), Sarah WESTCOTT-WILLIAMS; Patriotic Movement of Sint Maarten (SPA), William MARLIN; Serious Alternative People's Party (SAPP) Julian ROLLOCKS
note: political parties are indigenous to each island

International organization participation: Caricom (observer), ECLAC (associate), Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), UPU, WMO, WToO (associate)

Diplomatic representation in the US: none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Consul General James L. WILLIAMS
consulate(s) general: J.B. Gorsiraweg #1, Curacao
mailing address: P. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao
telephone: [599] (9) 4613066
FAX: [599] (9) 4616489

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

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Economy—overview: Tourism, petroleum transshipment, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. 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.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$2.4 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: -1.3% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$11,500 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 1%
industry: 15%
services: 84% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 3.6% (1997)

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

Unemployment rate: 12.8% (1993)

Budget:
revenues: $277 million
expenditures: $322 million, including capital expenditures of $14 million (1996 est.)

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—capacity: 200,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 840 million kWh (1995)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 4,128 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit

Exports:
total value: $NA
commodities: petroleum products 98% (1993)
partners: US 39%, Brazil 9%, Colombia 6% (1993)

Imports:
total value: $1.4 billion (f.o.b., 1996 est.)
commodities: crude petroleum 64%, food, manufactures (1993)
partners: Venezuela 26%, US 18%, Colombia 6%, Netherlands 6%, Japan 5% (1993)

Debt—external: $1.95 billion (December 1995)

Economic aid:
recipient: ODA, $NA; the Netherlands Antilles received a $97 million Dutch aid package in 1996, making it the Netherlands' second largest aid recipient behind India

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

Exchange rates: Netherlands Antillean guilders, gulden, or florins (NAf.) per US$1 - 1.790 (fixed rate since 1989)

Fiscal year: calendar year

Communications

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Telephones: NA

Telephone system: generally adequate facilities
domestic: extensive interisland microwave radio relay links
international: 2 submarine cables; satellite earth stations—2 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean)

Radio broadcast stations: AM 9, FM 4, shortwave 0

Radios: 205,000 (1992 est.)

Television broadcast stations: 1

Televisions: 64,000 (1992 est.)

Transportation

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Railways: 0 km

Highways:
total: 600 km
paved: 300 km
unpaved: 300 km (1992 est.)

Ports and harbors: Kralendijk, Philipsburg, Willemstad

Merchant marine:
total: 97 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 894,479 GRT/1,230,865 DWT
ships by type: bulk 4, cargo 32, chemical tanker 1, container 5, liquefied gas tanker 4, multifunction large-load carrier 19, oil tanker 6, passenger 1, refrigerated cargo 17, roll-on/roll-off cargo 8
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships of 2 countries: Belgium owns 9 ships, Germany 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 5 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 5
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 1 (1997 est.)

Military

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

Military manpower—military age: 20 years of age

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 52,845 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 29,664 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—reaching military age annually:
males: 1,456 (1998 est.)

Military—note: defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

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