OFFICIAL NAME: Netherlands Antilles
SYSTEM OF GOVERNMENT: Overseas Territory of the Netherlands
AREA: 1,020 Sq Km (394 Sq Mi)
ESTIMATED 2000 POPULATION: 213,900
LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: The Netherlands Antilles consists
of two groups of islands in the Caribbean Sea. The leeward
group of islands are Curacao and Bonaire while the windward
group of islands are St. Martin, St. Eustatius and Saba.
Curacao which is composed of coralline limestone is a low
hilly island of volcanic origin with little vegetation.
There are no permanent rivers on any of the islands. Major
Cities; Willemstad 125,000 (1985). Land Use; agricultural-cultivated
8%, other 92% (1989).
CLIMATE: The Netherlands Antilles has a tropical maritime climate.
Average annual precipitation is 560 mm (22 inches ) on the leeward group
of islands and 1,000 mm (39 inches) on the windward group of islands. There
is also a short rainy season from October to January. Average temperature
ranges are from 24 degrees Celsius (76 degrees Fahrenheit) to 32 degrees
Celsius (90 degrees Fahrenheit) all year.
PEOPLE: Around 85% of the population are Creoles of mixed African,
Dutch or Spanish descent with minorities of Chinese, Europeans, Arabs as
well as North and South Americans.
DEMOGRAPHIC/VITAL STATISTICS: Density; 239 persons per sq km
(620 persons per sq mi) (1991). Urban-Rural; 92.4% urban, 7.6% rural (1985).
Sex Distribution; 48.5% male, 51.5% female (1987). Life Expectancy at Birth;
71.1 years male, 75.8 years female (1981). Age Breakdown; 30% under 15,
30% 15 to 29, 19% 30 to 44, 11% 45 to 59, 7% 60 to 74, 3% 75 and over (1981).
Birth Rate; 18.5 per 1,000 (1989). Death Rate; 6.4 per 1,000 (1989). Increase
Rate; 12.1 per 1,000 (1989). Infant Mortality Rate; 6.3 per 1,000 live
RELIGIONS: The population of the leeward group of islands are
predominantly Roman Catholic while the population of the windward group
of islands are largely Protestant. In addition, Curacao has a sizable Jewish
LANGUAGES: The official language is Dutch, although both Spanish
and English are also widely spoken. Papiamento, a local patois of mixed
Portuguese, Spanish and Dutch is also spoken and other local languages
are also spoken in the leeward group of islands.
EDUCATION: Aged 25 or over and having attained: no formal schooling
or incomplete primary 29.7%, primary 31.5%, secondary or vocational 37.6%,
higher 1.2% (1981). Literacy; literate population aged 15 or over 154,860
or 93.8% (1981).
MODERN HISTORY - WWII TO 1990: In 1954 the Netherlands Antilles
was granted internal self-government and coalition governments have controlled
the country's Legislative Council ever since. In 1979 the coalition led
by Silvio Rozendal collapsed and after the elections was replaced by another,
led by Don Martina. In mid 1984 the coalition was in turn replaced by another
under Maria Liberia Peters until 1985 when island of Aruba, which was formerly
part of the Netherlands Antilles, seceded. After elections in Nov. 1985
Martina returned as Prime Minister under another coalition and in May 1988
Liberia Peters was again elected Prime Minister. In March 1990 Liberia
Peters was re-elected as Prime Minister and proposals were formulated for
a new constitution that would create a Dutch Commonwealth in the two island
CURRENCY: The official currency is the Antillean Guilder (NAG)
divided into 100 Cents.
ECONOMY: Gross National Product; USD $1,370,000,000 (1989). Public
Debt; USD $700,840,000 (1989). Imports; NAG 2,526,390,000 (1988). Exports;
NAG 2,042,110,000 (1988). Tourism Receipts; USD $371,700,000 (1989). Balance
of Trade; NAG -1,733,700,000 (1990). Economically Active Population; 72,906
or 38.4% of total population (1988). Unemployed; 20.4% (1988).
MAIN TRADING PARTNERS: Its main trading partners are the USA,
Latin America, the UK and Canada.
MAIN PRIMARY PRODUCTS: Goats, Pigs, Phosphates, Salt.
MAJOR INDUSTRIES: Banking, Offshore Investments, Petroleum Refining,
Petroleum Transshipment Facilities, Ship Building and Repair, Tourism.
MAIN EXPORTS: Petroleum, Phosphates.
TRANSPORT: Railroads; nil. Roads; length 820 km (510 mi) (1984).
Vehicles; cars 54,150 (1986), trucks and buses 10,174 (1986). Merchant
Marine; vessels 103 (1990), deadweight tonnage N/A. Air Transport; passenger-km
377,000,000 (234,257,000 passenger-mi) (1982), cargo ton-km 1,815,000 (1,243,000
short ton-mi) (1982).
COMMUNICATIONS: Daily Newspapers; total of 6 with a total circulation
for 5 of 40,000 (1990). Radio; receivers 125,000 (1990). Television; receivers
32,000 (1990). Telephones; units 49,561 (1989).
MILITARY: Defense is maintained by The Netherlands.