The Caribbean Netherlands (Dutch: Caribisch Nederland, pronounced [kaːˌribis ˈneːdərlɑnt]) are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands that are located in the Caribbean Sea. They consist of the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba,[nb 1] although the term "Caribbean Netherlands" is sometimes used to refer to all of the islands in the Dutch Caribbean. In legislation, the three islands are also known as the BES islands (an acronym of their names). The islands are currently classified as public bodies in the Netherlands and as overseas countries and territories of the European Union; thus, EU law does not automatically apply.
Bonaire (including the islet of Klein Bonaire) is one of the Leeward Antilles and is located close to the coast of Venezuela. Sint Eustatius and Saba are in the main Lesser Antilles group and are located south of Sint Maarten and northwest of Saint Kitts and Nevis.
Caribisch Nederland (Dutch)
Overseas region of the Netherlands
|Incorporated into the Netherlands||10 October 2010 (dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles)|
|• National Rep.||Jan Helmond|
|• Lt. Governors|
|• Total||328 km2 (127 sq mi)|
|(0.8% of the Netherlands)|
|Highest elevation||887 m (2,910 ft)|
|(0.1% of the Netherlands)|
|• Recognised regional|
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
|ISO 3166 code||BQ, NL-BQ1, NL-BQ2, NL-BQ3|
|Currency||United States dollar ($) (USD)|
The three islands gained their current status following the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010. At the same time, the islands of Curaçao and Sint Maarten became autonomous countries (Dutch: landen) within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island of Aruba is also a constituent country of the Kingdom located in the Caribbean. The term "Dutch Caribbean" may refer to the three special municipalities (e.g. for stamps), but may also refer to all of the Caribbean islands within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The population of the Caribbean Netherlands is 25,019. Their total area is 328 square kilometres (127 sq mi).
The special municipalities (Dutch: bijzondere gemeenten) carry many of the functions normally performed by Dutch municipalities. The executive power rests with the Governing Council headed by an Island Governor. The main democratic body is the island council. Dutch citizens of these three islands are entitled to vote in Dutch national elections and (as all Dutch nationals) in European elections.
Officially the islands are classed in Dutch law as being openbare lichamen (literally translated as "public bodies") and not gemeenten (municipalities). Unlike normal municipalities, they do not form part of a Dutch province and the powers normally exercised by provincial councils within municipalities are divided between the island governments themselves and the central government by means of the National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands. For this reason, they are called "special" municipalities.
The National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands (Dutch: Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland) is responsible for taxation, policing, immigration, transport infrastructure, health, education, and social security in the islands and provides these services on behalf of the Government of the Netherlands. This agency was established as the Regional Service Center in 2008 and became the National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands on 1 September 2010. The current director is Jan Helmond. The Representative for the public bodies of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba represents the Government of the Netherlands on the islands and also performs tasks similar to a King's Commissioner. The current representative is Gilbert Isabella.
The islands do not form part of the European Union and instead constitute "overseas countries and territories" (OCT status) of the Union, to which special provisions apply.[nb 2] The Lisbon Treaty introduced a procedure where the European Council may change the status of an overseas territory of Denmark, France, or the Netherlands regarding the application of the EU treaties to that territory.[nb 3] In June 2008, the Dutch government published a survey of the legal and economic impacts by a switched status from OCT to outermost region (OMR). The position of the islands was reviewed after a five-year transitional period, which began with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in October 2010. The review was conducted as part of the planned review of the Dutch "Act for the public bodies Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba" (Dutch: "Wet openbare lichamen Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba (WolBES)"), where the islands have been granted the option to become an OMR – and thus a direct part of the European Union. In October 2015, the review concluded the present legal structures for governance and integration with European Netherlands was not working well within the framework of WolBES, but no recommendations were made in regards of whether a switch from OCT to OMR status would help improve this situation.
The Caribbean Netherlands form part of the Lesser Antilles. Within this island group,
The islands of the Caribbean Netherlands enjoy a tropical climate with warm weather all year round. The Leeward Islands are warmer and drier than the Windward islands. In summer, the Windward Islands can be subject to hurricanes.
Until 1 January 2011, the three islands used the Netherlands Antillean guilder; after that all three switched to the US dollar, rather than the euro (which is used in the European Netherlands) or the Caribbean guilder (which is being adopted by the other two former Antillean islands of Curaçao and Sint Maarten).
The telephone country code remains 599, that of the former Netherlands Antilles, and is shared with Curaçao. The International Organization for Standardization has assigned the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 country code ISO 3166-2:BQ for these islands. The IANA has not established a root zone for the .bq Internet ccTLD and whether it will be used is unknown.
Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba (the Caribbean Netherlands)
We proudly present you the Island Guide Caribbean Netherlands. This information booklet has been published by the Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland for all the three islands: Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba.
... while the other islands, Bonaire, St. Eustatius, and Saba, are Dutch overseas public bodies and as such are part of the country of the Netherlands. Collectively these three islands are known as the Caribbean Netherlands ...
De openbare lichamen vallen rechtstreeks onder het Rijk omdat zij geen deel uitmaken van een provincie. (The public bodies (...), because they are not part of a Province).
.bq is designated—but not in use—as the Internet country code top-level domain (ccTLD) for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (the Caribbean Netherlands) following the assignment on December 15, 2010, by the ISO 3166 Maintenance Agency of BQ as the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 to the area. This decision followed the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles and new status of the Caribbean Netherlands as public bodies of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010.
On 15 December, 2010 the ISO 3166-1 code for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba changed to reflect the BQ codified for the ccTLD.
Previously, the Caribbean Netherlands used the former Netherlands Antilles's ccTLD, .an, which has been phased out in July 2015. As part of the Netherlands proper, .nl also applies. Versgeperst.com has indicated that use of the top level domain is as of July 2015 being considered and an economic evaluation is being performed to that effect.Coat of arms of the Netherlands
The coat of arms of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was originally adopted in 1815 and later modified in 1907. The arms are a composite of the arms of the former Dutch Republic and the arms of the House of Nassau, it features a checkered shield with a lion grasping a sword in one hand and a bundle of arrows in the other and is the heraldic symbol of the monarch (King Willem-Alexander) and the country. The monarch uses a version of the arms with a mantle (Dutch: Koninklijk wapen) while the government of the Netherlands uses a smaller version without the mantle (cloak) or the pavilion, sometimes only the shield and crown are used (Dutch: Rijkswapen). The components of the coats of arms were regulated by Queen Wilhelmina in a royal decree of 10 July 1907, affirmed by Queen Juliana in a royal decree of 23 April 1980.Dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles
The Netherlands Antilles was an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was dissolved on 10 October 2010.After dissolution, the "BES islands" of the Dutch Caribbean — Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba — became the Caribbean Netherlands, "special municipalities" of the Netherlands proper — a structure that only exists in the Caribbean. Meanwhile Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along the lines of Aruba, which separated from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986.Dutch Caribbean
The Dutch Caribbean (historically known as the Dutch West Indies) are the territories, colonies, and countries, both former and current, of the Dutch Empire and the Kingdom of the Netherlands that are located in the Lesser Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea.
Currently the Dutch Caribbean comprises the islands of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. The contemporary term is sometimes also used for the Caribbean Netherlands, an entity since 2010 consisting of the three islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, which are special municipalities of the Netherlands.Flag of Bonaire
The flag of Bonaire has a large blue triangle in the lower right corner and a smaller yellow triangle in the upper left corner. It was adopted on 11 December 1981.
The triangles are separated by a white strip, inside of which is a black compass and a red six-pointed star. The blue and yellow triangles represent the sea and sun respectively while the dividing white strip represents the sky. The colors red, white, and blue also show Bonaire's loyalty to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The black compass represents the population of Bonaire who comes from the four corners of the world.
The red six-pointed star represents the original six villages of Bonaire - Antriol, Nikiboko, Nort Saliña, Playa, Rincon and Tera Korá.
Vexillologist Whitney Smith was involved in developing the flag's design.Flag of Saba
The flag of Saba was adopted on December 6, 1985 (national day of the island). 130 different designs were presented to the Commission. The chosen flag was designed by an 18-year-old Saban named Edmond Daniel Johnson.Saba accepted Dutch sovereignty after 1816 and used the Dutch flag. However, since some islanders considered Saba a "republic", they added a special symbol – a green cabbage — to emphasize their independence, and this symbol was used probably until about the 1920s.Flag of Sint Eustatius
The flag of Sint Eustatius was adopted on 16 November 2004 (Statia Day). The island's flag was designed by Zuwena Suares.Flag of the Netherlands
The flag of the Netherlands (Dutch: vlag van Nederland) is a horizontal tricolour of red, white, and blue. The current design originates as a variant of the late 16th century orange-white-blue Prinsenvlag ("Prince's Flag"), evolving in the early 17th century as the red-white-blue Statenvlag ("States Flag"), the naval flag of the States-General of the Dutch Republic, making the Dutch flag perhaps the oldest tricolour flag in continuous use. It has inspired the seminal Russian and French flags.
During the economic crisis of 1930s the old Prince's Flag with the colour orange gained some popularity among some people. To end the confusion, the colours red, white and blue and its official status as the national flag of the Kingdom of the Netherlands were reaffirmed by royal decree on 19 February 1937.Football in Bonaire
The sport of association football in the island of Bonaire is run by the Bonaire Football Federation. The association administers the national football team, as well as the Bonaire League.List of mountains and hills in the Netherlands
The following is a list of mountains and hills in the Netherlands.
Mount Scenery (887 metres; 2,910 ft; in the Caribbean Netherlands)
The Quill (601 metres; 1,972 ft; in the Caribbean Netherlands)
Vaalserberg (322.7 metres; 1,059 ft)Mount Scenery
Mount Scenery is a potentially active volcano in the Caribbean Netherlands. Its lava dome forms the summit of the Saba island stratovolcano. At an elevation of 887 m (2,910 ft), it is the highest point in both the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and, since the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, the highest point in the Netherlands proper.
The Saba volcano is potentially dangerous; the latest eruption was in or around the year 1640 and included explosions and pyroclastic flows.Postage stamps and postal history of the Caribbean Netherlands
The three public bodies of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba started issuing postal stamps after the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010. The islands form a separate postage region under the name Caribisch Nederland (English: Caribbean Netherlands).
The first stamp issued showed the maps of the three islands. Stamps of similar design were issued in the other newly formed postage regions of Sint Maarten and Curaçao.The value of the current stamp is denominated in Netherlands Antillean guilders, but is expected to be replaced by US-dollar denominated stamps in 2011 when the legal currency of the islands changes. As of June 2011, new stamps are being issued by Post in US dollars. As of January 2014, Flamingo Communications N.V. has taken over postal services on the BES islands of the Dutch Caribbean.Postal codes in the Netherlands
Postal codes in the Netherlands, known as postcodes, are alphanumeric, consisting of four digits followed by two uppercase letters. The letters 'F', 'I', 'O', 'Q', 'U' and 'Y' were originally not used for technical reasons, but almost all existing combinations are now used as these letters were allowed for new locations starting 2005. The letter combinations 'SS', 'SD' and 'SA' are not used because of their associations with the Nazi occupation of the Netherlands.
The first two digits indicate a city and a region, the second two digits and the two letters indicate a range of house numbers, usually on the same street. Consequently, a postal address is uniquely defined by the postal code and the house number. On average, a Dutch postal code comprises eight single addresses.
1000 AP AmsterdamSame-sex marriage in the Netherlands
Same-sex marriage in the Netherlands has been legal since 1 April 2001. The Netherlands was the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage.Telephone numbers in Curaçao and the Caribbean Netherlands
Country Code: +599International Call Prefix: 00
The country code +599 was assigned to the Netherlands Antilles (dissolved in 2010), and is now in use by Curaçao and the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba).
Aruba and Sint Maarten, also former parts of the Netherlands Antilles, discontinued using the code in 1986 and 2011 respectively. Aruba now uses country code +297, and Sint Maarten uses the North American Numbering Plan (NANP) country code +1 with area code 721.Telephone numbers in the Netherlands
Telephone numbers in the Netherlands are administered by the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation of the Netherlands and may be grouped into three general categories: geographical numbers, non-geographical numbers, and numbers for public services.
Geographical telephone numbers are sequences of 9 digits (0-9) and consist of an area code of two or three digits and a subscriber number of seven or six digits, respectively. When dialled within the country, the number must be prefixed with the trunk access code 0, identifying a destination telephone line in the Dutch telephone network.
Non-geographical numbers have no fixed length, but also required the dialling of the trunk access code (0). They are used for mobile telephone networks and other designated service types, such as toll-free dialling, Internet access, voice over IP, restricted audiences, and information resources.
In addition, special service numbers exist for emergency response, directory assistance, and other services by the public authorities.Vehicle registration plates of the Caribbean Netherlands
The Caribbean Netherlands requires its residents to register their motor vehicles and display vehicle registration plates. Current plates are North American standard 6 × 12 inches (152 × 300 mm). Some plates start with different letters, sometimes similar to plates of the Netherlands: V for commercial vehicles, TX for taxi, D for governmental vehicles, AB for buses.Visa policy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean
A common visa exists since the end of 2010 for the territories of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten (landen (English: countries) within the Kingdom) and the Caribbean Netherlands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, which are part of the country the Netherlands) which form together the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean. The visa is not valid for the European part of the Netherlands, which is part of the Schengen Area.
Special municipalities of the Netherlands
Outlying territories of European countries
Territories under European sovereignty but closer to or on continents other than Europe (see inclusion criteria for further information).