The Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch: Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; pronounced [ˈkoːnɪŋkrɛiɡ dɛr ˈneːdərlɑndə(n)] (listen)),[nb 2] commonly known as the Netherlands,[nb 3] is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with the large majority of its territory in Western Europe and with several small island territories in the Caribbean Sea, in the West Indies islands (Leeward Islands and Lesser Antilles).
The four parts of the kingdom—the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten—are constituent countries (landen in Dutch) and participate on a basis of equality as partners in the kingdom. In practice, however, most of the kingdom's affairs are administered by the Netherlands—which comprises roughly 98% of the kingdom's land area and population—on behalf of the entire kingdom. Consequently, the Caribbean Sea islands countries of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten are dependent on the Netherlands for matters like foreign policy and defence, although they are autonomous to a certain degree, with their own parliaments.
The vast majority in land area of the constituent country of the Netherlands is located in Europe, with the exception of the Caribbean Netherlands: its three special municipalities (Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius) are located in the Caribbean Sea like the other three constituent countries.
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Koninkrijk der Nederlanden (Dutch)
Anthem: "Wilhelmus" (Dutch)
and largest city
|Government seat||The Hague[b]|
|Official languages||Dutch (de facto)[c]|
|Official regional languages|
|Recognised regional languages|
|Countries (non‑sovereign parts)|
|Government||Semi-federal parliamentary constitutional monarchy|
|Independence from Spanish Netherlands|
|26 July 1581 (Declared)|
30 January 1648 (Recognised)
|19 January 1795|
|5 June 1806|
• Annexation by First French Empire
|1 July 1810|
|16 March 1815|
• Secession of Belgium
|4 October 1830 (Declared)|
19 April 1839 (Recognised)
|15 December 1954|
|42,508 km2 (16,412 sq mi) (136th)|
• Water (%)
• 2017-2018 estimate
|414/km2 (1,072.3/sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC-4 (CET (UTC+1)|
• Summer (DST)
|UTC-4 (CEST (UTC+2)|
|ISO 3166 code||NL|
The Kingdom of the Netherlands originated in the aftermath of French Emperor Napoleon I's defeat in 1815. In the year 1815, the Netherlands regained its independence from France under its First French Empire, which had annexed its northern neighbor in 1810, as the Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands. The great powers of Europe, united against Napoleonic France, had decided in the secret treaty of the London Protocol to establish a single state in the territories that were previously the Dutch Republic/Batavian Republic/Kingdom of Holland, the Austrian Netherlands and the Prince-Bishopric of Liège, awarding rule over this to William, Prince of Orange and Nassau, although the southern territories remained under Prussian (German) rule until Napoleon's return from his first exile on Elba ("Hundred Days").
In March 1815, amidst the turmoil of the Hundred Days, the Sovereign Prince William of Orange and Nassau adopted the style of "King of the Netherlands". Following Napoleon's second defeat at the Battle of Waterloo in June 1815, the Vienna Congress supplied international recognition of William's unilateral move. The new King of the Netherlands was also made Grand Duke of Luxembourg, a part of the Kingdom that was, at the same time, a member state of the German Confederation.
In 1830, Belgium seceded from the Kingdom, a step that was recognised by the Netherlands only in 1839. At that point, Luxembourg became a fully independent country in a personal union with the Netherlands. Luxembourg also lost more than half of its territory to Belgium. To compensate the German Confederation for that loss, the remainder of the Dutch province of Limburg received the same status that Luxembourg had enjoyed before, as a Dutch province that at the same time formed a Duchy of the German Confederation. That status was reversed when the German Confederation ceased to exist in 1867, replaced by the Prussian-led North German Confederation briefly until the proclamation of a unified German Empire in 1871; and, at that point (1867), Limburg reverted to its status as an ordinary Dutch province.
The origin of the administrative reform of 1954 was the 1931 Statute of Westminster and the 1941 Atlantic Charter (stating the right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live, and the desire for a permanent system of general security), which was signed by the Netherlands on 1 January 1942. Changes were proposed in the 7 December 1942 radio speech by Queen Wilhelmina. In this speech, the Queen, on behalf of the Dutch government in exile in London, expressed a desire to review the relations between the Netherlands and its colonies after the end of the war. After liberation, the government would call a conference to agree on a settlement in which the overseas territories could participate in the administration of the Kingdom on the basis of equality. Initially, this speech had propaganda purposes; the Dutch government had the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia) in mind, and hoped to appease public opinion in the United States, which had become skeptical towards colonialism.
After Indonesia became independent, a federal construction was considered too heavy, as the economies of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were insignificant compared to that of the Netherlands. By the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, as enacted in 1954, a composite state was created, also known as the "Tripartite Kingdom of the Netherlands", consisting of the Netherlands (mainland), Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. Under the provisions of the Charter, both former colonies were granted internal autonomy. Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles each got a Minister Plenipotentiary based in the Netherlands, who had the right to participate in Dutch cabinet meetings when it discussed affairs that applied to the Kingdom as a whole, when these affairs pertained directly to Suriname or the Netherlands Antilles. Delegates of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles could participate in sessions of the First and Second Chamber of the States General. An overseas member could be added to the Council of State when appropriate. According to the Charter, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were also allowed to alter their "Basic Law"s (Staatsregeling). The right of the two autonomous countries to leave the Kingdom, unilaterally, was not recognised; yet it also stipulated that the Charter could be dissolved by mutual consultation.
Before the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was proclaimed in 1954, Suriname, Netherlands New Guinea, and the Netherlands Antilles, formerly "Colony of Curaçao and subordinates" (Kolonie Curaçao en Onderhorige Eilanden) were colonies of the Netherlands.
Suriname was a constituent country within the Kingdom from 1954 to 1975, while the Netherlands Antilles were a constituent country from 1954 until 2010. Suriname has since become an independent republic, and the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved into the constituent countries: Aruba (since 1986), Curaçao and Sint Maarten (since 2010), and the special municipalities of the Netherlands proper, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba. Netherlands New Guinea was a dependent territory of the Kingdom until 1962, but was not an autonomous country, and was not mentioned in the Charter.
In 1955, Queen Juliana and Prince Bernhard visited Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles. The visit was a great success. The royal couple were welcomed enthusiastically by the local population, and the trip was widely reported in the Dutch press. Several other royal visits were to follow.
In 1969, an unorganised strike on the Antillean island of Curaçao resulted in serious disturbances and looting, during which a part of the historic city centre of Willemstad was destroyed by fire. Order was restored by Dutch marines. In the same year, Suriname saw serious political instability with the Surinamese prime minister, Jopie Pengel, threatening to request military support to break a teachers' strike.
In 1973, a new Dutch cabinet under Labour leader Joop den Uyl assumed power. In the government policy statement, the cabinet declared a wish to determine a date for the independence of Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles with the government of those nations. The Antillean government was non-committal; the same held for the Surinamese Sedney cabinet (1969–1973). The Suriname 1973 elections brought the National Party Combination (Nationale Partij Kombinatie) to power, with Henck Arron as its prime minister. The new government declared on its instatement that Suriname would be independent before 1976. This was remarkable, as independence had not been an issue during the election campaign. The Den Uyl government in The Hague now had a willing partner in Paramaribo to realise its plans for Surinamese independence. Despite vehement and emotional resistance by the Surinamese opposition, Den Uyl and Arron reached an agreement, and on 25 November 1975, Suriname became independent.
In January 1986, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles, becoming a constituent country of the Kingdom in its own right. In October 2010, the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved, leaving Curaçao and Sint Maarten to become the newest constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands currently consists of four constituent countries: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. Note that there is a difference between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Netherlands: the Kingdom of the Netherlands is the comprehensive sovereign state, while the Netherlands is one of its four countries. Three islands in the Caribbean Sea (Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten) each form one of the three remaining constituent countries. Three other Caribbean islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba) are special municipalities within the country of the Netherlands. Until its dissolution in 2010, the islands formed the Netherlands Antilles, with the exception of Aruba, which left the grouping in 1986.
|Sint Eustatius †‡||3,250||0.02%||21||0.05%||155|||
|Sint Maarten †||40,535||0.23%||34||0.08%||1,192|||
|Kingdom of the Netherlands||17,610,262||100.00%||42,525||100.00%||414|
|† Formed part of the former Netherlands Antilles.|
‡ Forms part of the Caribbean Netherlands.
The Netherlands is a representative parliamentary democracy organised as a unitary state. Its administration consists of the Monarch and the Council of Ministers, which is headed by a Prime Minister. The people are represented by the States General of the Netherlands, which consists of a House of Representatives and a Senate. The Netherlands is divided into 12 provinces: Drenthe, Flevoland, Friesland, Gelderland, Groningen, Limburg, Noord-Brabant, Noord-Holland, Overijssel, Utrecht, Zeeland, and Zuid-Holland. The provinces are divided into municipalities. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands is Mark Rutte. The Netherlands has the euro as its currency, except in the special municipalities of the Caribbean Netherlands (BES islands), where the Netherlands Antillean guilder was replaced by the US dollar in 2011.
The special municipalities of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba (referred to as Caribbean Netherlands or BES islands) are part of the Netherlands proper but do not form part of a province. They resemble ordinary Dutch municipalities in most ways (with a mayor, aldermen, and a municipal council, for example) and are subject to the ordinary Dutch legislative process. Residents of these three islands are also able to vote in Dutch national and European elections. There are, however, some derogations for these islands. Social security, for example, is not on the same level as it is in the Netherlands proper. In November 2008 it was decided to introduce the U.S. dollar in the three islands. The date of introduction was 1 January 2011. The Netherlands carries the risk of exchange rate fluctuations regarding cash flows between the state and the islands.
Aruba, with its own constitution, is a representative parliamentary democracy organised as a unitary state. Its administration consists of the Governor, who represents the Monarch, and of the (Aruban) Council of Ministers, headed by a Prime Minister. The sovereign people of Aruba are represented by 21 parliamentarians in the Parliament of Aruba. The Governor of Aruba is Alfonso Boekhoudt, and the Prime Minister is Evelyn Wever-Croes. It has its own Central Bank and currency, the Aruban florin, linked to the US dollar; the US dollar is accepted almost everywhere on the island. The country of Aruba has two official languages: its own national language Papiamento and the Kingdom of the Netherlands' Dutch language.
Sint Maarten is a centralised unitary state, with similar administrative characteristics to Aruba. It has the Antillean Guilder as its currency. Unlike the other Dutch Caribbean countries and special municipalities, Sint Maarten covers only part of an island. It consists of roughly the southern half of the divided island of Saint Martin. The northern half of the island is the French Collectivity of Saint Martin.
Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten regulate the governance of their respective countries, but are subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands is ruled by the provisions and institutions of the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands that also constitutes and regulates the institutions of the Kingdom that are mentioned in the Charter. The Constitution is also subordinate to the Charter. The provisions in the Charter for some of these institutions are additional and are applicable only for those affairs of the Kingdom, as described in the Charter, when they affect Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten directly. In cases where affairs of the Kingdom do not affect Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten, they are dealt with according to the provisions laid down in the Constitution. In these cases the Netherlands acts alone, according to its constitution and in its capacity as the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The other three countries cannot do the same for affairs of the Kingdom that only pertain to them and not to the Netherlands proper. In these cases, the provisions of the Charter prevail.
Changes in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands can only be made when all constituent countries agree.
The Monarch and the ministers he appoints form the Government of the Kingdom. According to Article 7 of the Charter, the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands complemented by one Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba, one Minister Plenipotentiary of Curaçao, and one Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten. The Dutch Prime Minister chairs the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom.
In December 2007, a Deputy Council for Kingdom Relations was established. This deputy council prepares the meetings of the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom. The establishment of such a Council has long been advocated by the Council of State of the Kingdom.
The Government and the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom, along with the monarchy itself, are subject to Article 5 of the Charter that refers their regulation mainly to the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands as far as the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands does not provide for that. The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom is however a separate institution from the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands.
Two legal instruments are available at the Kingdom level: the Kingdom act (Dutch: Rijkswet) and the Order-in-Council for the Kingdom (Dutch: Algemene maatregel van Rijksbestuur). An example of a Kingdom act is the "Kingdom Act regarding Dutch citizenship" (Dutch: Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap).
The Monarch of the Netherlands is the head of state of the Kingdom. The Monarch is represented in Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten by a governor.
The legislature of the Kingdom consists of the States General of the Netherlands and the Government. Articles 14, 16 and 17 of the Charter give some participation to the parliaments of the Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.
Article 13 of the Charter specifies that there is a Council of State of the Kingdom. It is (as all institutions of the Kingdom) regulated in the Constitution, but the Charter implies that at the request of Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten, a member from each of these islands can be included in the Council of State. Aruba is currently exercising this right. This has not always been the case; the Netherlands Antilles had no member until 1987 and Aruba had none until 2000. Sint Maarten's first member of the Council of State will be former Lieutenant Governor Dennis Richardson.
The Hoge Raad der Nederlanden is the supreme court of the Kingdom by virtue of the Cassation regulation for the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The basis for this regulation is article 23 of the Charter. The second paragraph of that article specifies that if an overseas country of the Kingdom so request, the Kingdom Act should provide for an additional court member from that country. To date, neither Aruba, Curaçao, nor Sint Maarten has used this right.
According to Article 39 of the Charter, "civil and commercial law, the law of civil procedure, criminal law, the law of criminal procedure, copyright, industrial property, the office of notary, and provisions concerning weights and measures shall be regulated as far as possible in a similar manner in the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten". The Article further stipulates that when a drastic amendment of the existing legislation in regard to these matters is proposed, the proposal shall not be submitted to or considered by a representative assembly until the Governments in the other countries have had the opportunity to express their views on the matter.
In case of a conflict between a constituent country and the Kingdom, Article 12 of the Charter prescribes an administrative reconciliation procedure. This was often deemed a democratic deficit of the Kingdom, leading to the adoption of an amendment to the Charter, which entered into force on 10 October 2010. The new Article 12a specifies that in addition to the administrative reconciliation procedure, "by Kingdom Act measures shall be made allowing for the arbitration of certain conflicts, as specified by Kingdom Act, between the Kingdom and the countries." The imperative formulation was the result of an amendment in the Chamber of Representatives by special delegates Evelyna Wever-Croes and J.E. Thijsen of Aruba; the original formulation was "by Kingdom Act measures can be made".
The new Article 38a allows for measures to be made for arbitration between countries as well. In contrast with Article 12a, this article is not imperatively formulated.
Article 3 of the Charter specifies the Affairs of the Kingdom:
One additional Kingdom affair is specified in article 43(2):
Paragraph 2 of Article 3 specifies that "other matters may be declared to be Kingdom affairs in consultation".
These Kingdom affairs are only taken care of by the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, if the affair affects Aruba, Curaçao or St. Maarten. Article 14, paragraph 3, of the Charter, foresees the handling of Kingdom affairs in all other cases by the Netherlands.
On the basis of Article 38, the countries of the Kingdom can decide to adopt a Kingdom Act outside of the scope of the aforementioned Kingdom affairs. Such acts are referred to as Consensus Kingdom Acts, as they require the consent of the parliaments of Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten.
The Kingdom negotiates and concludes international treaties and agreements. Those that do not affect Aruba, Curaçao, and / or Sint Maarten directly, are dealt with by the provisions of the Constitution (in fact by the Netherlands alone). Article 24 of the Charter specifies that when an international treaty or agreement affects Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten, the treaty or agreement concerned shall be submitted to the representative assemblies of Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten. The article further specifies that when such a treaty or agreement is submitted for the tacit approval of the States General of the Netherlands (Dutch: Staten-Generaal der Nederlanden), the Ministers Plenipotentiary may communicate their wish that the treaty or agreement concerned shall be subject to the express approval of the States General.
Article 25 gives Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten the opportunity to opt out from an international treaty or agreement. The treaty or agreement concerned then has to specify that the treaty or agreement does not apply to Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten.
Article 26 specifies that when Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten communicate their wish for the conclusion of an international economic or financial agreement that applies solely to the country concerned, the Government of the Kingdom shall assist in the conclusion of such an agreement, unless this would be inconsistent with the country's ties with the Kingdom.
Article 27 specifies the involvement of Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten in the preparations for a treaty or agreement that affects them and Article 28 specifies that Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten may, if they so desire, accede to membership of international organisations.
Most scholars agree that it is difficult to group the constitutional arrangements of the Kingdom in one of the traditional models of state organisation, and consider the Kingdom to be a sui generis arrangement. Instead, the Kingdom is said to have characteristics of a federal state, a confederation, a federacy, and a devolved unitary state.
The Kingdom's federal characteristics include the delineation of Kingdom affairs in the Charter, the enumeration of the constituting parts of the Kingdom in the Charter, the fact that the Charter subordinates the law of the constituting countries to the law of the Kingdom, the establishment of Kingdom institutions in the Charter, and the fact that the Kingdom has its own legislative instruments: the Kingdom act and the Order-in-Council for the Kingdom. Its confederal characteristics include the fact that the Charter can only be amended by consensus among the constituent countries; in most ordinary federations, the federal institutions themselves can change the constitution.
Characteristics that point more or less to a federacy include the fact that the functioning of the institutions of the Kingdom is governed by the Constitution of the Netherlands where the Charter does not provide for them. The Charter also does not provide a procedure for the enactment of Kingdom acts; articles 81 to 88 of the Constitution of the Netherlands also apply for Kingdom acts, be it with some additions and corrections stipulated in articles 15 to 22 of the Charter. The only Kingdom institution that requires the participation of the Caribbean countries in a mandatory way is the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom; both the Supreme Court and the Council of State of the Kingdom only include Caribbean members if one or more Caribbean countries ask for it, and the Caribbean countries are almost completely excluded from participating in the Kingdom's legislature. They can, however, participate in the drafting of a Kingdom act and their Ministers Plenipotentiary can oppose a Kingdom act otherwise supported by the Kingdom government in front of the Kingdom's parliament. Furthermore, according to article 15 of the Charter, the Ministers Plenipotentiary can request the Kingdom parliament to introduce a draft Kingdom act.
Last, but not least, the Netherlands can, according to article 14 of the Charter, conduct Kingdom affairs on its own if conducting such affairs does not affect Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten. Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten do not have this right.
A characteristic that points to a devolved unitary state is the ability of the Kingdom government, according to article 50 of the Charter, to render a legislative or administrative measure of one of the Caribbean countries void if it is inconsistent with the Charter, an international agreement, a Kingdom act, an Order-in-Council for the Kingdom, or if it regulates an otherwise Kingdom affair.
The constitutional structure of the Kingdom is summarised by constitutional scholar C. Borman, in an often-cited definition, as follows:
a voluntary association of autonomous countries in a sovereign Kingdom that is placed above them, in which the institutions of the Kingdom largely coincide with the institutions of the largest country, in which on the level of the Kingdom only a few affairs are governed, and in which from the level of the Kingdom a limited influence can be exerted on the smaller countries.
Constitutional scholar C. A. J. M. Kortmann speaks of an "association of countries that has characteristics of a federation, yet one of its own kind." Belinfante and De Reede do speak about a "federal association" without any reservations.
Despite being of a sui juris constitutional nature, some other states have similar properties. In particular, the Kingdom of Denmark consists of Denmark, Greenland, and the Faroe Islands, while the Realm of New Zealand consists of North Island, South Island, the Cook Islands, Niue, Tokelau, and the Ross Dependency. These comparisons are not exact; for instance, aside from the Queen of New Zealand, there is no constitutional structure shared between New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Niue.
Other states also have multiple territories, but such territories are distinct. Some states, such as the United Kingdom and its overseas territories, as well as the United States and its insular areas, do not consider their external territories as integral parts of the state.
Other states, such as the Commonwealth of Australia, do treat their external territories as integral components, but have only one country/nationality level equivalent to the state.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a founding member state of the European Union. Although originally both Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles were explicitly excluded from association with the European Economic Community by means of a special protocol attached to the Treaty of Rome, the status of Suriname as an overseas country (OCT) of the Community was established by a Supplementary Act completing the instrument of ratification of the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 1 September 1962. The Convention on the association of the Netherlands Antilles with the European Economic Community entered into force on 1 October 1964, signalling the attainment of OCT status by the Netherlands Antilles. Suriname is now an independent republic and a sovereign country, outside the EU. The Antilles have been dissolved.
The Caribbean islands, including the BES islands that are part of the Netherlands proper, are OCTs. Since citizenship is a Kingdom affair, and is thus not distinguished for the four countries, citizens from all four countries are also citizens of the European Union. However, these territories are not part of the European Union.
In 2004, a joint commission proposed major reforms for the Netherlands Antilles. On 11 October and 2 November 2006, agreements were signed between the Dutch government and the governments of each island that would put into effect the commission's findings by 15 December 2008. The reform took effect on 10 October 2010. Under these reforms, the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved and Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, obtaining the same status as Aruba which seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986.
The BES islands (i.e., Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius) became direct parts of the Netherlands, which is itself the major constituent country of the Kingdom. As special municipalities, they were constituted as "public bodies" (Dutch: openbare lichamen) under the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands. These municipalities resemble ordinary Dutch municipalities in most ways (e.g., they will have mayors, aldermen, and municipal councils) and will have to introduce most laws of the Netherlands. As a transitional measure, only law applicable to the Netherlands that is considered to be necessary to function within the legal system of the Netherlands was introduced, and most laws of the Netherlands Antilles remained in force when the BES islands they joined the Netherlands on 10 October 2010. Since that date, Dutch legislation is projected to slowly replace Netherlands Antilles laws. Nevertheless, some derogations will persist: e.g., social security will not be on the same level as in the European part of the Netherlands, and it is uncertain whether the islands will introduce the euro.
The special municipalities will be represented in the affairs of the Kingdom by the Netherlands, as they can vote for the Dutch parliament. The current Dutch voting law specifies that the Senate is to be chosen by the provinces; however, the BES islands currently are not part of any province, and it is as yet unsure how they will elect members in the Senate. The Dutch government has guaranteed that the people on the islands will be able to elect Senate members, and is considering options for this.
The Netherlands has proposed to conducted a study on the BES islands acquiring the status of Outermost Regions (OMR), also called Ultra Peripheral Regions (UPR). The study would also look into how the islands would fare under UPR status.
Outside the Kingdom of the Netherlands, "Netherlands" is used as the English short-form name to describe the Kingdom of the Netherlands. At the United Nations, for example, the Kingdom is identified in the General Assembly by its English short-form name "Netherlands", whereas the English long-form name "Kingdom of the Netherlands" may be used in place of the name "Netherlands" in formal UN documentation. International treaties, also, frequently shorten "Kingdom of the Netherlands" to "Netherlands". The Dutch name that is commonly used is Nederland, which is a singular form, whereas the official Dutch name Koninkrijk der Nederlanden like the English "(Kingdom of the) Netherlands", uses the plural form. In Dutch practice, however, "Kingdom of the Netherlands" is shortened to "Kingdom" and not to "Netherlands", as the latter name could be confused with the Kingdom's principal constituent country rather than with the Kingdom in its Charter capacity.[nb 5] The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands also shortens "Kingdom of the Netherlands" to "Kingdom" rather than to "Netherlands".
Apart from the fact that referring to the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the "Netherlands" can be confusing, the term "Kingdom" is also used to prevent any feelings of ill will that could be associated with the use of the term "Netherlands." The use of the term "Netherlands" for the Kingdom as a whole might imply that Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten are not equal to the Kingdom's country in Europe and that the three island countries have no say in affairs pertaining to the Kingdom but are instead subordinate to the European country. Though the influence of the islands in Kingdom affairs is limited, it certainly exists.
Talking about the negotiation tactics of then Minister for Kingdom Affairs Alexander Pechtold, ChristenUnie leader and then demissionair Deputy Prime Minister of the Netherlands André Rouvoet illustrated the sensitivity in this matter by remarking in the House of Representatives that "[...] the old reproof that constantly characterised the relationship between the Netherlands and the Antilles immediately surfaced again. The Netherlands identifies the Kingdom with the Netherlands and dictates. The Netherlands Antilles can like it or lump it." In addition, the Werkgroep Bestuurlijke en Financiële Verhoudingen Nederlandse Antillen—the commission that explored the current constitutional reform of the Kingdom—recommended that the "identification of the Netherlands with the Kingdom needs to be eliminated". The Council of State of the Kingdom joins the commission in this by remarking that the Kingdom of the Netherlands has no telephone number, no budget and that the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom usually meets very briefly with a summary agenda. To counter this habit, the Council of State has suggested that with the pending constitutional reform in the Kingdom, a Secretariat for the Kingdom will be instituted that prepares the agenda for the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom and guards the enforcement of decisions of the Council.
About one quarter of the Netherlands lies below sea level, as much land has been reclaimed from the sea. Dikes were erected to protect the land from flooding. Previously, the highest point of the Netherlands was the Vaalserberg in Limburg at only 322.7 m (1,059 ft), but with the constitutional reform of 10 October 2010 this changed as Saba became part of the Netherlands as a special municipality, and its Mount Scenery (887 m; 2,910 ft) took the place of the Vaalserberg.
The Caribbean parts of the Kingdom consist of two zones with different geographic origins. The Leeward Islands (Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten) are all of volcanic origin and hilly, leaving little ground suitable for agriculture. The Windward Islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) have a mixed volcanic and coral origin.
The Caribbean islands have a tropical climate, with warm weather all year round. The Windward Islands are subject to hurricanes in the summer months. The European part of the Netherlands has a moderate maritime climate, with cool summers and mild winters.
|1954–1975||Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands signed|
|1975–1986||Suriname gained independence and became the Republic of Suriname|
|1986–2010||Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles to become a constituent country in its own right|
|2010–present||The Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. Curaçao and Sint Maarten became constituent countries, while the BES Islands became special municipalities of the 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)
Hoewel Minister De Grave er wat ons betreft meer vaart achter had mogen zetten, had hij onmiskenbaar de goede richting te pakken én, dat is in Koninkrijkszaken cruciaal, de goede toon. Zijn opvolger, Minister Pechtold, bleek die broodnodige prudentie te ontberen met als dieptepunt zijn brief van 24 augustus waarin hij staatkundige veranderingen afhankelijk maakte van financiële verbeteringen. Het oude verwijt dat steeds de relatie tussen Nederland en de Antillen heeft gekenmerkt, speelde onmiddellijk weer op. Nederland vereenzelvigt het Koninkrijk met Nederland en dicteert. De Nederlandse Antillen moeten slikken of stikken. Gevolg: ergernis in de West, verstoorde verhoudingen en verlies van momentum; geen frisse wind, maar meer een storm in de Caribische porseleinkast. Het zal allemaal wel te maken hebben met de behoefte van deze minister om te zeggen wat hij denkt en heilige huisjes niet te sparen, maar echt behulpzaam voor de verhoudingen in het Koninkrijk is het niet.
Aanbevelingen Koninkrijk "Nieuwe Stijl": [...] 7. De vereenzelviging van Nederland met het Koninkrijk wordt doorbroken.
Het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden heeft geen adres of telefoonnummer en al evenmin een eigen budget. Als het Koninkrijk wordt gebeld, krijgt men Nederland aan de lijn. De relaties binnen het Koninkrijk zijn vooral een dynamisch onderhandelingsproces. Een democratisch gelegitimeerd centrum ontbreekt. Het duidelijkst geldt dit voor de rijksministerraad, die gewoonlijk slechts zeer kortstondig beraadslaagt, met een zeer summiere agenda en met weinig discussie over de koers van het Koninkrijk als geheel. Voor de voorbereiding is de raad vrijwel geheel afhankelijk van (voorbereidend) overleg tussen vertegenwoordigers van de drie landsregeringen.
Aruba ( ə-ROO-bə; Dutch: [aːˈrubaː]; Papiamento: [aˈruba]) is an island and a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the southern Caribbean Sea, located about 1,600 kilometres (990 mi) west of the main part of the Lesser Antilles and 29 kilometres (18 mi) north of the coast of Venezuela. It measures 32 kilometres (20 mi) long from its northwestern to its southeastern end and 10 kilometres (6 mi) across at its widest point. Together with Bonaire and Curaçao, Aruba forms a group referred to as the ABC islands. Collectively, Aruba and the other Dutch islands in the Caribbean are often called the Dutch Caribbean.
Aruba is one of the four countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands, along with the Netherlands, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten; the citizens of these countries are all Dutch nationals. Aruba has no administrative subdivisions, but, for census purposes, is divided into eight regions. Its capital is Oranjestad.
Unlike much of the Caribbean region, Aruba has a dry climate and an arid, cactus-strewn landscape. This climate has helped tourism as visitors to the island can reliably expect warm, sunny weather. It has a land area of 179 km2 (69.1 sq mi) and is densely populated, with a total of 102,484 inhabitants at the 2010 Census. It lies outside Hurricane Alley.Belgian Revolution
The Belgian Revolution (French: Révolution belge, Dutch: Belgische Revolutie/opstand/omwenteling) was the conflict which led to the secession of the southern provinces (mainly the former Southern Netherlands) from the United Kingdom of the Netherlands and the establishment of an independent Kingdom of Belgium.
The people of the south were mainly Dutch-speaking Flemings and French-speaking Walloons. Both peoples were traditionally Roman Catholic as contrasted with the largely Protestant (Dutch Reformed) people of the north. Many outspoken liberals regarded King William I's rule as despotic. There were high levels of unemployment and industrial unrest among the working classes.On 25 August 1830, riots erupted in Brussels and shops were looted. Theatregoers who had just watched the nationalistic opera La muette de Portici joined the mob. Uprisings followed elsewhere in the country. Factories were occupied and machinery destroyed. Order was restored briefly after William committed troops to the Southern Provinces but rioting continued and leadership was taken up by radicals, who started talking of secession.Dutch units saw the mass desertion of recruits from the southern provinces and pulled out. The States-General in Brussels voted in favour of secession and declared independence. In the aftermath, a National Congress was assembled. King William refrained from future military action and appealed to the Great Powers. The resulting 1830 London Conference of major European powers recognized Belgian independence. Following the installation of Leopold I as "King of the Belgians" in 1831, King William made a belated attempt to reconquer Belgium and restore his position through a military campaign. This "Ten Days' Campaign" failed because of French military intervention. Not until 1839 did the Dutch accept the decision of the London conference and Belgian independence by signing the Treaty of London.Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands (in Dutch: Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; in Papiamentu: Statuut pa e Reino di Hulanda) describes the political relationship between the four countries that constitute the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean and the Netherlands (for the most part) in Europe. It is the leading legal document of the Kingdom. The Constitution of the Netherlands and the Basic Laws of the three other countries are legally subordinate to the Charter.Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom (Dutch: Ministerraad van het Koninkrijk or Rijksministerraad) is the executive council of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which is a state consisting of four constituent countries: Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten. The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom consists of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands complemented by one Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba, one Minister Plenipotentiary of Curaçao, and one Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands chairs the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom. Together with the King, the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom forms the Government of the Kingdom, also known as the Crown.
A significant difference between the Netherlands Ministers and the Ministers Plenipotentiary is that the former Ministers are accountable for their politics and policies to the Dutch parliament. The Ministers Plenipotentiary, however, are accountable to their national governments. Therefore, the Ministers Plenipotentiary usually do not resign in the event of a Dutch cabinet crisis.Though the Kingdom of the Netherlands is statutorily distinguished from the Netherlands, and therefore the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom is a distinct body from the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands it is often perceived as being the same body, since the Netherlands is by far the most powerful of the four countries in federal affairs.
Laws applicable to the whole Kingdom are known as Kingdom Acts. An example of such a law is the "Kingdom Act regarding Dutch citizenship" (Dutch: Rijkswet op het Nederlanderschap).Curaçao
Curaçao (; Dutch: Curaçao, pronounced [kyːraːˈsʌu, kuː-]; Papiamento: Kòrsou, pronounced [ˈkorsou]) is a Lesser Antilles island in the southern Caribbean Sea and the Dutch Caribbean region, about 65 km (40 mi) north of the Venezuelan coast. It is a constituent country (Dutch: land) of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The country was formerly part of the Curaçao and Dependencies colony (1815–1954) and is now formally called the Country of Curaçao (Dutch: Land Curaçao; Papiamento: Pais Kòrsou); it includes the main island of Curaçao and the uninhabited island of Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao"). Curaçao has a population over 160,000 in an area of 444 km2 (171 sq mi) and its capital is Willemstad.
Before the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles on 10 October 2010, Curaçao was administered as the "Island Territory of Curaçao" (Dutch: Eilandgebied Curaçao, Papiamento: Teritorio Insular di Kòrsou), one of five island territories of the former Netherlands Antilles.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 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.House of Representatives (Netherlands)
The House of Representatives (Dutch: Tweede Kamer der Staten-Generaal, pronounced [ˈtʋeːdə ˈkaːmər dɛr ˈstaːtə(n) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] (listen); commonly referred to as the Tweede Kamer, literally Second Chamber) is the lower house of the bicameral parliament of the Netherlands, the States General, the other one being the Senate. It has 150 seats which are filled through elections using a party-list proportional representation. It sits in the Binnenhof in The Hague.Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten
The Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten (Dutch: Gevolmachtigd Minister van Sint Maarten) represents the constituent country of Sint Maarten in the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The current Minister Plenipotentiary is Jorien Wuite.
A significant difference between the Netherlands Ministers and the Ministers Plenipotentiary is that the former Ministers are accountable for their politics and policies to the Dutch parliament. The Ministers Plenipotentiary, however, are accountable to their national governments. Therefore, the Ministers Plenipotentiary usually do not resign in the event of a Dutch cabinet crisis.Monarchy of the Netherlands
The monarchy of the Netherlands is constitutional and, as such, the role and position of the monarch are defined and limited by the Constitution of the Netherlands. Consequently, a fairly large portion of the Dutch Constitution is devoted to the monarch; roughly a third of the document describes the succession, mechanisms of accession and abdication to the throne, the roles and responsibilities of the monarch and the formalities of communication between the Staten-Generaal and the role of the monarch in the creation of laws.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands has been an independent monarchy since 16 March 1815, but its one-time sovereign provinces have intermittently been "governed" by members of the House of Orange-Nassau and the House of Nassau from 1559 to 1747, since Philip II of Spain appointed William of Orange as stadtholder. William became the leader of the Dutch Revolt and the independent Dutch Republic. As stadtholder, he was followed by several of his descendants. In 1747, the function of stadtholder became a hereditary position in all Provinces of the thus "crowned" Dutch Republic. The last stadtholder was William V. His son became the first king as William I.
The cycle of monarchs is described in the first section of Chapter 2 of the constitution, which is dedicated to the government of the Netherlands.Netherlands Antilles
The Netherlands Antilles (Dutch: Nederlandse Antillen, pronounced [ˌneːdərlɑntsə ʔɑnˈtɪlə(n)] (listen); Papiamentu: Antia Hulandes) was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country consisted of several island territories located in the Caribbean Sea. The islands were also informally known as the Dutch Antilles. The country came into being in 1954 as the autonomous successor of the Dutch colony of Curaçao and Dependencies, and was dissolved in 2010. The former Dutch colony of Surinam, although it was relatively close by on the continent of South America, did not become part of Netherlands Antilles but became a separate autonomous country in 1954. All the island territories that belonged to the Netherlands Antilles remain part of the kingdom today, although the legal status of each differs. As a group they are still commonly called the Dutch Caribbean, regardless of their legal status.Prime Minister of the Netherlands
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands (Dutch: Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands in his capacity as chair of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is de facto the head of government of the Netherlands and coordinates its policy with his cabinet. The current Dutch Prime Minister is Mark Rutte, in office since 2010.Saint Martin
Saint Martin (French: Saint-Martin; Dutch: Sint Maarten) is an island in the northeast Caribbean Sea, approximately 300 km (190 mi) east of Puerto Rico. The 87-square-kilometre (34 sq mi) island is divided roughly 60/40 between the French Republic (53 km2, 20 sq mi) and the Kingdom of the Netherlands (34 km2, 13 sq mi), but the two parts are roughly equal in population. The division dates to 1648. The southern Dutch part comprises Sint Maarten and is one of four constituent countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The northern French part comprises the Collectivity of Saint Martin and is an overseas collectivity of France. Only the French part of the island is part of the European Union.
On 1 January 2009, the population of the whole island was 77,741 inhabitants, with 40,917 living on the Dutch side, and 36,824 on the French side.Collectively, the two territories are known as "St-Martin / St Maarten", or sometimes "SXM", the IATA identifier for Princess Juliana International Airport, the island's main airport. St. Martin (the French portion) received the ISO 3166-1 code MF in October 2007. The Dutch part changed in status to a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 2010 and was given the code SX.Senate (Netherlands)
The Senate (Dutch: Eerste Kamer der Staten-Generaal [ˈeːrstə ˈkaːmər dɛr ˈstaːtə(n) ˌɣeːnəˈraːl] or simply Eerste Kamer [ˈeːrstə ˈkaːmər] (listen), literally "First Chamber", or sometimes Senaat [səˈnaːt]) is the upper house of the States General, the legislature of the Netherlands. Its 75 members are elected on lists by the members of the twelve States-Provincial and three Caribbean electoral colleges for the Senate every four years, within three months of the provincial elections. All provinces and colleges have different electoral weight depending on their population.
Members of the Senate are part-timers who often hold other positions as well. They receive an allowance which is about a quarter of the salary of the members of the lower house. Unlike the politically more significant House of Representatives, it meets only once a week. Its members tend to be veteran politicians or part-time politicians at the national level, often having other roles.
It has the right to accept or reject legislative proposals but not to amend them or to initiate legislation. Directly after a bill has been passed by the House of Representatives, it is sent to the Senate and is submitted to a parliamentary committee. The committee decides whether the bill can be immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber or there should first be preparatory study of the bill. If a bill is immediately put on the agenda of the full chamber, it is passed as a formality without a debate.Sint Maarten
Sint Maarten (Dutch pronunciation: [sɪnt ˈmaːrtə(n)]) is a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean Sea. With a population of 40,120 on an area of 37 km2 (14 sq mi), it encompasses the southern 40% of the divided island of Saint Martin, while the northern 60% of the island constitutes the French overseas collectivity of Saint-Martin, the only place that France borders the Netherlands. Sint Maarten's capital is Philipsburg.
Before 10 October 2010, Sint Maarten was known as the Island Territory of Sint Maarten (Dutch: Eilandgebied Sint Maarten), and was one of five island territories (eilandgebieden) that constituted the Netherlands Antilles.
On 6 and 7 September 2017 the island was hit by Category 5 Hurricane Irma, which caused widespread and significant damage to buildings and infrastructure.
Sint Maarten has the 14th largest GDP per capita in the world (including territories) when measured by purchasing power parity, over three times as high as its French counterpart.States General of the Netherlands
The States General of the Netherlands (Dutch: Staten-Generaal) is the bicameral legislature of the Netherlands consisting of the Senate (Eerste Kamer) and the House of Representatives (Tweede Kamer). Both chambers meet at the Binnenhof in The Hague.
The States General originated in the 15th century as an assembly of all the provincial states of the Burgundian Netherlands. In 1579, during the Dutch Revolt, the States General split as the northern provinces openly rebelled against Philip II, and the northern States General replaced Philip II as the supreme authority of the Dutch Republic in 1581. The States General were replaced by the National Assembly after the Batavian Revolution of 1795, only to be restored in 1814, when the country had regained its sovereignty. The States General was divided into a Senate and a House of Representatives in 1815, with the establishment of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands. After the constitutional amendment of 1848, members of the House of Representatives were directly elected, and the rights of the States General were vastly extended, practically establishing parliamentary democracy in the Netherlands.
Since 1918, the members of the House of Representatives are elected for four years using party-list proportional representation, while the 75 members of the Senate are elected by the States-Provincial every four years. On exceptional occasions, the two houses form a joint session known as the United Assembly. The President of the Senate serves as President of the States General during a United Assembly. Ankie Broekers-Knol (VVD) has been President of the Senate since 2013.Suriname (Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Suriname was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands between 1954 and 1975. The country had full autonomy, except in areas of defence, foreign policy, and nationality, and participated on a basis of equality with the Netherlands Antilles and the Netherlands itself in the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country became fully independent as the Republic of Suriname on 25 November 1975.United Kingdom of the Netherlands
The United Kingdom of the Netherlands (Dutch: Verenigd Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; French: Royaume-Uni des Pays-Bas) is the unofficial name given to the Kingdom of the Netherlands as it existed between 1815 and 1839. The United Netherlands was created in the aftermath of the Napoleonic Wars through the fusion of territories that had belonged to the former Dutch Republic, Austrian Netherlands, and Prince-Bishopric of Liège. The polity was a constitutional monarchy, ruled by William I of the House of Orange-Nassau.
The polity collapsed in 1830 with the outbreak of the Belgian Revolution. With the de facto secession of Belgium, the Netherlands was left as a rump state and refused to recognise Belgian independence until 1839 when the Treaty of London was signed, fixing the border between the two states and guaranteeing Belgian independence and neutrality as the Kingdom of Belgium.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 areas of