Netherlands Antilles (Caribbean) – important dates for your vacation
Area: 960 km² (Curacao 444 km², Bonaire 288 km², Sint Maarten (Dutch part of the island of Saint Martin) 34 km², Sint Eustatius 21 km², Saba 13 km²)
Population: 228,693 (July 2011, CIA). Black and black ancestors 85%, others (indigenous American, Whites, Asians) 15%.
Population density: 238 residents per km²
Population growth: 0.712% per year (2010 estimate, CIA)
Capital: Willemstad (98,340 residents, 2006)
Highest point: Mount Scenery, 862 m
Lowest point: Caribbean, 0 m
Form of government: According to TOP-ENGINEERING-SCHOOLS.ORG, the Netherlands Antilles have been a Dutch overseas territory since 1630, a parliamentary monarchy since 1983, and since 1954 they have been autonomous in internal affairs. The Netherlands Antilles, Aruba and the Netherlands are autonomous regions with internal self-government within the Dutch Kingdom. The Netherlands Antilles send a Minister General Plenipotentiary to the government of the kingdom. Foreign and defense policy are decided by the Dutch Council of Ministers, where the delegated minister of the Netherlands Antilles is also represented. In 1993 and 1994 referendums were held on the islands on remaining in the Federation, and the majority of the population voted in favor. The seat of the government of the Netherlands Antilles is Willemstad on Curaçao. The parliament (states) of the islands is composed of 22 members (Curaçao 14, Sint Maarten 3, Bonaire 3, Sint Eustatius 1, Saba 1) and is responsible for domestic politics. Routine matters are dealt with by the island council under the supervision of the lieutenant governor.
Head of State: King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
Language: The official language in the Netherlands Antilles is Dutch. As a vernacular Papiamento (language with roots in Portuguese, Spanish, West African languages, the native language Arawak, English and Dutch) genutz. Spanish and English are also spoken.
Religion: Catholics (72%), Pentecoastal (4.9%); Protestants (3.5%) Seventh Day Adventists (3.1%), Methodists (2.9%), Jehovah’s Witnesses (1.7%), other Christians (4.2%), Jews (1.3%) , Others (5.2%) (as of 2001).
Local time: CET -5 h.
There is no change between summer and winter time in the Netherlands Antilles.
The time difference to Central Europe is -5 hours in winter and -6 hours in summer.
International phone code: +599
Mains voltage: 110-130 V, 50 Hz
Netherlands Antilles: geography and map
The largest island in the Netherlands Antilles is Curacao. Together with Aruba and Bonaire, it is counted among the so-called ABC islands because of their first letters. The rocky, flat and due to relatively low rainfall relatively barren island is located 56 km to the north of Venezuela. Curacao was formed from a coral reef that formed on an undersea ridge.
To the west of Curacao is the island of Aruba, which was part of the Netherlands Antilles until 1986, in the east the island of Bonaire. Together with Bonaire, Curaçao is geographically counted among the Leeward Islands, while the other three islands belonging to the Netherlands Antilles (Sint Eustatius, Saba and Sint Maarten) belong to the Leeward Islands. In the southeast of Curacao is Klein Curaçao, an uninhabited island that is very popular with divers.
Curaçao is under the direct influence of the northeast trade winds. The air masses bring relatively little precipitation, as the island is too flat for incline rain. This low rainfall does not fall regularly, so that there are no permanent rivers on Curacao. The climate is semi-arid with an annual average temperature of almost 28 ° C. The annual rainfall varies between 200 and 1200 mm.
The island of Bonaire can be divided into a green hilly part in the north and a flat part in the south. The island’s capital, Kralendijk, is in the transition region between these two parts.
The island’s vegetation consists largely of tree-sized pillar and candelabra cacti, whereby the pillar cacti are often used as material for goat-proof barriers.
Much of Bonair has lost its original vegetation due to heavy deforestation, especially in the English period. The north is a little less affected and therefore greener than the south of the island. Most of the islanders live here and run small plantations. In the northwest, a nature park was created on the area of Washington’s former plantation, the Washington National Park.
In the south, in the desert, which is only made up of cacti, you can find natural salt lakes that have been converted into salt pans. A quarter of the island’s area is currently used for salt production. The northern salt lake Gotomeer, with its flamingo population, belongs to the “Washington Nationaal Park”.
The Bonaire Marine Park was founded in 1971 and has been a nature reserve since 1997. The intact reefs are especially known among snorkelers and divers.
The uninhabited island of Klein Bonaire is located off the western coast of Bonaire.
The eastern coast under the constantly blowing north-east trade wind is rocky and rugged only occasionally interrupted by sandy bays. The sea here is often rough to wild. The largest bay is Lac, here you will also find a mangrove forest.
Sint Maarten is located on the island of Saint Martin, an island divided between the Netherlands and France, and is one of the Leeward Islands. The island is also the only border between France and the Netherlands (border length 10 km).
The total area of the volcanic island is 94 square kilometers, of which the Dutch part of Sint Maarten occupies 34 square kilometers (36%).
Like Saba and Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius is one of the Leeward Islands. Its area is 21 square kilometers, making it the second smallest of the inhabited Dutch Antilles islands after Saba. In the southeast of the island rises the approximately 600 m high extinct volcano Mount Mazinga. Its crater is a popular sight. The group of hills around Boven Mountain in the northeast of the island is less high. Most of the islanders live in the valley between these elevations. Sint Eustatius has an international airport, FD Roosevelt Airport (IATA airport code: EUX). In 2004, around 1,100 people lived in the island’s capital, Oranjestad.
The volcanic island of Saba in the southwest of Saint-Martin and in the northwest of Sint Eustatius is the smallest of the inhabited islands in the Netherlands Antilles. It is counted among the Leeward Islands. For the most part, the island consists of the extinct volcano Mount Scenery. There are four cones of which the highest reaches 862 m. This is also the highest point in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The almost round island, surrounded by cliffs, covers an area of 13 square kilometers. There are no natural beaches on Saba.
About 250 m to the north of Saba is the uninhabited, tropical overgrown island Green Island.