- Dutch Caribbean
Flag of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Location of the Dutch Caribbean islands:
Area 999 km2 (386 sq mi) Population (2010) 304,759 Density 305 /km2 (790 /sq mi) Languages Dutch, English, Papiamento Government 3 constituent countries
3 special municipalities
The term Dutch Caribbean refers to the islands of the Kingdom of the Netherlands that are located in the Caribbean and their inhabitants, and in the past also to Dutch territory on the northern coast of South America.
Three of the six main islands presently under Dutch sovereignty are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten (which actually comprises only the southern half of the island of Saint Martin). The three remaining islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba are special municipalities of the Netherlands, which is the fourth constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands (and mainly located in Europe). These are collectively known as the Caribbean Netherlands. There are also several smaller islands, like Klein Curaçao and Klein Bonaire, that belong to one of the island countries or special municipalities.
All the islands have formerly been part of the Netherlands Antilles. Aruba gained autonomy much earlier than the other islands, seceding as a separate country in 1986. Curaçao and Sint Maarten followed upon the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010, while Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba were integrated into the Netherlands proper instead.
There are several acronyms that indicate groups of islands of the Dutch Caribbean:
- ABC islands, for Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao;
- BES islands, for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba;
- SSS islands, for Saba, Saint Martin and Sint Eustatius.
Dutch Caribbean islands Name Population
(1 Jan 2010)
(inh. per km²)
Source Countries Aruba 107,138 193 555 [i] Curaçao 142,180 444 320 [ii] Sint Maarten 37,429 34 1,101 [ii] Special municipalities
(part of the Netherlands)
Bonaire 13,389 294 46 [ii] Sint Eustatius 2,886 21 137 [ii] Saba 1,737 13 134 [ii] Total: 304,759 999 305
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