The Dutch (Caribbean) Kingdom and 10-10-10

This year, October 10, the Dutch Kingdom underwent a mayor change. After long negotiations and referenda the Kingdom introduced two new countries and added 3 new communities to it’s largest country.

The Dutch Caribbean Islands have always been know as the Dutch Antilles. the 3 largest Islands in the south were called the ABC Islands, and the smaller ones in the north east the SSS Islands. For a lot of people these Islands are still known this way.

Many visitors and travelers believe that they are colonies of The Netherlands. Yet not entirely independent, they are not in any ways colonies of The Netherlands, but still equal member of the Dutch Kingdom.

Confused?

The Dutch Kingdom up to October 10 2010 consisted of the following countries:

  • The Netherlands in Europe
  • Aruba in the Caribbean
  • The Netherlands Antilles in the Caribbean (consisting of: Curacao, Bonaire, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius and Saba.

They all share her Majesty Queen Beatrix van Oranje Nassau as head of state. and each region has its own parliament and Prime minister.

Aruba got their “Status Aparte” in 1986, separating them from the Netherlands Antilles.

This new status gave Aruba autonomy in Governing itself and taking responsibility for its development in its own hands. This was the beginning of the change.

On October 10, 2010 (10-10-10) it was official. The new constellation of the Kingdom is now as follows:

  • The Netherlands in Europe
  • Aruba in the Caribbean
  • Curacao i the Caribbean
  • St. Maarten in the Caribbean

The 3 Islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba decided to become communities or municipalities falling directly under the government of The Netherlands. Still, they cannot be compared with the French Islands which are Departements of France.

Some interesting facts:

  • Aruba became the first new independent country within the Dutch Kingdom under the leadership of the late Francois Gilberto Croes
  • Curacao had one of the youngest democratically elected prime minister in the world: Gerrit Schotte
  • St. Maarten’s first ever Prime minister was a woman: Sarah Wescot-Williams
  • Although becoming municipalities falling directly under The Netherlands, the Euro will not be introduced as the official currency for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba

If you wish to know more about each Island visit their Tourism Sites:

Each Island has its own unique history and qualities. If possible try to visit them all during a trip or combine the ABC Islands on one trip and the SSS Islands on another trip.

Did you know that:

(For US citizens)…..St. Eustatius was the first Island to recognize and officially salute your independence in 1776?

Commemorative plaque on St. Eustatius

Aruba hosts the largest dive-able shipwreck in the Caribbean at 400 ft. long and only 55 ft. in depth? The Antilla Wreck.

Curacao’s Capital of Willemstad is an official Unesco heritage site

Saba is has the highest Mountain in the entire dutch Kingdom. Mount Scenery with 2910 feet (887 meters)

St. Maarten shares its Island with the French side of St. Martin

Bonaire is host to one of the largest Flamingo colonies in the world, and they outnumber the locals

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