Netherlands Antilles


Location: Caribbean, two island groups in the Caribbean Sea – composed of five islands, Curacao and Bonaire located off the coast of Venezuela, and Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius lie east of the US Virgin Islands
Geographic coordinates: 12 15 N, 68 45 W
Population: 203 748 (July 2011 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 24.7% (male 26,749/female 25,467)

15-64 years: 67.4% (male 73,319/female 78,842)

65 years and over: 7.9% (male 8,541/female 12,451) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Netherlands Antilles

local long form: none

local short form: NederlandseAntillen

former: Curacao and Dependencies

Dependency status: an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 1954; Dutch Government responsible for defence and foreign affairs
Telephones – main lines in use: 81,000 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 200,000 (2009)
Airports: 5 (2007)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 5

over 3,047 m: 1

2,438 to 3,047 m: 1

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1

914 to 1,523 m: 1

under 914 m: 1 (2007)

Military branches: no regular military forces; National Guard (2011)
Military service age and obligation: 16 years of age for National Guard recruitment; no conscription (2004)


Tourism, petroleum refining, and offshore finance are the mainstays of this small economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Although GDP has declined or grown slightly in each of the past eight years, the islands enjoy a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared with other countries in the region. Most of the oil Netherlands Antilles imports for its refineries comes from Venezuela. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, the US and Mexico being the major suppliers. Poor soils and inadequate water supplies hamper the development of agriculture. Budgetary problems hamper reform of the health and pension systems of an aging population. The Netherlands provides financial aid to support the economy.

Transnational Issues:

Disputes – international: none
Illicit drugs: transhipment point for South American drugs bound for the US and Europe; money-laundering center