In 2001, the town of Bovensmilde had 2,873 inhabitants. The built-up area of the town was 0.76 km², and contained 1,094 residences. The statistical area "Bovensmilde", which can also include the surrounding countryside, has a population of around 3,960.
On 23 May 1977 Moluccan terrorists occupied an elementary school in Bovensmilde and took 105 children and 5 teachers as hostages. (At the same time other Moluccan terrorists hijacked a nearby train.) After 5 days the children were released. On June 11 the 5 remaining teachers were freed when the school was stormed by a Dutch army tank, and the hostage takers were apprehended.