List of islands of the Netherlands Antilles

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Coat of arms of the Netherlands Antilles (1986-2010).svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
the Netherlands Antilles
Map showing French Saint-Martin (north) and Dutch Sint Maarten (south).

The Netherlands Antilles were divided into six administrative divisions, the island territories (eilandgebieden):

Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986 to become a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, to leave only five island territories.

The Netherlands Antilles were dissolved as a unified political entity on 10 October 2010, so that remaining five constituent islands each attained a new constitutional status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius all became special municipalities of the Netherlands. Curaçao and Sint Maarten both became constituent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The autonomy of the island areas was specified in the Islands Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles.

Population of the Islands[edit]

According to the official estimates of the Central Bureau of Statistics of the Netherlands Antilles, the five islands had a combined population of 199,929 as at 1 January 2009. The population of the individual islands was as follows:

Dutch Caribbean islands
(within the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
Name Area
(1 Jan 2010)
Pop. density
(inh. per km²)
Countries  Aruba 193 107,138 555 [i]
 Curaçao 444 142,180 320 [ii]
 Sint Maarten 34 37,429 1,101 [ii]
Special municipalities
(part of the Netherlands)
 Bonaire 294 13,389 46 [ii]
 Sint Eustatius 21 2,886 137 [ii]
 Saba 13 1,737 134 [ii]
Total: 999 304,759 305  

Even though the referenda held in the early 1990s resulted in a position in favour of retaining the Netherlands Antilles, the arrangement continued to be an unhappy one. Between June 2000 and April 2005, each island of the Netherlands Antilles had a new referendum on its future status. The four options that could be voted on were the following:

  • closer ties with the Netherlands
  • remaining within the Netherlands Antilles
  • autonomy as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (status aparte)
  • independence

Of the five islands, Sint Maarten and Curaçao voted for status aparte, Saba and Bonaire voted for closer ties to the Netherlands, and Sint Eustatius voted to stay within the Netherlands Antilles.


See also[edit]