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Netherlands Antilles

Nederlandse Antillen

Last modified: 2010-01-30 by dov gutterman
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[Netherlands Antilles flag](2:3)
image by Mark Sensen, 9 November 2003

Official Name: Netherlands Antilles (Nederlandse Antillen)
Previous Name: Curacao and Dependencies
Capital: Willemstad
Location: Caribbean
Government Type: Part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with Full Autonomy in Internal Affairs
Flag adopted: 1 January 1986
ISO Code: AN


See also:

Flag of the Netherlands Antilles

The postal administration of the Netherlands Antilles issued (30 June 1995) six new stamps with the flags and the coats of arms of the islands. The islands consist out of: Curacao, Bonaire, St Maarten, Saba and St Eustatius. Only the last islands don't have a flag and coat of arms of their own. St Eustatius uses the flag and coat of arms of the Netherlands Antilles as its national symbols. The Postal Service of the Netherlands Antilles issued the booklet 'Flag Issue 1995 / Vlaggenserie 1995' with full details on the history and use of the national symbols of the islands.
Jos Poels, 4 August 1995

According to Album 2000 [pay00] - Netherlands Antilles - The flag of the Netherlands Antilles is white in proportions 2:3, on the center of the length a red vertical stripe, and on the center of the height a blue horizontal stripe across the red stripe. The width of both stripes is one-third of the flag height. On the center of the blue stripe are five white five pointed stars. The diameter of the imaginary circle emscribing a star is one-fourth of the height of the blue stripe. The colours red, white and blue refer to the Dutch flag, the five stars symbolise the five islands. Adopted by Country-Order of 31 December 1985, comming effective 1 January 1986. The First Flag was adopted by Country-Order of 19 November 1959, and had six stars. One star was dropped because Aruba left in 1986.
The centre of the topmost and bottommost stars are located at two imaginary horizontal lines. The first line at one-sixth of the height of the blue stripe under the upper edge of the blue stripe, the second line at one-sixth of the height of the blue stripe above the lower edge of the blue stripe. The centre of the topmost star is located at the centre of the first imaginary line. The centres of the bottommost stars are located on the second imaginary line at such a way, that an isoscele triangle is formed with the centre of the topmost star, with an angle of 45 degrees at the top. The centre of the leftmost star is located by forming another isoscele triangle with the centre of the topmost star and the centre of the left star at the bottom, again with an angle of 45 degrees at the top. Likewise the centre of the rightmost star is located.
Mark Sensen, 1 and 2 November 2003

Construction Sheet

image by Željko Heimer, 5 November 2003

Coat of Arms

image from Ralf Hartemink site

Status of the Netherlands Antilles

The politicians on Curacao, and also some on St.Maarten, now wanted a Status Aparte as Aruba . However, during referendums held in November 1993 (Curacao) and October 1994 (Bonaire, St.Maarten, St.Eustatius and Saba) large majorities of the people voted to remain part of the Netherlands Antilles.
Apart from 1) the 'status quo' option and 2) Status Aparte, there were 2 other options, both receiving very few votes: 3) (overseas) province of the Netherlands; 4) full independence.
Mark Sensen, 4 May 1999

I read today in the International Herald Tribune that St. Maarten has just voted for separation from Netherlands Antilles within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Well, I suppose the island will keep on flying its actual flag, but there will probably be a new flag for Neth. Antilles, one of the 5 stars having to be removed, if they follow the same logic than they did in 1986 when Aruba broke away. The article I read didn't say when the separation will happen.
Olivier Touzeau, 26 June 2000

First of all it was a consulting, non-binding referendum, the other options apart from the favoured "status aparte" (68.9%) being "status quo" (3.7%), "independence" (14.2%), and "stronger position within the Neth.Antilles" (11.6%).
Secondly, the Dutch politicians are not in favour of a Status Aparte for Sint Maarten. And when Sint Maarten will leave the Neth.Antilles, the question is what Sint Eustatius and Saba will do. There is e.g. a majority on Saba that wants to become a province of the Netherlands in that case.
Mark Sensen, 26 June 2000

Looking at a map, one has the distinct impression that the whole thing is completely wrong: Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao are just north of Venezuela, and 1000 km to NE are Sint Maarten, Sint Eustatius and Saba. That's the geographical setting.
But the political divisions are Aruba as a separate territory and the Dutch Antilles covering everything else. Now, if Sint Maarten breakes away to a status of separate autonomy, things will become even more strange.
Antonio Martins, 28 June 2000

Today, the report "The time is now, let’s do it!" (so-called Jesurun Report) with plans for reformation of the Netherlands Antilles was presented to Kingdom Relations Minister Thom de Graaf.   It includes the next idea for a new political division:
1. The country Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist
2. Curacao and St. Maarten will both receive the status of autonomous country within the Kingdom (like Aruba already has since 1986)
3. Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba will each receive the status of "Koninkrijkseiland" ("Kingdoms Island")  
More info (in Dutch) at the website of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations at <>. Final decisions about the adoption of the plans will probably be taken at a Round Table Conference in 2005.   If the reformations will take place it will have effect on some flags:  
- the flag of the Netherlands Antilles, as well as the flag of the gouvernour of the Netherlands Antilles, will be abolished  
- flags for the gouvernours of Curacao and St. Maarten will (probably) be introduced.
Mark Sensen, 8 October 2004

The proposed new four-starred flag for the Netherlands Antilles will not be adopted as not only is Sint-Maarten seceding, so is Curaçao. The Dutch government has announced plans for both islands to leave the Netherlands Antilles and although no firm timetable is announced it is likely that the change will take in 2005 or 2006. Both Curaçao and Sint-Maarten will have the same wide-ranging autonomy that is presently enjoyed by Aruba, which withdrew from the Netherlands Antilles in 1986. The three remaining small poorly populated islands of the (reduced) Netherlands Antilles will have a new status, without the responsible government - legislature, Prime Minister and Council of Ministers - that will exist in Aruba, Sint-Maarten, and Curaçao. Both Curaçao and Sint-Maarten, of course, already have flags.
Clive Carpenter, 22 November 2004

Today's edition of The Times newspaper carries an obituary for Bernard Komproe, who only recently became the Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles, or the Antilles Federation, as it has been more recently known as.
In conclusion, the obituary states: Coincidentally, an official proposal to end the Antilles Federation, backed by both the Dutch and Antilles Governments, has just been made public. It is considered very likely to be agreed, and a round- table conference next Spring will discuss details. For international purposes, the official designation of all the former Dutch colonies in the Caribbean, together with The Netherlands itself, remains The Kingdom of The Netherlands. Curacao, and St. Maarten, with Aruba (which seceded from the federation in 1986), will enjoy separate status. The smaller states of Saba, St. Eustatius, and Bonaire have opted for a status close to that of a province of The Netherlands.
Ron Lahav, 22 November 2004

Note that The Times writes about the "Netherlands Antilles federation", so federation with a small "f". In other words, the Netherlands Antilles are still the Netherlands Antilles, not the Antilles Federation. See also my message of 8 October 2004.
Mark Sensen, 22 November 2004

Coincidentally, an official proposal to end the Antilles Federation, backed by both the Dutch and Antilles Governments, has just been made public. It is considered very likely to be agreed, and a round- table conference next Spring will discuss details.
From Intelligence Research Ltd, October 12, 2004:
"Recolonisation initiatives are a rare occurrence, and even rarer are those with a chance of prospering. The Netherlands Antilles may become such a rarity. The special commission set up by the governments of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, under the direction of former Antillean governor Edsel Jesurun, has recommended breaking up this entity and returning three of its smallest components - Saba, Bonaire and Sint Eustatius - to direct rule from The Hague.   Curacao and Sint Maarten would be given the same status as the earlier breakaway, Aruba: autonomous countries within the Dutch Kingdom, alongside the Netherlands. This would spell the disappearance of the central government of the Netherlands Antilles (much of it would be subsumed into the new government of Curacao), but the commission recommends retaining, under a 'cooperative' arrangement, such institutions as the central bank, the social security bank and the pension funds.   Though the recommendations are not binding, both of the commissioning governments have said they would 'weigh heavily' on their decisions. The Jesurun commission has counselled speed: a formal political agreement between both countries by the end of this year, a conference in mid 2005 to sort out the constitutional aspects (which entail changes to the Kingdom Charter and the Islands Regulation, and presumably the scrapping of the Antillean Constitution, plus the groundwork for the new constitutions of Curacao and Sint Maarten).   Along the line, there will have to be discussions on the financial aspects of such matters as providing security for the new autonomous countries; the commission specifically cites security needs as one of the reasons for the overhaul."
David C. Fowler, 23 November 2004

El Caribe, the principal daily newspaper in the Dominican Republic, reports that the Netherlands Antilles will be dissolved in 2007.
Ron Lahav, 28 November 2005

See my message of 8 October 2004. Saterday the start of Round Table Conference mentioned at that post took place.   Nothing new, apart from the fact that the new status for Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba isn't called "Koninkrijkseiland" ("Kingdoms Island") but a new status of special nature ("sui generis"). The aim is for 1 July 2007 for the political changes to take effect.   For more info (in Dutch) see the official website of the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations at <>.
Mark Sensen, 28 November 2005

have browsed that site a bit, and there was little information about the new status. Even the recent referenda on all islands are not mentioned. The Antillians were presented several options and the islands of Curaçao, Bonaire and St. Maarten opted for a "status aparte", like Aruba has now. Saba for something else, so in future the Netherlands Antilles will consist of St. Eustatius only. In fact The Netherlands want to get rid of the Netherlands Antilles, and the Netherlands Antilles want to become either the 13th province of The Netherlands, or even a municipality like Urk or Schiermonnikoog. At present it seems impossible to see what will happen next.
Jarig Bakker, 29 November 2005

Minister Nicolai of Kingdomrelations reached a historic agreement with Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The islands will become separate countries, like Aruba. That means that the co-operation between the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, as agreed by the "Koninkrijksstatuut" of 1954, will end. It is agreed that there will be a common court of justice of the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. There are also agreements on policing and prosecution. The Netherlands will take care of the debts of the Netherlands Antilles, totalling 2,5 billion Euros. The Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist on 1 July 2007. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become Dutch municipalities. Aruba is a separate entity since 1986.
No info about change of flags. The currency is also unclear, although it seems that Aruba might be forced to enter the Euro-zone(!)
Source: <> reported by Stefan Lambrechts.
Jarig Bakker, 3 November 2006

Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist on July 1. At that time two of the islands (Curacao and Sint Maarten) will become autonomous islands within the Netherlands, much like Aruba is now.  The other three islands (Bonaire, Saba, Sint Eustatius) will become integral parts of the Netherlands, I belve on the same status as towns. Of course all the individual islands' flags will continue to exist, but Curacao and Sint Maarten's will probaby get greater exposure as autonomous islands.
Sources: BBC , official government page.
David Kendall, 15 January 2007

The dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles is planned for 15 December 2008. (15 December is Kingdomsday, the day the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands was signed by Queen Juliana in 1954). This was agreed on Sint Maarten yesterday. Sint Maarten will become a land within the kingdom, Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba will become special municipalities of the Netherlands. The Island Council of Curaçao rejected the final agreement in the end of last year. However, the Dutch government doesn't want to re-open the negotiations. Nevertheless it is most likely Curaçao will also become a separate land.
According to the official website of the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, 12 Dec. 2008 is the target date. The first target date was 1 July 2007.
I'm not sure what caused the delay, I think there are various reasons. Apart from Curaçao's situation maybe also the elections end of last year followed by the formation of a new government (right today) over here in the Netherlands. And 1 July was very ambitious from the very start in my opinion.
So, as from 15 December 2008 the Kingdom of the Netherlands will consist of four countries:  
- The Netherlands (incl. the three special municipalities Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba)  
- Aruba  
- Curaçao  
- Sint Maarten.
Sources: <>, <>.
Mark Sensen, 13 February 2007

Wikipedia, in separate articles on each entity, notes this has been delayed until December 2008, with different dates for each entity: Sint Maarten is listed at December 15, 2008 and Curacao for December 28, 2008.
The Dutch government's announcement on Sint Maarten is at <>.
Phil Nelson, 5 July 2007

According to the official web site of the Netherland Antilles Olympic Committee (NAOC), it has been agreed that in view of an imminent separation of the constituent islands, the ANOC will keep a “status quo”, after such break up takes effect.
That’s to mean that, even Sint Maarten and Curacao become separate entities, they will continue to take part in sports events as now.
This is because international bodies such as FIFA and IOC does not admit dependent territories anymore. The question remains, if Netherlands Antilles cease to exist in 2008, which flag shall be flown by its sportsmen and sportswomen.
Source: <>.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 29 July 2007

That's for sure that the Netherlands Antilles are to desappear, it is just a matter to know or to determine when.
From <>:
"The Netherlands and The Netherlands Antilles and Aruba have reached agreement on the new status for the islands. At the Round Table Conference in Curaçao on the 15th of December Dutch Prime Minister Jan Peter Balkenende, State secretary Bijleveld and Antillean Prime Minister De Jongh-Elhage signed an accord on the new status.
The islands of Curaçao and Sint Maarten will become autonomous territories, while Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become Dutch municipalities. The last conditions of dissolution will be discussed and finalized in 2009."
See also: <>.
According to <>:
"St Maarten, which started the process of the break up of the Dutch Antilles by voting for an independent status in a referendum in 2000, wants the Dutch government to commit to January 1 2010 as an official date. But Bijleveld has already stated that the final date will only be established at the last conference. It is public knowledge that the cabinet does not expect the new status of the Dutch Antilles to become reality before 2011."
Surely each island will keep its current flag and coat of arms, however, It has been told that regarding international sports, all five islands
should be represented as "Netherlands Antilles" (an eventually innexistent country).
Will Athletes fly the same flag as they do now?
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascán, 2 February 2009

The Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist on October 10 next year (2010). The Netherlands Antilles have decided this last Wednesday, September 30.
The Netherlands Antilles arose in 1954 as an autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Until the achievement of the Status Aparte (separate status) for Aruba on January 1, 1986 the Dutch Antilles consisted of the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten (St. Martin). They were represented by the six stars in the 1959 flag of the Netherlands Antilles.
With the separation of Aruba in 1986 one star was dropped, to represent the five islands left in the Netherlands Antilles.
The remaining five islands in the Netherlands Antilles will on 10 October 2010 go their own political way. Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius will become special oversees municipalities of the Netherlands.
Curacao and St. Maarten will get the same status as Aruba already has achieved.
The current flag of the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist. The flags of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become Dutch municipality flags.
The flags of St. Maarten and Curcacao will get the same status as the flag of Aruba now.
From October 10, 2010 the Kingdom of the Netherlands will consist of: The Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten.
Jos Poels, 1 October 2009

New Flag For Netherlands Antilles ?

image by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascan, 26 Febuary 2002

According the results of the referendum held in June 23, 2000, in Sint Maarten (the Netherlands part of the Caribbean island of Saint Marten), this territory is becoming a "new country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands", in other words, Sint Maarten is seceding from Netherlands Antilles. This is taking place on nest 1 June 2002.
The question is if will keep the Neth. Antilles the same flag or will it change?
According information requested by myself to the government of the Neth. Antilles, via e-mail, the flag will be changed: to the current flag will be drop off a star, remaining four, one for each component island: Curacao, Bonaire, Saba and Saint Eustatius. The stars are displaying like a rhombus.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascan, 26 Febuary 2002

image by Juan Manuel Gabino Villascan, 27 Febuary 2002

This a variant of the future Netherlands Antilles flag to be adopted on June 1, 2002, when Sint Maartin seced from it. The lateral (near-hoist and near-fly) stars are more separated, remarking the rhombus shape.
Juan Manuel Gabino Villascan, 27 Febuary 2002

Although there was a majority for a "status aparte" in the (consulting) referendum, and there have been some talks I think with the rest of the Netherlands Antilles, I never heard the new status was granted >However, to be sure I mailed the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations and a newspaper on the Neth. Antilles. When I receice an answer I will forward it.
Mark Sensen, 27 Febuary 2002

I don't have an answer from the ministry yet. But I received one from the newspaper Amigoe at Curacao, and they don't know anything about it. I also got an answer from Jos Poels who is in contact with a journalist working for a Dutch newspaper in Curacao. He wrote it's very unlikely a Status Aparte ever will be given.
Mark Sensen, 1 March 2002

"Habitat" Flags

Habitat Curaçao Seahorse Flag
image from <>

Habitat Bonaire Pirate flag
image from <>

On <> (defunct) was a flag without any explanation, just "Habitat Curaçao - Curaçao, Netherlands Antilles". At <> the same flag and an advertisement for a local resort, aiming to keep diving clean. At <> the flag is waving, along with a kind of pirate flag, and a bit of info: "Capt. Don Stewart, founder of Habitat, is recognized worldwide as a leader in the movement to protect our underwater environment. Shortly after arriving on Bonaire in May of 1962 he opened the island's very first dive operation. In 1977 he created Capt. Don's Habitat and pioneered the "Diving Freedom" concept which each year continues to further Habitat's reputation for providing fun, safe and innovative dive vacations."
The pirate flag is the flag of Habitat Bonaire.
Jarig Bakker, 10 June 2003

Red background with descending white sword diagonally (common part of both flags) surely makes me think of scuba diving and snokerling.
Anto'nio Martins, 12 June 2003

Storm Warning SignalsAccording to this WMO page the Netherlands Antilles use the well-known US signal set but with local differences.
- 40a (red pierced black): "Gale warning: winds 39 miles an hour (34 kt) and upwards." The only signal used on Curaçau, Aruba, and Bonaire.]Also used on St. Maarten, Saba, and St. Eustatius were it means something else: "Whole gale warning: winds within the range 55 to 73 miles an hour (48 to 63 kt)."
Further St Maarten, Saba, and St Eustatius signal flags:
- 41a (double set of red pierced black): "Hurricane warning: winds 74 miles an hour (64 kt) and upwards."
- 39a (double set of red pennants): "Gale warning: winds within the range 39-54 miles an hour (34-47 kt)."
- 56a (red pennant): "Small craft warning: winds and seas or sea conditions are only dangerous to small craft operations. Winds range up to 38 miles an hour (33 kt)."
I suppose the difference in use is climatologically justified.
Jan Mertens, 16 March 2008