Local Information

The two island groups of which the Netherlands Antilles consisted were:

the "Leeward Islands" (Benedenwindse Eilanden or ABC islands), part of the Leeward Antilles island chain off the Venezuelan coast.

Aruba (Division Code: AW) Population: 107.138 (2010)

Bonaire, including an islet called Klein Bonaire ("Little Bonaire") 13.389

Curaçao, including an islet called Klein Curaçao ("Little Curaçao") 142.180

the "Windward Islands" (Bovenwindse Eilanden or SSS islands) east of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. These are part of what are in English called the Leeward Islands, but French, Spanish, Dutch and the English spoken locally these are considered part of the Windward Islands.

Sint Maarten, the southern half of the island Saint Martin (the northern half, Saint-Martin, is an overseas collectivity of France) 37.429 - excluding french area

Saba 1.737

Sint Eustatius 2.886

The windward islands are all of volcanic origin and hilly, leaving little ground suitable for agriculture. The leeward islands have a mixed volcanic and coral origin. The highest point was Mount Scenery, 887 metres (2,910 ft), on Saba (also the highest point in all the Kingdom of the Netherlands). On 26 November 2005, a Round Table Conference (RTC) was held between the governments of the Netherlands, Aruba, the Netherlands Antilles, and each island in the Netherlands Antilles (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba, Curacao and Sint Maarten). The final statement to emerge from the RTC stated that autonomy for Curaçao and Sint Maarten, plus a new status for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba (BES) would come into effect by 1 July 2007. On 12 October 2006, the Netherlands reached an agreement with Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, and Saba; this agreement would make these islands special municipalities.

The acts of parliament integrating the "BES" islands (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba) into the Netherlands were given royal assent on 17 May 2010. After ratification by the Netherlands (6 July), the Netherlands Antilles (20 August), and Aruba (4 September), the Kingdom act amending the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands with regard to the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles was signed off by the three countries in the closing Round Table Conference on 9 September 2010 in The Hague.

The Island Regulation originally divided the Netherlands Antilles into four island territories: Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao (ABC), and the Windward islands. In 1983, the island territory of the Windward islands was split up to form the new island territories of Sint Maarten, Saba, and Sint Eustatius (SSS). In 1986, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles, reducing the number of island territories to five. After the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles in 2010, Curaçao and Sint Maarten became autonomous countries within the Kingdom. Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (BES) became special municipalities of the Netherlands.