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Central America :: Curacao Print
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CURACAO
  • Introduction :: Curacao
  • Background field listing
    Originally settled by Arawak Indians, Curacao was seized by the Dutch in 1634 along with the neighboring island of Bonaire. Once the center of the Caribbean slave trade, Curacao was hard hit economically by the abolition of slavery in 1863. Its prosperity (and that of neighboring Aruba) was restored in the early 20th century with the construction of the Isla Refineria to service the newly discovered Venezuelan oil fields. In 1954, Curacao and several other Dutch Caribbean possessions were reorganized as the Netherlands Antilles, part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In referenda in 2005 and 2009, the citizens of Curacao voted to become a self-governing country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The change in status became effective in October 2010 with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.
  • Geography :: Curacao
  • Location field listing
    Caribbean, an island in the Caribbean Sea, 55 km off the coast of Venezuela
    Geographic coordinates field listing

    12 10 N, 69 00 W

    Map references field listing

    Central America and the Caribbean

    Area field listing
    total: 444 sq km
    land: 444 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 200
    Area - comparative field listing

    more than twice the size of Washington, DC

    Land boundaries field listing
    0
    Coastline field listing
    364 km
    Maritime claims field listing
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    Climate field listing

    tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in mild temperatures; semiarid with average rainfall of 60 cm/year

    Terrain field listing

    generally low, hilly terrain

    Elevation field listing
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: 0 m lowest point: Caribbean Sea
    372 m highest point: Mt. Christoffel
    Natural resources field listing

    calcium phosphates, aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit

    Land use field listing
    agricultural land: 10% (2011 est.)
    arable land: 10% / permanent crops: 0% / permanent pasture: 0% (2011 est.)
    forest: 0% (2011 est.)
    other: 90% (2011 est.)
    Irrigated land field listing
    NA
    Population distribution field listing
    largest concentration on the island is Willemstad; smaller settlements near the coast can be found throughout the island, particularly in the northwest
    Natural hazards field listing

    Curacao is south of the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened

    Environment - current issues field listing

    problems in waste management that threaten environmental sustainability on the island include pollution of marine areas from domestic sewage, inadequate sewage treatment facilities, industrial effluents and agricultural runoff, the mismanagement of toxic substances, and ineffective regulations; the refinery in Sint Anna Bay, at the eastern edge of Willemstad’s large natural harbor, processes heavy crude oil from Venezuela; it has caused significant environmental damage to the surrounding area because of neglect and a lack of strict environmental controls; the release of noxious fumes and potentially hazardous particles causes schools downwind to regularly close

    Geography - note field listing

    Curacao is a part of the Windward Islands (southern) group in the Lesser Antilles

  • People and Society :: Curacao
  • Population field listing
    150,241 (July 2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 188
    Nationality field listing
    noun: Curacaoan
    adjective: Curacaoan; Dutch
    Ethnic groups field listing
    Curacaoan 75.4%, Dutch 6%, Dominican 3.6%, Colombian 3%, Bonairean, Sint Eustatian, Saban 1.5%, Haitian 1.2%, Surinamese 1.2%, Venezuelan 1.1%, Aruban 1.1%, other 5%, unspecified 0.9% (2011 est.)
    Languages field listing
    Papiamento (official) (a creole language that is a mixture of Portuguese, Spanish, Dutch, English, and, to a lesser extent, French, as well as elements of African languages and the language of the Arawak) 81.2%, Dutch (official) 8%, Spanish 4%, English (official) 2.9%, other 3.9% (2001 census)
    Religions field listing
    Roman Catholic 72.8%, Pentecostal6.6%, Protestant 3.2%, Adventist 3%, Jehovah's Witness2%, Evangelical 1.9%, other 3.8%, none 6%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)
    Age structure field listing
    0-14 years: 19.88% (male 15,250 /female 14,613)
    15-24 years: 14.05% (male 10,957 /female 10,158)
    25-54 years: 36.66% (male 27,278 /female 27,802)
    55-64 years: 13.84% (male 9,018 /female 11,769)
    65 years and over: 15.57% (male 9,547 /female 13,849) (2018 est.)
    population pyramid: population pyramid
    Dependency ratios field listing
    total dependency ratio: 52.4 (2015 est.)
    youth dependency ratio: 28.7 (2015 est.)
    elderly dependency ratio: 23.6 (2015 est.)
    potential support ratio: 4.2 (2015 est.)
    Median age field listing
    total: 36.3 years
    male: 33.8 years
    female: 39.6 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 75
    Population growth rate field listing
    0.39% (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 163
    Birth rate field listing
    13.7 births/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 139
    Death rate field listing
    8.5 deaths/1,000 population (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 77
    Net migration rate field listing
    -1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 144
    Population distribution field listing
    largest concentration on the island is Willemstad; smaller settlements near the coast can be found throughout the island, particularly in the northwest
    Urbanization field listing
    urban population: 89.1% of total population (2018)
    rate of urbanization: 0.62% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    Major urban areas - population field listing
    144000 WILLEMSTAD (capital) (2018)
    Sex ratio field listing
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    Infant mortality rate field listing
    total: 7.3 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    male: 7.9 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    female: 6.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    Life expectancy at birth field listing
    total population: 78.6 years (2018 est.)
    male: 76.3 years (2018 est.)
    female: 81.1 years (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 61
    Total fertility rate field listing
    2.03 children born/woman (2018 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS field listing
    NA
    HIV/AIDS - deaths field listing
    NA
    Major infectious diseases field listing

    note: active local transmission of Zika virus by Aedes species mosquitoes has been identified in this country (as of August 2016); it poses an important risk (a large number of cases possible) among US citizens if bitten by an infective mosquito; other less common ways to get Zika are through sex, via blood transfusion, or during pregnancy, in which the pregnant woman passes Zika virus to her fetus

    Education expenditures field listing
    4.9% of GDP (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 80
    School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education) field listing
    total: 18 years (2013)
    male: 18 years (2013)
    female: 19 years (2013)
    Unemployment, youth ages 15-24 field listing
    total: 29.7% (2015 est.)
    male: NA (2015 est.)
    female: NA (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
  • Government :: Curacao
  • Country name field listing
    conventional long form: none
    conventional short form: Curacao
    local long form: Land Curacao (Dutch); Pais Korsou (Papiamento)
    local short form: Curacao (Dutch); Korsou (Papiamento)
    former: Netherlands Antilles; Curacao and Dependencies
    etymology: the most plausible name derivation is that the island was designated Isla de la Curacion (Spanish meaning "Island of the Cure" or "Island of Healing") or Ilha da Curacao (Portuguese meaning the same) to reflect the locale's function as a recovery stop for sick crewmen
    Dependency status field listing

    constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 2010; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs

    Government type field listing

    parliamentary democracy

    Capital field listing
    name: Willemstad
    geographic coordinates: 12 06 N, 68 55 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    Administrative divisions field listing

    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

    note: Curacao is one of four constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; the other three are the Netherlands, Aruba, and Sint Maarten

    Independence field listing

    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)

    National holiday field listing

    King's Day (birthday of King WILLEM-ALEXANDER), 27 April (1967); note - King's or Queen's Day are observed on the ruling monarch's birthday; celebrated on 26 April if 27 April is a Sunday

    Constitution field listing
    previous 1947, 1955; latest adopted 5 September 2010, entered into force 10 October 2010 (regulates governance of Curacao but is subordinate to the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands); note - in October 2010, with the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles, Curacao became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (2018)
    Citizenship field listing
    see the Netherlands
    Suffrage field listing

    18 years of age; universal

    Executive branch field listing
    chief of state: King WILLEM-ALEXANDER of the Netherlands (since 30 April 2013); represented by Governor Lucille A. GEORGE-WOUT (since 4 November 2013)
    head of government: Prime Minister Ivar ASJES (since 7 June 2013)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor
    elections/appointments: the monarch is hereditary; governor appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party usually elected prime minister by the legislature (Estates of Curacao); next election scheduled for 2016
    Legislative branch field listing
    description: unicameral Estates of Curacao (21 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held on 28 April 2017 (next to be held in 2021); early elections were held after Prime Minister Hensley KOEIMAN resigned on 12 February 2017, when the coalition government lost its majority
    election results: percent of vote by party - PAR 23.3%, MAN 20.4%, MFK 19.9%, KdnT 9.4%, PIN 5.3%, PS 5.1%, MP 4.9%, other 11.7%; seats by party - PAR 6, MAN 5, MFK 5, KdnT 2, PIN 1, PS 1, MP 1
    Judicial branch field listing
    highest courts: Joint Court of Justice of Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and of Bonaire, Sint Eustatitus and Saba or "Joint Court of Justice" (sits as a 3-judge panel); final appeals heard by the Supreme Court, in The Hague, Netherlands
    judge selection and term of office: Joint Court judges appointed by the monarch for life
    subordinate courts: first instance courts, appeals court; specialized courts
    Political parties and leaders field listing
    Korsou di Nos Tur or KdnT [Amparo dos SANTOS]
    Mayors for Liberec Region (Starostove pro Liberecky Kraj) or SLK [Martin PUTA]
    Movementu Futuro Korsou or MFK [Gerrit SCHOTTE]
    Movementu Progresivo or MP [Marylin MOSES]
    Movishon Antia Nobo or MAN [Hensley KOEIMAN]
    Partido Antia Restruktura or PAR [Eugene RHUGGENAATH]
    Partido Inovashon Nashonal or PIN [Suzanne CAMELIA-ROMER]
    Partido pa Adelanto I Inovashon Soshal or PAIS [Alex ROSARIA]
    Partido Nashonal di Pueblo or PNP [Humphrey DAVELAAR]
    Pueblo Soberano or PS
    Un Korsou Hustu [Omayra LEEFLANG]
    International organization participation field listing

    Caricom (observer), FATF, ILO, ITU, UNESCO (associate), UPU

    Diplomatic representation in the US field listing
    none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    Diplomatic representation from the US field listing
    chief of mission: Consul General Margaret HAWTHORNE (since April 2016); note - also accredited to Aruba and Sint Maarten
    mailing address: P. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao
    telephone: [599] (9) 4613066
    FAX: [599] (9) 4616489
    consulate(s) general: J. B. Gorsiraweg #1, Willemstad, Curacao
    Flag description field listing
    on a blue field a horizontal yellow band somewhat below the center divides the flag into proportions of 5:1:2; two five-pointed white stars - the smaller above and to the left of the larger - appear in the canton; the blue of the upper and lower sections symbolizes the sky and sea respectively; yellow represents the sun; the stars symbolize Curacao and its uninhabited smaller sister island of Klein Curacao; the five star points signify the five continents from which Curacao's people derive
    National symbol(s) field listing
    laraha (citrus tree); national colors: blue, yellow, white
    National anthem field listing
    name: Himmo di Korsou (Anthem of Curacao)
    lyrics/music: Guillermo ROSARIO, Mae HENRIQUEZ, Enrique MULLER, Betty DORAN/Frater Candidus NOWENS, Errol "El Toro" COLINA

    note: adapted 1978; the lyrics, originally written in 1899, were rewritten in 1978 to make them less colonial in nature

  • Economy :: Curacao
  • Economy - overview field listing

    Most of Curacao’s GDP results from services. Tourism, petroleum refining and bunkering, offshore finance, and transportation and communications are the mainstays of this small island economy, which is closely tied to the outside world. Curacao has limited natural resources, poor soil, and inadequate water supplies, and budgetary problems complicate reform of the health and education systems. Although GDP grew only slightly during the past decade, Curacao enjoys a high per capita income and a well-developed infrastructure compared to other countries in the region.

    Curacao has an excellent natural harbor that can accommodate large oil tankers, and the port of Willemstad hosts a free trade zone and a dry dock. Venezuelan state-owned oil company PdVSA, under a contract in effect until 2019, leases the single refinery on the island from the government, directly employing some 1,000 people. Most of the oil for the refinery is imported from Venezuela and most of the refined products are exported to the US and Asia. Almost all consumer and capital goods are imported, with the US, the Netherlands, and Venezuela being the major suppliers.

    The government is attempting to diversify its industry and trade. Curacao is an Overseas Countries and Territories (OCT) of the European Union. Nationals of Curacao are citizens of the European Union, even though it is not a member. Based on its OCT status, products that originate in Curacao have preferential access to the EU and are exempt from import duties. Curacao is a beneficiary of the Caribbean Basin Initiative and, as a result, products originating in Curacao can be imported tax free into the US if at least 35% has been added to the value of these products in Curacao. The island has state-of-the-art information and communication technology connectivity with the rest of the world, including a Tier IV datacenter. With several direct satellite and submarine optic fiber cables, Curacao has one of the best Internet speeds and reliability in the Western Hemisphere.

    GDP (purchasing power parity) field listing
    $3.128 billion (2012 est.)
    $3.02 billion (2011 est.)
    $2.96 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    country comparison to the world: 189
    GDP (official exchange rate) field listing
    $5.6 billion (2012 est.)
    GDP - real growth rate field listing
    3.6% (2012 est.)
    2% (2011 est.)
    0.1% (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 95
    GDP - per capita (PPP) field listing
    $15,000 (2004 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    GDP - composition, by end use field listing
    household consumption: 66.9% (2016 est.)
    government consumption: 33.6% (2016 est.)
    investment in fixed capital: 19.4% (2016 est.)
    investment in inventories: 0% (2016 est.)
    exports of goods and services: 17.5% (2016 est.)
    imports of goods and services: -37.5% (2016 est.)
    GDP - composition, by sector of origin field listing
    agriculture: 0.7% (2012 est.)
    industry: 15.5% (2012 est.)
    services: 83.8% (2012 est.)
    Agriculture - products field listing
    aloe, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
    Industries field listing
    tourism, petroleum refining, petroleum transshipment, light manufacturing, financial and business services
    Industrial production growth rate field listing
    NA
    Labor force field listing
    73,010 (2013)
    country comparison to the world: 185
    Labor force - by occupation field listing
    agriculture: 81.8% (2008 est.)
    industry: 16.9% (2008 est.)
    services: 81.8% (2008 est.)
    Unemployment rate field listing
    13% (2013 est.)
    9.8% (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 166
    Budget field listing
    Taxes and other revenues field listing
    16.6% (of GDP) (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 177
    Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-) field listing
    -0.4% (of GDP) (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 56
    Public debt field listing
    33.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    40.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 158
    Inflation rate (consumer prices) field listing
    2.6% (2013 est.)
    2.8% (2012 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Central bank discount rate field listing
    NA% (31 December 2010)
    Commercial bank prime lending rate field listing
    14.5% (31 December 2011 est.)
    14.5% (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 45
    Stock of narrow money field listing
    $1.728 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $1.618 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Stock of broad money field listing
    $4.953 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $4.31 billion (31 December 2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 109
    Stock of domestic credit field listing
    $3.882 billion (31 December 2011 est.)
    $3.799 billion (31 December 2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 133
    Current account balance field listing
    -$400 million (2011 est.)
    -$600 million (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 112
    Exports field listing
    $555.6 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.44 billion (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 6
    Exports - commodities field listing
    petroleum products
    Imports field listing
    $453.8 billion (2017 est.)
    $1.275 trillion (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 9
    Imports - commodities field listing
    crude petroleum, food, manufactures
    Reserves of foreign exchange and gold field listing
    $0 (31 December 2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 191
    Exchange rates field listing
    Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -
    1.79 (2017 est.)
    1.79 (2016 est.)
    1.79 (2015 est.)
    1.79 (2014 est.)
    1.79 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: Curacao
  • Electricity access field listing
    population without electricity: 14,903 (2012)
    electrification - total population: 91% (2012)
    electrification - urban areas: 91% (2012)
    electrification - rural areas: 80% (2012)
    Electricity - consumption field listing
    968 million kWh (2008 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 155
    Electricity - exports field listing
    0 kWh (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Electricity - imports field listing
    0 kWh (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 136
    Crude oil - proved reserves field listing
    0 bbl (1 January 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Refined petroleum products - production field listing
    531 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 105
    Refined petroleum products - consumption field listing
    72,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    Refined petroleum products - exports field listing
    211,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 32
    Refined petroleum products - imports field listing
    291,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 26
    Natural gas - production field listing
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 124
    Natural gas - consumption field listing
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 138
    Natural gas - exports field listing
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 90
    Natural gas - imports field listing
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 116
    Natural gas - proved reserves field listing
    0 cu m (1 January 2011 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 130
  • Communications :: Curacao
  • Telephone system field listing
    international: country code - 599
    Broadcast media field listing
    government-run TeleCuracao operates a TV station and a radio station; 3 other privately owned TV stations and several privately owned radio stations (2017)
    Internet country code field listing

    .cw

    Internet users field listing
    total: 138,750 (July 2016 est.)
    percent of population: 93.9% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 174
  • Transportation :: Curacao
  • National air transport system field listing
    number of registered air carriers: 2 (2015)
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11 (2015)
    Civil aircraft registration country code prefix field listing
    PJ (2016)
    Airports field listing
    1 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 219
    Airports - with paved runways field listing
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    Roadways field listing
    total: 550 km
    country comparison to the world: 194
    Merchant marine field listing
    total: 92 (2017)
    by type: general cargo 18, oil tanker 1, other 73 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    Ports and terminals field listing
    major seaport(s): Willemstad
    oil terminal(s): Bullen Baai (Curacao Terminal)
    bulk cargo port(s): Fuik Bay (phosphate rock)
  • Military and Security :: Curacao
  • Military branches field listing
    no regular military forces; the Dutch Government controls foreign and defense policy (2012)
    Military service age and obligation field listing
    no conscription (2010)
    Military - note field listing
    defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
  • Transnational Issues :: Curacao