Central America and Caribbean :: CURACAO
  • Introduction :: CURACAO

  • 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

  • Caribbean, an island in the Caribbean Sea, 55 km off the coast of Venezuela
    12 10 N, 69 00 W
    Central America and the Caribbean
    total: 444 sq km
    land: 444 sq km
    water: 0 sq km
    country comparison to the world: 200
    more than twice the size of Washington, DC
    0 km
    364 km
    territorial sea: 12 nm
    exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
    tropical marine climate, ameliorated by northeast trade winds, results in mild temperatures; semiarid with average rainfall of 60 cm/year
    generally low, hilly terrain
    mean elevation: NA
    elevation extremes: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m
    highest point: Mt. Christoffel 372 m
    calcium phosphates, aloes, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
    agricultural land: 10%
    arable land 10%; permanent crops 0%; permanent pasture 0%
    forest: 0%
    other: 90% (2011 est.)
    largest concentration on the island is Willemstad; smaller settlements near the coast can be found throughout the island, particularly in the northwest
    Curacao is south of the Caribbean hurricane belt and is rarely threatened
    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 management of toxic substances, and ineffective regulations
    Curacao is a part of the Windward Islands (southern) group in the Lesser Antilles
  • People and Society :: CURACAO

  • 149,648 (July 2017 est.)
    noun: Curacaoan
    adjective: Curacaoan; Dutch
    Afro-Caribbean majority; Dutch, French, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian, Jewish minorities
    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)
    Roman Catholic 72.8%, Pentecostal 6.6%, Protestant 3.2%, Adventist 3%, Jehovah's Witness 2%, Evangelical 1.9%, other 3.8%, none 6%, unspecified 0.6% (2011 est.)
    0-14 years: 20% (male 15,274/female 14,661)
    15-24 years: 14.33% (male 11,170/female 10,280)
    25-54 years: 36.87% (male 27,152/female 28,029)
    55-64 years: 13.69% (male 8,862/female 11,620)
    65 years and over: 15.1% (male 9,270/female 13,330) (2017 est.)
    total dependency ratio: 52.4
    youth dependency ratio: 28.7
    elderly dependency ratio: 23.6
    potential support ratio: 4.2 (2015 est.)
    total: 36.1 years
    male: 33.5 years
    female: 39.7 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 74
    0.4% (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 161
    13.7 births/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 140
    8.4 deaths/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 81
    -1.3 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 146
    largest concentration on the island is Willemstad; smaller settlements near the coast can be found throughout the island, particularly in the northwest
    urban population: 89.2% of total population (2017)
    rate of urbanization: 0.73% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)
    WILLEMSTAD (capital) 145,000 (2014)
    at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female
    0-14 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
    15-24 years: 1.09 male(s)/female
    25-54 years: 0.96 male(s)/female
    55-64 years: 0.76 male(s)/female
    65 years and over: 0.7 male(s)/female
    total population: 0.92 male(s)/female (2017 est.)
    total: 7.5 deaths/1,000 live births
    male: 8.1 deaths/1,000 live births
    female: 7 deaths/1,000 live births (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 159
    total population: 78.5 years
    male: 76.2 years
    female: 80.9 years (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 60
    2.04 children born/woman (2017 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 113
    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 (2016)
    4.9% of GDP (2013)
    total: 18 years
    male: 18 years
    female: 19 years (2013)
    total: 29.7%
    male: NA
    female: NA (2015 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 34
  • Government :: CURACAO

  • 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
    constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands; full autonomy in internal affairs granted in 2010; Dutch Government responsible for defense and foreign affairs
    parliamentary democracy
    name: Willemstad
    geographic coordinates: 12 06 N, 68 55 W
    time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)
    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
    none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    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
    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 (2017)
    based on Dutch civil law system with some English common law influence
    see the Netherlands
    18 years of age; universal
    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 Eugene RHUGGENAATH (since 29 May 2017)
    cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor
    elections: the monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party is usually elected prime minister by the parliament
    description: unicameral Estates of Curacao or Staten van Curacao (21 seats; members directly elected by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)
    elections: last held 28 April 2017 (next to be held on 2021); early elections are being 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
    highest court(s): 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
    Korsou di Nos Tur or KdnT [Amparo dos SANTOS]
    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 (vacant)
    Un Korsou Hustu [Omayra LEEFLANG]
    none (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands)
    chief of mission: Consul General Margaret HAWTHORNE (since April 2016); note - also accredited to Aruba and Sint Maarten
    consulate(s) general: J. B. Gorsiraweg
    mailing address: P. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao
    telephone: [599] (9) 4613066
    FAX: [599] (9) 4616489
    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
    laraha (citrus tree); national colors: blue, yellow, white
    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

  • 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.
    $3.128 billion (2012 est.)
    $3.02 billion (2011 est.)
    $2.96 billion (2010 est.)
    note: data are in 2012 US dollars
    $5.6 billion (2012 est.)
    3.6% (2012 est.)
    2% (2011 est.)
    0.1% (2010 est.)
    $15,000 (2004 est.)
    household consumption: 66.9%
    government consumption: 33.6%
    investment in fixed capital: 19.4%
    investment in inventories: 0%
    exports of goods and services: 17.5%
    imports of goods and services: -37.5% (2016 est.)
    agriculture: 0.7%
    industry: 15.5%
    services: 83.8% (2012 est.)
    aloe, sorghum, peanuts, vegetables, tropical fruit
    tourism, petroleum refining, petroleum transshipment, light manufacturing, financial and business services
    73,010 (2013 est.)
    agriculture: 1.2%
    industry: 16.9%
    services: 81.8% (2008 est.)
    13% (2013 est.)
    9.8% (2011 est.)
    16.6% of GDP (2012 est.)
    -0.4% of GDP (2012 est.)
    33.2% of GDP (2012 est.)
    40.6% of GDP (2011 est.)
    2.6% (2013 est.)
    2.8% (2012 est.)
    $1.607 billion (2011 est.)
    $1.44 billion (2010 est.)
    petroleum products
    $1.285 billion (2011 est.)
    $1.275 billion (2010 est.)
    crude petroleum, food, manufactures
    Netherlands Antillean guilders (ANG) per US dollar -
    1.79 (2014 est.)
    1.79 (2013 est.)
  • Energy :: CURACAO

  • population without electricity: 14,903
    electrification - total population: 91%
    electrification - urban areas: 91%
    electrification - rural areas: 80% (2012)
    1.785 billion kWh (2012 est.)
    968 million kWh (2008 est.)
    0 kWh (2009 est.)
    0 kWh (2009 est.)
    0 bbl (1 January 2011 es)
    531.1 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    72,000 bbl/day (2010 est.)
    211,100 bbl/day (2009 est.)
    291,700 bbl/day (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (2009 est.)
    0 cu m (1 January 2011 es)
  • Communications :: CURACAO

  • international: country code - 599
    government-run TeleCuracao operates a TV station and a radio station; 3 other privately owned TV stations and several privately owned radio stations (2017)
    total: 138,750
    percent of population: 93.9% (July 2016 est.)
    country comparison to the world: 175
  • Transportation :: CURACAO

  • number of registered air carriers: 2
    inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 11 (2015)
    PJ (2016)
    1 (2017)
    over 3,047 m: 1 (2017)
    total: 550 km
    country comparison to the world: 194
    total: 92
    by type: general cargo 18, oil tanker 1, other 73 (2017)
    country comparison to the world: 89
    major seaport(s): Willemstad
    oil terminal(s): Bullen Baai (Curacao Terminal)
    bulk cargo port(s): Fuik Bay (phosphate rock)
  • Military and Security :: CURACAO

  • no regular military forces; the Dutch Government controls foreign and defense policy (2012)
    no conscription (2010)
    defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands