The Netherlands Antilles were formed in 1954, when the Caribbean islands that made up Curacao and Dependencies were granted autonomy by Holland. The arrangement lasted until 2010, when the Netherlands Antilles was formerly dissolved. Tourism, offshore finance and petroleum were the backbone of the Netherland Antilles’ economy.
The territories that formed the Netherlands Antilles remain part of the Netherlands, though their constitutional status varies. Collectively, the islands are termed ‘the Dutch Caribbean’.
Situated in the Lesser Antilles, the six islands can be divided into two groups: the ‘ABC’ islands – Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao; and the ‘SSS’ islands – Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. Dutch is spoken on all six islands. English is spoken in the SSS islands, and Papiamentu – a Creole language based on Spanish and Portuguese, and containing elements of Dutch and English. Curacao, at 444 km2, is the largest of the six islands.
Tourism plays an important role in the islands’ economy. In addition to the traditional Caribbean attractions of sun and surf, tourists are drawn to Curacao’s beautiful capital Willemstad – a UNESCO world heritage site. Cruise tourism, in particular, makes an important contribution to GDP.
Industry is not limited to tourism. Curacao’s financial services sector is large by regional standards, and the Dutch Caribbean’s security exchange is located in Willemstad. Oil refining is important to the economy of Aruba and Curacao. Shipping and bunkering are important sources of income in Curacao.
HLB is represented in the Dutch Caribbean by HLB Jourdain & Partners. Based in Curacao, HLB Jourdain offer clients a comprehensive range of world-class business services.
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