One Kingdom – Four Countries
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is made up of four countries: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten.
The countries of the Kingdom are Aruba, Curaçao, St Maarten and the Netherlands. The countries work independently on some issues and they work together on others. These are called ‘Kingdom affairs’. The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands explains what the countries do together and what they do independently.
Each country has its own government. There is also a Council of Ministers for the Kingdom, made up of the Netherlands’ government ministers and one minister each for Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten.
King Willem-Alexander is monarch of all the countries in the Kingdom. Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten each have a governor who represents the monarch.
The governors’ websites give detailed information about passports, visas and naturalisation.
The countries of the Kingdom share responsibility for foreign relations and defence. The Kingdom has one Minister of Foreign Affairs and one Minister of Defence. The embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions also serve the interests of the whole Kingdom.
Aruba, Curaçao and St Maarten maintain their own international contacts in the areas in which they have autonomous responsibility, like education or healthcare. But they must always operate within the framework of the Kingdom’s foreign policy.
Living and working
Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius
Bonaire, Saba and St Eustatius are part of the Netherlands. They are like municipalities, but they do not fall under any province.
You can find information about healthcare, infrastructure, education and taxes on the website of the National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands.