About the Caribbean Netherlands

Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are islands in the Caribbean Sea. Together they make up the Caribbean Netherlands.

Dutch flag

Population: approx. 23,000

Area: 328 km2

Official languages: Dutch, English and (on Bonaire) Papiamento

Currency: US dollar

Islands: Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba

Administrative status: Special municipalities (public bodies) of the Netherlands

The islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are jointly referred to as the Caribbean Netherlands, or the BES islands.

Visiting the Caribbean Netherlands

Are you planning to visit the Caribbean Netherlands? Prepare your trip well. For tourist information, go to tourismbonaire.com, statia-tourism.com and sabatourism.com.

For a stay in the Caribbean Netherlands, you may need a Caribbean visa.

Living in the Caribbean Netherlands

Do you have plans to live on one of the islands of Bonaire, St Eustatius or Saba? There are several matters that need to be arranged first. You can read more about it on Travel and residence - Caribbean parts of the Kingdom.

Doing business in the Caribbean Netherlands

Do you have plans to do business in the Caribbean Netherlands? Make sure you’re well prepared. Learn about the local market, exporting to the islands and finding a reliable business partner. Go to Doing business for more information.


Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba are part of the Netherlands, which is one of four countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The islands are special municipalities of the Netherlands. Unlike normal municipalities, the islands are not part of a Dutch province. This means the island authorities of Bonaire (website in Dutch), St Eustatius and Saba carry out some of the tasks that are normally performed by provincial authorities.

The National Office for the Caribbean Netherlands carries out national tasks on the three islands.


Bonaire was first settled around the year 1000 by the Caquetio people. In 1636 the Dutch West India Company (WIC) took possession of the island.

St Eustatius was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1493. The Dutch took possession of it in 1636.

Columbus also discovered Saba in 1493, but he is not believed to have gone ashore there. The Netherlands took possession of Saba in 1632, but the island changed hands several times before finally coming under Dutch rule again in 1816.

After a referendum on the islands, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba became special municipalities of the Netherlands in 2010.