Kingdom of the Netherlands

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Koninkrijk der Nederlanden
Kingdom of the Netherlands
Flag of the Netherlands
Coat of arms of the Netherlands
flag coat of arms
Motto : Je maintiendrai ( French )
"I will withstand"
Official language Netherlands:
- Friesland:
Dutch , West Frisian
- Bonaire:
Dutch , Papiamentu
- Saba and Sint Eustatius:
Dutch , English
Dutch , Papiamentu
Dutch , Papiamentu
Sint Maarten:
Dutch , English
Capital Amsterdam
Seat of government The Hague 1
Form of government Constitutional monarchy

(divided into four countries)

Head of state King Willem-Alexander
Head of government Prime Minister Mark Rutte 2
surface 42,508 km²
population 17,084,700 (July 2017)
Population density 407 ( 17th ) inhabitants per km²
currency Netherlands :
- Euro (EUR)
Curaçao and Sint Maarten :
- Antilles guilder (ANG)
Aruba :
- Aruba florin (AWG)
Special municipalities :
- US dollars (USD)
independence July 2, 1581 (Proclamation)
1648 recognized ( Peace of Westphalia )
National anthem Het Wilhelmus ( Netherlands )
Aruba Dushi Tera (Aruba)
Himno di Kòrsou (Curaçao)
O sweet Saint-Martin's Land ( Sint Maarten )
National holiday Koningsdag
Time zone mainland Europe :

UTC + 2 CEST (March to October)

Caribbean: UTC-4

License Plate NL (Europe)
AW (Aruba)
NA (Former Netherlands Antilles, not yet changed, since October 10, 2010)
Internet TLD .nl (Europe)
.aw (Aruba)
.cw (Curaçao)
.sx (Sint Maarten)
Telephone code +31 (Europe)
+297 (Aruba)
+599 (Curaçao)
+1 (721) (Sint Maarten)
1Meeting place of the States General and the Council of Reich Ministers. The three Caribbean countries also have their own government seats.

2Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Reich . The three Caribbean countries also have their own governments.
Aruba Curaçao Bonaire Niederlande Sint Maarten Saba Sint Eustatius Vereinigtes Königreich Irland Portugal Spanien Belgien Deutschland Frankreich Schweiz Tschechien Österreich Frankreich Italien Marokko Mauretanien Kap Verde Tunesien Libyen Algerien Mali Venezuela Guyana Trinidad und Tobago Dominikanische Republik Puerto Rico Haiti Bahamas Turks und Caicosinseln Jamaika Kuba Kaimaninseln Inseln über dem Winde Vereinigte Staaten Kanada Kolumbien Panama Costa Rica Nicaragua Honduras Guatemala El Salvador Belize Mexiko Niger Nigeria Sierra Leone Guinea-Bissau Guinea Liberia Gambia Senegal Elfenbeinküste BermudaKingdom of the Netherlands in its region.svg
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Niederlande Belgien Deutschland Nordsee Venezuela Aruba Curaçao Bonaire Karibisches Meer Sint Eustatius Saba Saint Martin Sint Maarten Saint-Barthélémy Karibisches Meer Aruba Curaçao Bonaire Niederlande Sint Maarten Saba Sint Eustatius Vereinigtes Königreich Irland Portugal Spanien Belgien Deutschland Frankreich Schweiz Österreich Italien Marokko Mauretanien Kap Verde Tunesien Libyen Algerien Mali Venezuela Guyana Trinidad und Tobago Dominikanische Republik Puerto Rico Haiti Bahamas Turks und Caicosinseln Jamaika Kuba Kaimaninseln Inseln über dem Winde Vereinigte Staaten Kanada Kolumbien Panama Niger Nigeria Sierra Leone Guinea-Bissau Guinea Liberia Gambia Senegal Elfenbeinküste Ghana Togo Benin Burkina FasoKingdom of the Netherlands.  administrative divisions - de (3x zoom) .svg
About this picture

The Kingdom of the Netherlands , Dutch Koninkrijk der Nederlanden , French Royaume des Pays-Bas , English Kingdom of the Netherlands , Frisian Keninkryk fan de Nederlannen , in Papiamento Reino Hulandes , is a state in Europe and the Caribbean . The state is divided into four parts of the state, which are called "Länder" ( Dutch land ). Such a country is autonomous and has its own government and currency . Common tasks of the kingdom exist primarily in foreign and security policy as well as in matters of nationality .

The four countries are:

The kingdom in this sense emerged from the colonial empire of the Netherlands . After Indonesia's independence in 1949, these were still Suriname in South America and the Caribbean islands, which were then combined as the Netherlands Antilles . Suriname gained independence in 1975, while the Netherlands Antilles were dissolved in 2010 (Aruba became an independent country in 1986).

The legal basis for the kingdom is the constitution of the Netherlands and, since 1954, the Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden . The latter regulates the relations between the four countries and the joint decision-making. The three countries in the Caribbean also have their own constitutions, which are called state rules in all three countries .

The kingdom has the Rijksministerraad as a common body . This is the Dutch cabinet, which is being expanded to include representatives from the other three countries. Common laws are passed by the Dutch parliament after hearing representatives from the Caribbean. The head of state of the kingdom and of each individual country is the King of the Netherlands .

The European country Netherlands sees itself as a decentralized unitary state because government tasks have been transferred to lower levels (such as the provinces). There is no generally accepted classification for the kingdom as a construction of four countries. Constitutional historian Tijn Kortmann called the kingdom a federation, but of a very special kind.


History and statute 1954

Since the 17th century, the Netherlands had colonies in other parts of the world. After the Second World War , most of these areas were rapidly decolonized . Under political pressure from the United Nations and the USA , the Netherlands released Indonesia into sovereignty as a separate state . A loose Dutch-Indonesian Union existed until 1954, but it broke up in the dispute over New Guinea . New Guinea remained under Dutch administration for several years. Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles also remained Dutch.

With the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname it was possible to reach an agreement on a new construction of the kingdom. This guaranteed autonomy and equality for the overseas parts of the territory. In 1954 relations between the Netherlands, Suriname, the Netherlands Antilles and New Guinea were regulated by the entry into force of the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles became countries of the kingdom and received internal autonomy.

New Guinea came under United Nations administration in 1962 and was given to Indonesia in 1963. Suriname left the kingdom on November 25, 1975 and became an independent republic. From that point on, the Kingdom of the Netherlands consisted of only two countries.

In 1986 Aruba, until then part of the Netherlands Antilles, was given the status of its own country within the kingdom. From then until 2010, the kingdom consisted of three countries. When Aruba received its "status aparte", the statute of the kingdom provided that it should leave the kingdom in 1992 and thus become independent. However, this project was dropped.

On October 10, 2010, the rest of the Netherlands Antilles was finally dissolved, making Curaçao and Sint Maarten autonomous countries within the kingdom and the islands of Bonaire , Saba and St. Eustatius as special municipalities in the Netherlands.

Reform from 2010

Left to right: Emily de Jongh-Elhage (Prime Minister of the Netherlands Antilles), Atzo Nicolai (Dutch Foreign Minister), Sarah Wescot-Williams (Prime Minister of Sint Maarten) and Zita Jesus-Leito (Member of the West Indies), in November 2006 in The Hague concluding the negotiations

In earlier years the statute of the kingdom was increasingly felt to be out of date. It should therefore be redesigned. Referendums had taken place on all islands in the Netherlands Antilles. The island areas of Sint Maarten and Curaçao wanted to achieve a status aparte (a special status) like Aruba and thus to become independent countries within the kingdom. The populations of Bonaire and Saba were in favor of joining the European Netherlands (and would thus become EU citizens), whereas only the population of the island of St. Eustatius wanted to remain part of the Netherlands Antilles.

On December 15, 2008, Kingdom Day, an agreement on the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles was signed during a round table conference on Curaçao. The final restructuring was finally implemented on October 10, 2010 and the state association of the Netherlands Antilles was dissolved. Since then, Curaçao and Sint Maarten have belonged to the kingdom as new autonomous countries, comparable to the status of Aruba.

The islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba were given a new status as “special parishes” (bijzondere gemeenten) within the Netherlands without belonging to a Dutch province. Each of these three islands has a Gezaghebber (comparable to a mayor), a bestuurscollege and an eilandsraad . These three islands are often called BES-eilanden after the first letter . The official name is Caribbean Netherlands (Caribisch Nederland); this is not to be confused with the Dutch Caribbean, by which all islands are meant (the three countries as well as the BES-eilanden ).

The BES islands initially kept the Antillian laws, but have to gradually adopt Dutch laws. This is a particularly controversial issue when it comes to issues such as homosexual marriage or euthanasia. In 2011 the Dutch education laws were adopted, although z. B. the foreign language German was replaced by Spanish. The Rijksdienst Caribisch Nederland, which represents the Dutch state on these islands, has existed since 2008. It reports to the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations .

area Part of the kingdom before October 10, 2010 Part of the kingdom since October 10, 2010
Netherlands (European area) NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands
BES Islands ( Bonaire , Sint Eustatius and Saba ) Netherlands AntillesNetherlands Antilles Netherlands Antilles
Curacao CuracaoCuracao Curacao
Sint Maarten Sint MaartenSint Maarten Sint Maarten
Aruba ArubaAruba Aruba ArubaAruba Aruba

Lands of the kingdom

The kingdom has a total population of around 16.87 million people and a population density of 397 inhabitants / km². In the European part the population density is only slightly higher at 399 inhabitants / km².

The European Netherlands borders on Germany and Belgium. Of the Caribbean islands, only Sint Maarten has a border with another state: More precisely, this country is located on the island of St. Martin , on which there is also a French overseas territory, Saint-Martin

Geographically, the islands in the Caribbean are divided into two groups:

  • The so-called ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curaçao) are located off the South American coast, across from Venezuela . They belong to the Leeward Islands , which in turn are part of the Lesser Antilles .
  • The so-called SSS islands (Sint Eustatius, Saba, Sint Maarten) are to the north and also belong to the Lesser Antilles, but to the islands over the wind .

The highest point in the kingdom is the volcano Mount Scenery on Saba, one of the BES islands , with 887 meters. The Vaalserberg (323 meters) is highest in the European Netherlands .

Dutch is the official language throughout the kingdom. Papiamento (also: Papiamentu) is often spoken in the Caribbean . This is a Creole language that originated from Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch and other influences.

Part of the kingdom location population surface Population
currency Official languages; Further
NetherlandsNetherlands Netherlands Europees Nederland The Netherlands (incl. BES) in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.svg 16,570,613
41,526 km² 399 inhabitants / km² Euro (EUR) Dutch; Frisian
Caribbean Netherlands (BES Islands) 18,401
322 km² 57 inhabitants / km² US dollar (USD) Dutch; English Spanish
ArubaAruba Aruba Aruba in the Kingdom of the Netherlands, svg 106,050
180 km² 589 inhabitants / km² Aruba Florin (AWG) Dutch, Papiamento; Spanish, English
CuracaoCuracao Curacao Curacao in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.svg 142,180
444 km² 320 inhabitants / km² Antilles guilder (ANG) Papiamento, Dutch, English; Spanish
Sint MaartenSint Maarten Sint Maarten Sint Maarten in the Kingdom of the Netherlands.svg 33,119
34 km² 974 inhabitants / km² Antilles guilder (ANG) Dutch, English; Spanish, local Creole
Map with the countries on the same scale

Structure and functionality


A meeting of the Reichsministerrat in July 1971

The kingdom is a legal entity under international law and has no property of its own. The statute determines which organs the kingdom has.

The king is head of the kingdom. In Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, the king is represented by a governor who is appointed by the monarch on the proposal of the respective government. The statute recognizes the Reichsministerrat, the Staatsrat of the kingdom and the legislative power of the kingdom as further organs of the kingdom. These organs are, however, organs of the Netherlands: the organ is either expanded to include representatives from the other countries, such as the Council of Ministers of the Reich, or the other countries receive a share in another way.

The High Council of the Netherlands in The Hague is the Supreme Court for the Netherlands. According to the statute, the High Council is also designated as the Supreme Court for Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, respectively. Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands also have a common court of justice.

The structure of the kingdom has sometimes been compared to federal structures. However, the kingdom does not have its own organization, and the distribution of power between the four countries is very unequal. However, the statute can only be changed if all four countries agree; a country cannot unilaterally leave the Reichsverband either. Even in the consciousness of the Dutch, the idea of ​​a kingdom with four countries is weak. The word empire can be found both in terms for the entire kingdom and for institutions only in the Netherlands.

Kingdom affairs

Affairs of the kingdom are the handling of independence, foreign relations, defense , the legal regulation of citizenship , the legal regulation of the knightly orders, the flag and the coat of arms of the kingdom, the nationality of ships, legal provisions regarding seagoing ships which use the flag of the Kingdom (except sailing ships), the naturalization and deportation of Dutch and foreigners and extradition .

The safeguarding of human rights and fundamental freedoms , legal certainty and the suitability of the administration are also matters of the kingdom. Other matters can be made a matter of the kingdom.

Imperial laws

When laws are made on kingdom affairs, the kingdom legislature has jurisdiction. Its laws are called "imperial laws" (rijkswet). Exceptions are matters of the Kingdom that only apply to the Netherlands. According to Articles 10 and 14 of the Statute, the Netherlands treats these as the Kingdom of the Netherlands without following the procedures of the Statute.

The legislature of the kingdom consists of the Reichsministerrat and the States General , the parliament in The Hague. The states, the respective representative bodies of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, are also involved. The states cannot veto, but the authorized ministers of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten can declare in the Imperial Council of Ministers that their country would be seriously disadvantaged by an existing draft law. The law can then only be passed if it is determined that it will not apply in the country of the relevant minister, unless the unity of the kingdom makes this exceptional position impossible.

In addition, the authorized ministers and extraordinary representatives of the respective states can lodge complaints at the negotiations in the states general. If the Second Chamber of the States General passes the draft of a Reich law despite the objection of an authorized minister with less than three fifths of the votes, the parliamentary discussion is interrupted for a discussion of the draft law in the Council of Ministers.

The state regulations of Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten as well as the constitution of the Netherlands are subordinate to the statute of the kingdom. However, the Dutch constitution sometimes has consequences for the entire kingdom, e.g. B. in the regulation of the succession of the royal family. In these cases the Dutch constitution can only be changed by an imperial law. Likewise, the articles of the Dutch constitution relating to human rights can only be changed by an imperial law, as safeguarding human rights is a matter for the entire kingdom.

A change in the statute of the kingdom itself is only possible by means of an imperial law. However, an imperial law to change the statute is only possible after this change has only been passed by law in Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten.

International cooperation and relationship with the EU

The Kingdom of the Netherlands is a member of the following international organizations, among others:

Even if the whole kingdom is always a member of an organization, countries of the kingdom are often excluded from the respective provisions or they only apply there to a limited extent. This often applies to the Caribbean countries, for example in relation to the EU. Formally, the entire Kingdom of the Netherlands is a member of the European Union . Actually, however, are Aruba , Sint Maarten , Curacao despite the country - and the Netherlands belong - the BES islands as "Overseas countries and territories" (overseas countries and territories) the fourth part of according to the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union . In these areas only individual aspects of European law apply , and according to Art. 3 Paragraph 1 Customs Code they also do not belong to the customs territory of the European Union. However, since citizenship law is a matter of the whole kingdom, the citizens of the overseas parts of the kingdom are still Union citizens .

See also

Portal: Netherlands  - Overview of Wikipedia content on the subject of Netherlands

Web links

Wiktionary: Kingdom of the Netherlands  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations
Commons : Kingdom of the Netherlands  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Netherlands  - travel guide

References and comments

  1. CIA World Factbook 2017
  2. without Aruba (AW), Curaçao (CW) and Sint Maarten (SX)
  3. Kenniscentrum Wetgeving s Legal zaken Justice Department call on July 3, 2020th
  4. CAJM Kortmann: Constitutioneel right . Deventer 2005, p. 107.
  5. CIA World Factbook 2007 - Netherlands (English)
  6. Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden, Art. 18

Coordinates: 52 °  N , 6 °  E