Aruba has been a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands since its inception in March 1815. In fact, relations between Aruba and the Netherlands date back to 1634 when the Dutch settled on the island.
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Aruba and the Kingdom of the Netherlands
Aruba has been closely linked with the Netherlands, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the other Dutch Caribbean islands since 1634, when Dutch settlers established in the Caribbean.
Aruba obtained its autonomous status in 1986, and therefore controls and manages its own internal affairs. However, as it is still part of the Kingdom, it does share responsibilities for certain external affairs. Specific areas such as those relating to nationality, defense and extradition are controlled by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
It is the entirety of the Kingdom that is a state. As a result, the individual autonomous countries within the Kingdom do not have an international legal personality. Therefore, Aruba is not able to sign EU treaties, for example. This is the task of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Politics and government
The institutions established in Aruba have created a politically stable island with relatively low crime rates.
The political organization in place is a parliamentary democratic system, reflecting the principles of equality and the rule of law. Given its long extensive historical links with the Netherlands, Aruba’s institutions are modelled after the institutions of the Netherlands.
Aruba as an autonomous country has its own executive, legislative and judiciary branches, which are responsible for the well-being of its inhabitants. The executive branch includes the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers. The legislative branch consists of 21 elected members of Parliament.
Lastly, the judiciary branch includes the Court of First Instance, the Common Court of Justice in Curaçao and the Supreme Court in the Netherlands.
Aruba is economically autonomous. It has been largely dependent on tourism, but its efforts to diversify the economy have been increasingly successful. Newer industries, such as sustainable energy development, are gaining importance.
Additionally, Barcadera, the newly opened harbor, and the Freezone function as regional business gateways where transshipments are shipped to other countries in smaller boats.
One important aspect of Aruba’s multicultural society is language. A variety of languages are spoken in Aruba, and most people are multilingual. The two official languages are Dutch and Papiamento (an Afro-Portuguese creole infused with Spanish, English and Dutch), and most inhabitants also speak English and Spanish.
Carnival, another aspect of culture, is celebrated annually and involves a lot of colors, singing, dancing and parades.
Geography and climate
Aruba is one of the smaller islands in the Caribbean. Thanks to its location, it is usually around 82 degrees in Aruba.
During hurricane season, there are occasional showers, but as Aruba usually lies outside of the hurricane belt, the island doesn’t experience the whole extent of the hurricanes.
Being surrounded by the ocean, Aruba boasts a variety of beaches and “bocas,” or openings. These beaches vary from clear blue waters and white sand to rough waters and rocky roads.
Furthermore, Aruba has a relatively dry climate. However, the wind is omnipresent and cools the island. Because of the dry climate and constant winds, the vegetation consists of cacti, aloe, and kwihi trees.
The Ministry of Education provides and safeguards inclusive and equitable quality education to all children and youth on Aruba, and has developed lifelong learning opportunities for the community. Children are stimulated and supported to discover their gifts and talents and to be creative. Education is compulsory between the ages of four and seventeen.
Healthcare, sports and well-being
In Aruba, health, happiness and well-being are interconnected and high on the agenda. The country provides universal access to healthcare. Every legal citizen and resident is eligible, regardless of their age, gender, income or medical history. There is equal access to a guaranteed and comprehensive package of health benefits, with the possibility of supplementary insurance by private companies.
As part of its urban renewal plan, Aruba is making more parks and public spaces available for, and conducive to, walking, jogging, and cycling. Perhaps the single best example is the construction of a linear park that will follow the coastline from Reina Beatrix International Airport to Palm Beach, home of Aruba’s upscale hotels. The park, when completed, will be one of the world’s longest linear parks.
Aruba’s mission includes better living standards. As Prime Minister Mike Eman said, “We have five-star hotels in Aruba, but we also want five-star schools, hospitals, elderly people’s homes, neighborhoods and a five-star quality of life.”
The goal is to create sustainable prosperity that focuses on "doing more with less," so that the quality of life for future generations will not be impacted by today’s prosperity.