Aruba General Information

Aruba General Information

Background: Discovered by Spain, who claimed the island in 1499, Aruba was acquired by the Netherlands in 1636. The island’s economy is dominated by three main industries. According to agooddir, the gold rush of the 19th century was followed by a period of prosperity, caused by the opening of an oil refinery in 1924. The last decades of the 20th century were marked by a rapid growth in tourism. Previously, Aruba was one of the Dutch Antilles, became an autonomous part of the Netherlands in 1986. In 1990, Aruba initiated the abolition of the agreement that provided for the automatic granting of independence to the island in 1996.


Location: Caribbean region, an island in the Caribbean, north of Venezuela.
Geographic coordinates: 12° 30′ N. latitude, 69° 58′ W e.
Reference map: Central America and the Caribbean.
Area: total: 193 km2; land surface area: 193 km2; water surface area: 0 km2
Comparative area: slightly larger than Washington, DC.
Land borders: 0 km.
Coastline: 68.5 km.
Maritime claims: territorial waters: 12 nautical miles.
Climate: tropical marine; little seasonal temperature variation.
Relief: flat with few hills; sparse vegetation.
Maximum and minimum heights: lowest point: Caribbean Sea 0 m; highest point: Mount Yamanota 188 m
Natural resources: negligible; white sand beaches.
Land use: arable land: 7%, including aloe plantations – 0.01%; cultivated land: no data; pastures: no data; forests and plantations: no data; others: 93% (1993 est.).
Irrigated land: 0.01 km2
Natural hazards: none; located outside the Caribbean hurricane belt.
Current environmental issues: no data available.
International agreements on environmental protection:
Note to the section “Geography”:


Population: 70,007 people (July 2001 est.).
Age structure: under 14: 21.29% (men 7,709; women 7,193); 15 to 64 years old: 68.52% (male 23,111; female 24,859); over 65: 10.19% (male 2,954; female 4,181) (2001 est.).
Population growth: 0.64% (2001 est.).
Birth rate: 12.64 newborns / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Mortality: 6.21 deaths / 1000 people. (2001 est.).
Migration: negligible (2001 est.).
Sex ratio: at birth: 1.05 male/female; under 15: 1.07 male/female; 15 to 64 years old: 0.93 male/female; over 65: 0.71 male/female; for the general population: 0.93 male/female. (2001 est.);
Child mortality: 6.39 deaths/1000 live births (2001 est.).
Life expectancy: for the general population: 78.52 years; men: 75.16 years; women: 82.04 years (2001 est.);
General birth rate: 1.8 children/wives. (2001 est.).
Proportion of the adult population infected with HIV: no data available.
Number of people infected with HIV: no data.
AIDS mortality: no data available.
Nationality: noun: Aruba; adjective: Aruba.
Ethnic groups: descendants of whites and Caribbean Indians 80%.
Believers: Catholics 82%, Protestants 8%, Hindus, Muslims, Confucians, Jews.
Languages): Dutch (official), Papia Mento (Spanish-Portuguese-Dutch-English dialect), English (widely used), Spanish.
Literacy: definition: no data; for the general population: 97%; men: no data; women: no data. State Name:


Common long form: no;
Common short form: Aruba. Dependency state: part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands; enjoys full autonomy in internal affairs, acquired in 1986 after separation from the Netherlands Antilles; The Dutch government is responsible for defense and foreign policy.
State structure: parliamentary democracy.
Capital: Oranjestad.
Administrative division: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands).
Independence: none (part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands).
National holiday: Flag Day, 18 March.
Constitution: adopted January 1, 1986
Legal system: based on the Dutch civil law system, with some English common law influences.
Suffrage: from 18 pet; universal.
chief of state: Queen BEATRIX Wilhelmina Armgard of the Netherlands (since 30 April 1980), represented by Governor General Olindo KOOLMAN (since 1 January 1992);
head of government: Prime Minister Jan (Hen-HH) 3MAH (Jan[Henny] H.EMAN) (since 29 July 1994), Deputy Prime Minister Dr. Lili BEKE-MARTINEZ (Dr. Lili BEKE-MARTINEZ) ( since when – no data);
Government: Council of Ministers (elected by the States); elections: hereditary monarchy; the governor general is appointed by the monarch for 6 years; Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister are elected by the States for 4 years; elections last held 12 July 1997 (next to be held in December 2001); election results: Jan (Henny) EMAN elected prime minister; distribution of votes of legislators: no data; Lily BEKE-MARTINEZ elected Deputy Prime Minister; distribution of votes of legislators: no data.
Legislature: unicameral Legislative Assembly (States) (21 seats; members elected by direct popular vote for 4 years); elections: last held 12 December 1997 (next to be held in December 2001); election results: distribution of votes between parties: AVP 43%, MEP 39%, OLA 9% PPA 4%, ADN 2%, PARA 1%, MAS 0.5%; distribution of seats among parties: AVP 10, MEP 9, OLA 2.
Judicial branch: Single supreme court (judges are appointed by the monarch).
Political parties and leaders: Democratic Party of Aruba (PDA) (Leo BERLINSKI [Leo BERLINSKI]); Liberal Party of Aruba (OLA) (Glenbert CROES); Patriotic Party of Aruba (PPA) (Benny NISBET); People’s Party of Aruba (AVP) (Tico CROES [Tico CROES]); Aruba Solidarity Movement (MAS) (leader – NA); Movement of Voters (MER) Party (Nelson ODUBER); For the Immediate Reorganization of Aruba (PARA) (leader – NA); National Democratic Action (ADN) (Pedro Charro KELLY).
Political influence groups and their leaders:
Participation in international organizations: Caricom (observer), ECLAC (associate), Interpol, IOC, UNESCO (associate), WCL, WToO (associate).
Diplomatic representation in the USA: no (represented by the Kingdom of the Netherlands).
US Mission: Chief of Mission: Consul General Barbara J. STEPHENSON; embassy: J. W. Gorsiraweg #1, Curacao; mailing address: R. O. Box 158, Willemstad, Curacao; phone: [599] (9) 461-3066; fax: [599] (9) 461-6489.
Flag Description: Blue with two narrow horizontal yellow stripes along the lower flank and a red four-pointed star outlined in white in the upper corner.


Economic overview: Tourism is the backbone of Aruba’s economy, although the banking sector and oil refining and storage are also important. The rapid growth of tourism over the past decade has led to a significant expansion of other activities. Construction has increased, hotel capacity is now five times what it was in 1985. In 1993, the refinery was reopened and is an important source of employment and foreign exchange earnings, further boosting the economy. A shortage of workers and an unemployment rate of less than 1% has led to a large number of vacancies, despite a sharp increase in wages in recent years.
GDP: Purchasing Power Parity $2.0 billion (2000 est.)
Real GDP growth rate: 3.5% (2000).
GDP per capita: PPP $28,000 (2000 est.)
Composition of GDP by sectors of the economy: agriculture: no data; industry: no data; service sector: no data.
Proportion of the population below the poverty line: no data available.
Percentage distribution of household income or consumption: 10% of the poorest households account for: n/a; 10% of the wealthiest families account for: no data.
Inflation rate at consumer prices: 4.2% (2000 OTs.).
Labor force: 41,501 people (1997 est.).
Employment structure: most of the workforce is employed in wholesale and retail trade and in the field of repair, followed by hotels and restaurants, oil refining.
Unemployment rate: 0.6% (1996 est.).
Budget: income: no data; expenditures: $541 million, including capital expenditures – NA (2000 est.).
Spheres of economy: tourism, cargo transshipment services, oil refining.
Growth in industrial production: no data available.
Electricity generation: 450 million kWh (1999).
Sources of electricity generation: fossil fuels: 100%; hydropower: 0%; nuclear fuel: 0%; others: 0% (1999).
Electricity consumption: 418 million kWh (1999).
Electricity export: 0 kWh (1999),
Electricity import: 0 kWh (1999).
Agricultural products: aloe; livestock; fish.
Exports: $2.2 billion (including oil re-exports) (2000)
Exports: live animals and animal products, art and collectibles, machinery and electrical equipment, transport equipment.
Export partners: USA 42%, Colombia 20%, Netherlands 12% (1999).
Import: $2.5 billion (2000)
Imports: machinery and electrical equipment, crude oil for refining and re-export; chemicals; Food.
Import partners: USA 63%, Netherlands 11%, Netherlands Antilles 3%, Japan (1999).
External debt: $285 million (1996). Economic aid recipient: $26 million (1995); note: The Netherlands provided a $127 million aid package to Aruba and Suriname in 1996.
Economic aid donor:
Currency: Aruban guilder.
Currency code: AWG.
Exchange rate: AWG/USD – 1.7900 (fixed exchange rate since 1986).
Fiscal year: calendar year.


Telecommunications Telephone lines: 33,000 (1997).
Mobile cellular phones: 3 402 (1997).
Telephone system: internal: more than satisfactory; international: 1 submarine cable to Saint Maarten (Netherlands Antilles); a wide network of inter-island microwave radio relay communications.
Broadcast stations: AM -4, FM -6, shortwave -0 (1998).
Radio receivers: 50,000 (1997).
Television broadcast stations: 1 (1997).
TVs: 20,000 (1997).
Internet country code: aw
Internet service providers: unknown.
Number of users: 4,000 (2000).


Transport Railways: 0 km.
Roads: total: 800 km; coated: 513 km; unpaved: 287 km; note: most roads are paved, unpaved roads predominate inland (1995 est.).
Ports and harbours: Barkadera, Oranjestad, St. Nikopas.
Merchant fleet: total: 1 vessels (displacement of 1,000 tons or more) with a total displacement of 3,120 gross register tons / 3,635 long tons of gross tonnage; ships of various types: cargo ships – 1 (2000 est.).
Airports: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with paved runways: total: 1; from 2438 to 3047 m: 1 (2000 est.).
Airports with unpaved runways:

Armed Forces

Branches of the Armed Forces: Royal Netherlands Navy and Marine Corps, Coast Guard. Armed Forces – Note: Defense is the responsibility of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

International Issues

International issues International disputes: no.
Illicit drugs: money laundering center and transit point for drugs destined for the US and Europe.

Aruba General Information