General information

 

Capital

Oranjestad

Official language

Dutch and Papiamento

Population

107,000

Area

180 km²/ 70 miles²

Time zone

UTC -4

Calling code

+297

Currency

Aruban Florin (AWG)

Geography and climate

Aruba is an island that is located in the southern part of the Caribbean sea 25 kilometers (15 miles) north of the coast of Venezuela and 68 kilometers (42 miles) northwest of Curacao. Aruba belongs to the Leeward Antilles, together with Bonaire and Curacao the three islands form the ABC-Islands.

Aruba is a generally flat island with an area of approximately 70 miles²/180 kilometers² (20 miles long, 5 miles wide). Aruba is widely known for its white sandy beaches on the western and southern coasts of the island, relatively sheltered from fierce ocean currents.

Aruba, as part of the Leeward Antilles, is characterized by its tropical climate. The dry season runs from February through June, whereas the rainy season starts in October and ends in January. The average annual precipitation is 400 millimeters (16 inches). The average and almost constant temperature is 28° C (82.4 °F). Aruba lies outside the hurricane belt, but is still occasionally affected by hurricanes.

Population

The population of Aruba is about 107,000 inhabitants. The Aruban population is made up of a variety of nationalities. Immigrant hail from Europe (primarily The Netherlands), South America (primarily Colombia, Venezuela and Peru), the Dominican Republic, USA, other Caribbean islands, and as far away as China, the Philippines, Suriname and Jamaica.

Languages

The official languages of Aruba are Dutch and since 2003 Papiamento. The Aruban native language Papiamento is a Creole language based on Spanish and Portuguese, with Dutch, English and African influences. Besides the official languages many people also speak English and Spanish.

Religion

The majority of the people in Aruba are Roman Catholic 81% and 3% of the population are Protestant. Because of the different nationalities on the island there are also other religious denominations like the Seventh-day Adventist Church, Jewish Community and Jehovah’s Witnesses.

Currency

The official currency of Aruba is the Aruban Florin (or AWG). The exchange rate is pegged to the US Dollar. The US Dollar is also widely excepted on the island. The monetary system of the island is regulated by the Central Bank of Aruba.

Constitution & governance

Until 10 October 2010 the Netherlands Antilles formed together with Aruba and the Netherlands, the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands Antilles, comprising the islands of Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, was an autonomous country in the Kingdom. After a complex process of dismantling, the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist as from 10 October 2010. As a result of the dismantling process, Curacao and St. Maarten became independent countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands and obtained a status similar to the status the island of Aruba already has since 1986. The islands Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius, often referred to as the “BES islands”, transformed into public entities within the country of The Netherlands.

On January 1986, Aruba seceded from the Netherlands Antilles and gained its own “Status aparte” within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Apart from certain affairs that are considered to be affairs of the Kingdom (such as defense, foreign affairs and citizenship), Aruba has full autonomy. The system of government of Aruba is a parliamentary democracy based on the Dutch model and free elections are held every four years. Aruba is a so called associate member of the European Community. The purpose of such association is to promote the economic and social development of Curacao and to establish close economic relations between Aruba and the European Community as a whole.

Legal system

Aruba has a civil law system. The main body of civil law is the Civil Code. Nearly all laws and regulations are, to a large extent, based on their equivalent in the Netherlands.

Economy

The economy of Aruba is an open system, with tourism currently providing the largest percentage of the country’s income. Because of the rapid growth in the last twenty years, related industries like construction have also flourished. Other primary industries include oil refining and storage, offshore banking and aloe cultivation, while technology, finance and communications are in a developing phase.

Aruba currently has one active free zone. The Free Zone has been operational since the 1950’s. In recent years there has been increasing interest from European, Canadian and United States based business that want to make use of commercial opportunities in Aruba. A free zone company in Aruba enjoys four major financial benefits relating to tax profits.

Other than exchange control, currency regulations and the principle of having at least one local director acting in companies in Aruba (which is not a statutory requirement, but is a principle based on the policy of the Department of Economic Affairs), there are no specific restrictions or authorizations required for foreign investment. However, authorization may be required in certain regulated areas, such as banking and financial services.

  

Regulated industries

Banking

The monetary system of the island is regulated by the Central Bank of Aruba. The principal tasks of the Bank is to maintain the internal and external value of the Aruban Florin and to promote the soundness and integrity of the financial system. To realize these objectives the Bank formulates and implements monetary policy.

Education

Aruba’s educational system is patterned after the Dutch system of education. 

Energy

Water- en energiebedrijf W.E.B. Aruba N.V. is Aruba’s utility company. W.E.B. has been responsible for the production of Aruba’s drinking water and power. The government stimulates the use of natural resource which the island has, like sun and wind.

Healthcare

Aruba has one modern hospital, the Dr. Horacio Oduber Hospitaal (HOH), which is located on Eagle Beach in Oranjestad. Furthermore there is a medical center, Instituto Medico San Nicolas, which offers 24-hours emergency assistance. 

Infrastructure

Aruba’s Queen Beatrix International Airport is located near Oranjestad. It has good air travel links with Europe, the United States, South and Central America and other Caribbean islands. Various airlines maintain facilities in Aruba, both for passengers and airfreight. Aruba has two ports, Barcadera and Playa, which are located in Oranjestad. The Port of Playa welcomes many cruise-ships lines. Aruba’s public buses transportation services is in charge of Arubus, a government based company. Also there are small private vans providing the transportation services in certain areas. Furthermore Aruba has several main roads and one highway that runs across the island.

Telecom

Telecommunications Department (Directie Telecommunicatie Zaken) is the regulatory authority for Aruba communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.

 

 

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