Referendum in the Netherlands Antilles

In the late 1990s, the Netherlands Antilles was struggling with a declining economy that offered little hope for the future. The country was also struggling with a gigantic government budget deficit.

Many islanders lived below the poverty line, leading to an enormous rise in crime. Attempts by the then Government of the Antilles to tackle these problems proved unsuccessful. The Netherlands Antilles was also unable to act as a single state or nation. Curaçao was dominant, often at the expense of the smaller islands.

Within the Kingdom

In 2005, the Netherlands Antilles held a national referendum. The results showed that the vast majority of people wished to remain part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, either as an independent country within the Kingdom or as part of the Netherlands itself. The referendum formed the basis for the new constitutional order for Curaçao, St Maarten, Bonaire, St Eustatius and Saba.