Doing business in Caribbean Netherlands



Bonaire is the most eastern of the Lesser Antilles (Aruba, Curaçao en Bonaire) and is located 65 kilometer north of Venezuela. After the discovery of the island by the Spaniards, the Dutch took over in 1633. They built Fort Orange. Salt production was the major economic activity for centuries.

bonaire_dutchcaribbeanPopulation is 18.500 people of whom 80% have the Dutch nationality. Most of them were born on one of the neighboring Antilles. The main and original language is Papiamentu. Most people speak Dutch (the official language), English and for a large part also Spanish. Bonaire is attractive to investors as it can be seen as a stepping stone to the rest of the Caribbean and to Latin America. It has a fair infrastructure, a modern health system, Dutch style education system , low taxes (no profits tax), a well skilled labor force and a fine living environment. Electricity is reasonably priced, compared with the region, and most importantly: stable with few power cuts. Imports of Bonaire exceed its exports more than tenfold, inflation is however quite moderate.

The island is famous for its diving locations and quiet friendly atmosphere, reason why tourism is a main if not THE economic sector. Cruises frequently attend the island bringing ca. 160.000 tourists per year, while the number of stay over tourists arriving by air transport is appr. 130.000 per year. The Bonaire Government is eager to enhance the economic development of the island. The Netherlands Government in The Hague does support the local government in this endeavor. Expanding of (eco)tourism, knowledge centers and horticulture are the main target sectors. Nature conservation is a major policy goal, so a sustainable development is key. There are two major companies on the island: Cargill Salt Company and the Bonaire Petroleum Corporation N.V. (Bopec).

St. EUSTATIUS, also named STATIA

Also called “The Golden Rock”! Statia lies in the northern Leeward Islands portion of the West Indies, southeast of the Virgin Islands.

statia_dutchcaribbeanThree hundred years ago, every Buccaneer, Admiral, Sea-swab and Pirate knew of the “Golden Rock” because of certain types of business. During the latter part of the 17th century and throughout the 18th century, St. Eustatius was a major trading center with some 20,000 inhabitants and thousands of ships trading goods in the harbor. Now far less crowded, this is an unhurried and unspoiled spot.

The 4000 Statians have a love for different cultures and speak several languages, including English, Dutch and Spanish. Dutch is the official language used in government administration and schools. The education system is European and more specifically, Dutch. General Instruction is now given in the Dutch language. However there is a change towards English as instruction language. English and Spanish are taught in the schools. The range of educational facilities include primary, elementary, secondary and vocational. Scholarships, loans and grants are available for further study in the Netherlands, the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Some 11.000 tourists per year are visiting Statia. The Government of St. Eustatius is actively pursuing investors in the tourism, service and light industry sectors. The St. Eustatius “Strategic Development Plan” highlights tourism as the main potential area for growth. The Spatial plan includes areas for tourism development in, among others, Lower Town, Zeelandia, White Wall and Venus Bay. Most potential properties are government owned and available for long lease. Attractions are a vast inventory of historic sites and buildings (Fort Oranje, synagogue, etc.) and nature reserves like the dormant volcano “The Quill” and the marine park. Priority is given to increase tourism accomodations, complimentary services including dive tourism, yachting and small upmarket cruise tourism. A big employer on the island is NUSTAR, an American oil storage company. Agriculture is a new sector with quite some potential.
St. Eustatius offers potential investors: peace & tranquility, close proximity to St.Maarten, stable government and a multi-ethnic multi-lingual community .

For more information on investment opportunities in St. Eustatius you can contact the department of economic affairs, email: or phone: +599 3180051
Or address the Chamber of Commerce and Industry St. Eustatius & Saba: tel +599 318 3332,


Saba is known as the “Unspoiled Queen of the Caribbean”. With only 2000 inhabitants this is the smallest of the Caribbean islands that are part of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.

saba_dutchcaribbeanIn 1640, the Dutch West Indian Company, which had already settled on the neighboring island of St. Eustatius brought people over to Saba in order to colonize the island. However, for almost 200 years the island switched hands between The Dutch, Spanish, French and English. During this period the village of “The Bottom” was established 300m up from Fort Bay. Today it is the administrative center and capital of the island.

After much toing and froing the Dutch won out in 1816 and this still remains the case.
Today Saba’s guests will discover a mixed population of European, African and Latin descendents, speaking English, Dutch and Spanish. Saban houses and infrastructure are well kept, the gardens team with flowers and the doors seldom are locked. You’ll find no franchises here. Small eclectic bars and restaurants and nice hotels offer an attractive ambiance.

More than 10.000 tourist a year are arriving per plane, and some 5 thousand by ferry from StMaarten. Apart from tourism, Saba gets a lot of its vibe by the presence of the American Medical School, with some 500 students. Electricity production is stable, drinking water is distributed by private companies. Health care and education are in order, though for other than basic care and education people have to attend to for instance St Maarten.

For more information on investment opportunities in Saba e-mail at
Or address the Chamber of Commerce and Industry St. Eustatius & Saba: tel: +599 4161050, email: