Saturday, March 22, 2008

Say goodbye to the Netherlands Antilles

Geography buffs, take heed: The Netherlands Antilles will be dissolved on December 15 of this year. Curaçao (home of Dodger Andruw Jones) and Sint Maarten will become their own countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, similar to Aruba's current status (and the current status of the Netherlands Antilles as a whole).
The three smaller islands forming the Netherlands Antilles will become more closely associated with the Netherlands, forming "special status municipalities." It's kind of unclear what exactly this status means. It looks like they won't be fully part of the Netherlands, yet they will be able to vote in Dutch national elections.

Arrangements like this kind of blur the line between independence, dependency, and full integration with the parent country. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, just confusing. For example, the Overseas Regions of France (Guadeloupe, Martinique, French Guiana, and Réunion) are, legally, as much a part of France as Hawaii and Alaska are a part of the U.S., yet people still make a distinction between Metropolitan and Overseas France.

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