Getting to know Curaçao

Getting to know Curaçao

Getting to know Curaçao

The island of Curaçao lies in the Southern Caribbean about 70 km (44 miles) to the north of Venezuela. Curaçao is the largest of six islands in the Caribbean that together constitute the Dutch Caribbean. The island’s total area is 444 square km (171 square miles). It is generally flat, with a small hilly area in the western part.

Curaçao is characterized by warm tropical temperatures with the highest temperatures occurring in September. The skies are in general mostly clear to partly cloudy. The average temperature in Curaçao is 28 degrees C (76F). Curaçao lies outside the hurricane zone.


Curaçao is an autonomous state within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The island is a politically stable country in the Caribbean region. The form of government is a parliamentary democracy based on such underlying premises as freedom of association, right to form political parties, freedom of the press and freedom of speech. The Prime Minister is head of Government. Curaçao is fully responsible for the conduct of its domestic affairs. Defense and Foreign affairs are the responsibility of the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Government Program ‘Hope and Confidence’ for the period 2013-2016 sets out Curaçao’s primary needs and takes full advantage of its potential with the aim of achieving continuous growth. The plan encompasses five principal strategies:

  1. Nation Building.
  2. Sustainable Economic Development/Recovery and Investments.
  3. Enhance the Quality of Life.
  4. Good Governance.
  5. Responsible and Cautious Budget Policy and Implementation.


Pre 1499

Colonizado por los arahuacos


Discovered by the Spanish Navigator, Alonso de Ojeda


Taken over the Dutch


Rise of the Financial Service Sector


Curaçao gained self-government on 1st of January 1954, as an island territory of the Netherlands Antilles

Mid ‘80

Royal Dutch Shell sold the refinery to a local government consortium. The Government consortium currently leases the rifinery to the venezuelan state oil company PDVSA.

  2011 2012 2013
GDP 3,016.76 3,128.49 3,128.49
FDI 921.23 921.23 956.20
FDI % of GDP 30.54% 29.45% 30.56%
Export Trade Balance 928.10 948.04 709.78
Export Service 1,228.04 1,421.12 1,571.23
  2,156.15 2,369.16 2,281.01
Import Trade Balance 2,129.78 2,254.36 1,922.07
Import Service Balance 794.80 877.09 885.87
  2,924.58 3,131.45 2,807.93

In millions US$

Social Security Premiums

  Percentage Employer Porcentage
premium income (ANG)
Old Age Pension (AOV), Widow Pension (AWW) 9% 6%
(plus 1%
on income
above ANG 100,000.)
Basic Health Care Insurance (BVZ) 9.3% 4.3% 150,000
General Insurance Excepcional Medical expenses (AVBZ) 0.5% 1.5% 490,302.46
Illiness Insurance (ZV) (Loss of income)
(only if income below ANG 69,373,30)
1.9% - 69,373.20
Accident Insurance (OV) (loss of income) (depending on class of risk) 0.5-5% - 69,373.20
Severance Insurance (Cessantia) ANG 40
per year
- -


For 2014 an economic growth of 0.5% is expected. Stay-over tourism and the export of the tourism product are expected to result in an increase of 2%. Other exports of goods and services are expected to increase by 1%.The US and the Netherlands are the most important countries from which Curaçao is importing goods.

Investment Grade

Rating Agency Standard & Poor’s revised Curaçao sovereigns credit outlook from negative up to stable due to efforts from the government to improve its financial position such as reforms to health care and public pension. The rating in 2020 is BBB

Monetary system

Key figures:
Currency: ANG, the (former) Netherlands Antillean guilder, for Curaçao and St. Maarten.
Exchange rate: ANG 1,79 per U.S. dollar (USD) (pegged since 12 December 1971). The official selling rates for other currencies are set daily on the basis of their rate of exchange with the U.S. dollar.
Central Bank: Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten.

Social Indicators

Economic Indicators

Water and electricity are provided for by the state-owned utility company, Aqualectra. The tap water is distilled seawater and safe to drink. The electrical current is mostly 110-130 volts, 50 cycles but 220 volts is available as well. As energy is expensive, the Government promotes the use of alternative energy sources. Solar panels may, for example, be imported free of import duties. Through investing in solar panels one may reduce the cost of energy substantially. Energy costs are estimated at 0.42 US$/kwh.

Curaçao has an efficient and reliable communications infrastructure including direct satellite connections and five submarine fiber cables. There are several wireless and cable internet providers one can choose from. Price will depend on the type of internet connection and the bandwidth selected. The Telecommunication Infrastructure is above average in comparison to the region.

The road network is well developed and main roads are in good condition. An extensive system of paved roads provides easy access to many sites. International road signs are used.

Public education is based on the Dutch educational system. The main institute of higher learning is the University of Curaçao, enrolling over 2,000 students. Other higher education offering on the island include offshore medical schools, language schools and academies for fine art, music, police, teacher, and nurse-training. Every year a number of high school graduates leave the island to continue their education in the Netherlands, the United States or in the region. As a result, Curaçao has a highly skilled labor force.