Island Regions of Bonaire

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ISO 3166-2 Newsletter II-3 is dated 2011-12-15. For Bonaire, codes have been assigned to each of the island regions, which it calls special municipalities.

The FIPS code for Bonaire is probably the same as that for Netherlands now, since no separate code has been assigned. Formerly Bonaire was part of Netherlands Antilles, whose FIPS code was NT.

"Caribbean Netherlands" is becoming popular as an informal name for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba.

Newsletter VI-9, revising ISO 3166-1, was published on 2011-06-12. It changes the spelling of "Saint" to "Sint" in the full English country name.

The Netherlands Antilles has undergone a major change. The Working Group on Netherlands Antilles Administrative and Financial Relations recommended on 2004-10-08 that Curaçao and Sint Maarten become self-governing countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (a status similar to that of Aruba), and that Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius become 'Kingdom islands'. The implementation of this move was postponed several times, and finally occurred on 2010-10-10. Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius are now 'special municipalities' of the Netherlands. They now represent the nearest equivalent to the former Netherlands Antilles. They remain an integral part of the Netherlands (as Curaçao and Sint Maarten used to be before this change). They are listed as a separate entity by ISO because it often issues separate codes for remote outlying areas of a country.

Newsletter VI-8, revising ISO 3166-1, was published on 2010-12-15. It cancels the ISO code for Netherlands Antilles, and adds the codes CW for Curaçao, SX for Sint Maarten, and BQ for Bonaire. According to this newsletter, the full name of the country is now "Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba" in English, or "Bonaire, Saint-Eustache et Saba" in French. This naming is somewhat arbitrary, because the area is a grouping of three overseas possessions of the Netherlands that don't necessarily have a collective identity. I have chosen to call it simply Bonaire, for the largest of the islands. Similarly, I have chosen to identify the largest city on Bonaire as the capital, but this may not have any administrative reality behind it.

Update 2 to "Geopolitical Entities and Codes" was published on 2010-11-30. It cancels the FIPS code for Netherlands Antilles, and adds the codes UC for Curaçao and NN for Sint Maarten. Presumably FIPS now considers Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius to be part of the Netherlands.

Country overview: 

Short nameBONAIRE
ISO codeBQ
LanguageDutch (nl)
Time zone-4


In 1900, Curaçao was a Dutch colony, comprising the Netherlands' Caribbean island possessions. In 1948 its name was changed to the Netherlands Antilles. On 1954-12-29, Surinam and the Netherlands Antilles both changed their status from colonies to integral parts of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba split from Netherlands Antilles on 1986-01-01 to become a separate colony. Curaçao and Sint Maarten followed the same path on 2010-10-10. The name Netherlands West Indies has been applied sometimes to the Netherlands Antilles alone, and sometimes to Surinam as well.

Other names of country: 

  1. Danish: Nederlandske Antiller (obsolete)
  2. Dutch: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius en Saba; Caribisch Nederland (variant); Nederlandse Antillen (obsolete)
  3. English: Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba (formal); Caribbean Netherlands (variant)
  4. French: Antilles fp néerlandaises (obsolete); Bonaire, Saint-Eustache et Saba (formal)
  5. German: Niederländischen Antillen p (obsolete)
  6. Icelandic: Hollensku Antilleyjarnar (obsolete)
  7. Italian: Antille fp olandesi (obsolete)
  8. Norwegian: Nederlandske Antiller (obsolete)
  9. Portuguese: Antilhas fp Holandesas (obsolete)
  10. Spanish: Antillas Holandesas, Antillas fp Neerlandesas (obsolete)
  11. Turkish: Hollanda Antilleri (obsolete)

Origin of name: 

Possessions of the Netherlands in the Antilles Islands, which were named for a legendary western island of Antillia.

Primary subdivisions: 

Bonaire is divided into three eilandgebieden (island regions).

Division HASC ISO ISO-aux PopulationArea(km.²)Area(mi.²)Capital
Bonaire BQ.BOBONL-BQ110,791288111Kralendijk
Saba BQ.SBSANL-BQ21,349135The Bottom
Sint EustatiusBQ.SESENL-BQ32,292218Oranjestad
3 divisions14,432322124
  • HASC: Hierarchical administrative subdivision code.
  • ISO: Codes from ISO 3166-2. For full identification in a global
    context, prefix "BQ-".
  • ISO-aux: Alternate codes from ISO 3166-2, if Bonaire is considered
    part of Netherlands.
  • Population: 2001-01-29 census (source [2]).

Territorial extent: 

Each of the island regions is primarily composed of an island of the same name. Bonaire also includes the much smaller Klein Bonaire Island, and other offshore islets. Within the original Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curaçao together constituted the Benedenwindse Eilanden (Windward Islands), and the other three, the Bovenwindse Eilanden (Leeward Islands).

The UN LOCODE page  for Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba lists locations in the country, some of them with their latitudes and longitudes, some with their ISO 3166-2 codes for their subdivisions. This information can be put together to approximate the territorial extent of subdivisions.

Origins of names: 

Sint Maarten: island discovered by Columbus on 1493-11-11, Saint Martin's Day

Change history: 

  1. 1951: Netherlands Antilles organized into the insular communities of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, and the Windward Islands.
  2. 1977: Windward Islands split into Saba, Sint Eustatius, and Sint Maarten.
  3. 1986-01-01: Aruba became a separate country.
  4. 2010-10-10: Curaçao and Sint Maarten became separate countries.

Other names of subdivisions: 

  1. Sint Eustatius: Saint-Eustache (French), San Eustaquio (Spanish), Santo Eustáquio (Portuguese), Statia (informal)


  1. [1] Working Group on Netherlands Antilles Administrative and Financial Relations 
  2. [2] Population and Housing Census 2001 , Central Bureau of Statistics.
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