Although geographically not situated in Europe, Aruba is an autonomous and self-governing state of The Kingdom of the Netherlands and an overseas territory of the European Union.
On January 1, 1986, Aruba became a separate entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba was previously part of the Netherlands Antilles, a six-island federation that also included Bonaire, Curacao, St. Maarten, St. Eustatius, and Saba. Today, the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of four constituent countries that form part of the Kingdom on a basis of equality: the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten. This Status Apart is a form of commonwealth in which Aruba retains strong economic, cultural, and political ties.
Its capital Oranjestad. Located on Aruba’s southern coast, Oranjestad is a bustling meeting place for tourists and locals alike. It is charming yet cosmopolitan, with character all its own. A shopper’s paradise, the picturesque capital offers duty-free shopping and modern shopping plazas. International retailers occupy the main street displaying one-of-a-kind emporiums.
Aruba's modern international airport facility is located 1.5 miles away from Oranjestad. It provides easy access to the world, including direct flights to Europe, North America, South America and the Caribbean.
Aruba’s head of state is the Queen of the Netherlands, represented on-island by her appointed Aruban-born Governor. A 21-member Parliament responsible for legislative matters is chosen by general, multi-party elections that take place every four years. The party or coalition with the most votes places their candidates on the seven-member Council of Ministers; its leader becomes the Prime Minister. Judicial powers lie within the Common Courts of Aruba, in the Netherlands Antilles, and ultimately within the High Court of Justice in Holland.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands is still responsible for Aruba’s defense and external affairs. Nevertheless, Aruba has its own constitution based on western democratic principles and manages its own aviation, customs, immigration and communications.
Arubans patriotically celebrate the National Flag and Anthem holiday on the 18th of March, commemorating the day, in 1948, in which Holland was first presented with a signed petition granting Aruba autonomous status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Ceremonies, expositions, sporting events, and other activities are organized throughout the island in commemoration of this defining moment in the island’s history.
For more information about Aruba, visit the Official Tourism Authority at www.aruba.com. The official tourism
website includes accommodations information, shopping and dining guides, scheduled activities and events,
and other tourist information.