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BONAIRE | General information

Kingdom Kingdom of the Netherlands
Country the Netherlands
Public entity Bonaire
Capital Kralendijk
Official language Dutch and Papiamentu
Population 18,500
Area 290 km²/112 miles²
Time zone UTC-4
Calling code +599
Currency US Dollar (USD)

Geography and climate
Bonaire is an island that is located in the southern part of the Caribbean sea 80 kilometers (50 miles) north of the coast of Venezuela, 50 kilometers (31 miles) of Curacao and 138 kilometers (86 miles) east from Aruba. Bonaire belongs to the Leeward Antilles, together with Aruba and Curacao the three islands form the ABC-Islands.

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Bonaire includes the main island with an area of approximately about 112 square miles/290 kilometer² (28 kilometers long and between 5 and 11 kilometers wide) and the small island Klein Bonaire (Little Bonaire). Klein Bonaire is un uninhabited island that lies just off the coast of Bonaire and has an area about 6 kilometers² (2.3 square miles). The highest point of Bonaire is Mount Brandaris at 240 meters (787 feet) above sea level.

Bonaire, as part of the Leeward Antilles, is characterized by its tropical climate. The dry season runs from February through June, whereas the rainy season starts in October and ends in January. The average annual precipitation is 500 mm. The year’s average and almost constant temperature is 28°C (82.4 °F). Bonaire lies outside the hurricane belt, but is still occasionally affected by hurricanes.

Population
The population of Bonaire is about 18,500 inhabitants. The population of Bonaire is made up of a variety of nationalities. There is an Afro-Caribbean majority of Creole people. Furthermore most of the immigrants hail from Europe (primarily The Netherlands), South America (Venezuela and Colombia), the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean Islands.

Languages
The official languages of Bonaire are Dutch and since 2007 the native language called Papiamentu, which is a Creole language based on Spanish and Portuguese, with Dutch, English and African influences. Besides the official languages many people also speak Spanish and English.  

Religion
The majority of the people in Bonaire are Roman Catholic 77%. Approximately 10% of the population is Protestant. Because of the different nationalities in Bonaire there are other religious denominations like the Jewish Community and Muslims.

Currency
As of 1 January 2011, the US Dollar became the official currency of Bonaire. The Netherlands Antillean Guilder is no longer accepted as payment for any transaction. The monetary system of the island is regulated by the Bank of the Netherlands (de Nederlandsche Bank).