Guide to Doing Business
in St. Maarten
|Official language||Dutch and English|
|Area||87 km²/33.5 miles²|
|Time zone||UTC -4|
|Currency||Netherlands Antillean Guilders (ANG)|
Geography and climate
In the northeast Caribbean St. Maarten is situated about 300 km (186 miles) east of Puerto Rico and very close to the British island of Anguilla and the French St. Barthelemy (St. Barths). St. Maarten consists of a Dutch and a French part, the latter of which does not form part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is not covered in this publication.
St. Maarten has an area of approximately 87 kilometers² (approximately 33.5 miles²), but the island is divided roughly 60/40 in a French part (53 kilometers²; approximately 20.5 mile²) and a Dutch part (34 kilometers²; approximately 13 miles²). It is the smallest inhabited sea island divided between two nations, a division dating to 1648. The southern “half” is the part that has an independent status as a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The northern (French) half comprises the Collectivité de Saint-Martin (Collectivity of St. Martin) and is an overseas collectivity of France.
St. Maarten, as part of the Leeward Islands, has a tropical maritime climate. The mean annual temperatures range from 17° C (62.6° F) to 35° C (95° F). There is a rainy season from October to January. The average annual precipitation is 995 mm (approximately 39 inches). From July till November, St. Maarten can be subject to hurricanes.
St. Maarten has about 40,000 inhabitants. The population of St. Maarten is made up of a variety of nationalities. A small majority of the people has the Dutch nationality, many other nationalities are represented. Immigrants hail mainly from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Jamaica and the United States.
The official languages of St. Maarten are Dutch and English. However, English is the most widely spoken language on the island. On the St. Martin side the official language is French.
The majority of the people in St. Maarten are Roman Catholic 39%. Approximately 12% of the population is Protestant. Because of the different nationalities in St. Maarten there are other religious denominations like the Jewish Community, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Pentecostal Church and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
The Netherlands Antillean Guilder (ANG, often referred to as NAF, an abbreviation of the Netherlands Antillean Florin) is the official currency of St. Maarten. The exchange rate has been pegged to the US Dollar since 1971. The US Dollar is also widely excepted on the island. In practice that is the most important currency on the island. The monetary system of the island is regulated by the Central Bank of Curaçao and St. Maarten.