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The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands (in Dutch: Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden; in Papiamentu: Statuut pa e Reino di Hulanda) is a legal instrument that sets out the political relationship between the four countries that constitute the Kingdom of the Netherlands: Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten in the Caribbean and the Netherlands (for the most part) in Europe. It is the leading legal document of the Kingdom. The Constitution of the Netherlands and the Basic Laws of the three other countries are legally subordinate to the Charter.
The first version of the Charter, which described the relationship between the Netherlands, Suriname, and the Netherlands Antilles, was signed by Queen Juliana on 15 December 1954. This version lasted for a couple of decades until 25 November 1975, when Suriname became an independent republic.
In the Netherlands Antilles, the idea of one state never enjoyed the full support of all the islands, and Aruba seceded on 1 January 1986 as political relations between islands were strained. Aruba gained the same autonomous status as the Netherlands Antilles. The desire for secession had also been strong in Sint Maarten. The Netherlands Antilles was later completely dissolved, on 10 October 2010, when (following referendums) Curaçao and Sint Maarten became autonomous countries similar to Aruba and the other islands became special municipalities of the Netherlands.Aruba's right to secede from the Kingdom was not extended to the successors of the Netherlands Antilles, resulting in Aruba remaining the only country that can unilaterally secede.
The four countries mentioned in the Charter today are the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao, and Sint Maarten.The Charter stipulates that the Netherlands is governed according to the provisions of the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and that Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten are governed according to their respective Basic Laws.
Until 1954 the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was the leading document of the Kingdom. It remains, however, the document in which, according to Article 5 of the Charter, the institutions of the Kingdom are regulated. These institutions, as regulated in the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, govern the Netherlands proper. The Charter itself gives additional regulations for these institutions for the purposes of the Kingdom as a whole. The Netherlands is the only one of the four countries which conducts its business internally and externally as the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Charter states explicitly which elements of lawmaking and policy that involve Aruba, Curaçao and/or Sint Maarten are to be dealt with on the level of the Kingdom as a whole and are thus valid for all four countries. Any matter not explicitly mentioned to be an affair of the Kingdom that involves Aruba, Curaçao, and/or Sint Maarten is considered to be an affair of the different countries.
Affairs of the Kingdom that do not involve Aruba, Curaçao and/or Sint Maarten are dealt with according to the provisions of the Constitution for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and in practice by the Netherlands alone in its capacity as the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Responsibility for affairs of the Kingdom that involve Aruba, Curaçao and/or Sint Maarten rests with the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom. The affairs of the Kingdom are:
In addition, the Charter contains provisions on mutual assistance and co-operation between the four countries. All four countries are, per the Charter, obliged to promote the realisation of human rights and good governance. The Charter can only be amended with the approval of all four countries.
The Netherlands Antilles was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The country consisted of several island territories located in the Caribbean Sea. The islands were also informally known as the Dutch Antilles. The country came into being in 1954 as the autonomous successor of the Dutch colony of Curaçao and Dependencies, and was dissolved in 2010. The Dutch colony of Surinam, although it was relatively close by on the continent of South America, did not become part of the Netherlands Antilles but became a separate autonomous country in 1954. All the island territories that belonged to the Netherlands Antilles remain part of the kingdom today, although the legal status of each differs. As a group they are still commonly called the Dutch Caribbean, regardless of their legal status.
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands in his capacity as chair of the Council of Ministers. The Prime Minister is de facto the head of government of the Netherlands and coordinates its policy with his cabinet. The current Dutch Prime Minister is Mark Rutte, in office since 2010.
The Dutch Language Union is an international regulatory institution that governs issues regarding the Dutch language. It is best known for its spelling reforms which are promulgated by member states, grammar books, the Green Booklet and its support of Dutch language courses and studies worldwide. It was founded on a treaty concluded between the Netherlands and Belgium on 9 September 1980. Suriname has been an associate member of the Taalunie since 2004.
The SSS islands is an acronym which refers to three islands in the Lesser Antilles that are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands:
The Constitution of the Netherlands Antilles was proclaimed on 29 March 1955 by Order-in-Council for the Kingdom. Its proclamation was specifically mandated by article 59(4) of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which had been enacted on 15 December 1954. Together with the Island Regulation of the Netherlands Antilles, the Constitution describes the foundation of the government of the Netherlands Antilles.
Same-sex marriages are not performed in Aruba, Curaçao, or Sint Maarten, which are constituent countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The islands were, however, obliged after several court rulings to register any marriage registered in the Kingdom, but they do not have to give same-sex marriages the same legal effect as opposite-sex marriages. As marriage in the European territory of the Netherlands, as well as in Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba is open to any two people, marriages performed there have to be registered in the islands.
The Netherlands Antillean guilder is the currency of Curaçao and Sint Maarten, which until 2010 formed the Netherlands Antilles along with Bonaire, Saba, and Sint Eustatius. It is subdivided into 100 cents. The guilder was replaced by the United States dollar on 1 January 2011 on Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius. On Curaçao and Sint Maarten, the Netherlands Antillean guilder was proposed to be replaced by a new currency, the Caribbean guilder, but this has been stalled indefinitely by negotiations over the establishment of a separate central bank for Curaçao.
The Netherlands Antilles was an autonomous Caribbean country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. It was dissolved on 10 October 2010.
The Kingdom Games were a multi-sport event that was held every two years between the youth of the countries that were part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. At the final edition in 2009, these countries were the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. The 2010 dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles led to the cancellation of the 2011 and 2013 editions of the Games, and ultimately the Games were discontinued in 2014.
The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom is the executive council of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which is a state consisting of four constituent countries: Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten. The Council of Ministers of the Kingdom consists of the Council of Ministers of the Netherlands complemented by one Minister Plenipotentiary of Aruba, one Minister Plenipotentiary of Curaçao, and one Minister Plenipotentiary of Sint Maarten. The Prime Minister of the Netherlands chairs the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom. Together with the King, the Council of Ministers of the Kingdom forms the Government of the Kingdom, also known as the Crown.
Koninkrijksdag is the commemoration of the signing of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 15 December 1954 in Aruba, Curaçao, the Netherlands, and Sint Maarten. When 15 December falls on a Sunday, the commemoration takes place on Monday 16 December. Kingdom Day is, unlike Koningsdag, not an official national holiday, but government buildings are instructed to fly the flag of the Netherlands.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands, commonly known as the Netherlands, is a sovereign state and constitutional monarchy with the large majority of its territory in Western Europe and with several small West Indian island territories in the Caribbean Sea.
The Franco-Dutch treaty on Saint Martin border controls, often called the Franco-Dutch treaty is a treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and France aimed at improving border controls at the two airports on the island of Saint Martin, which is composed of the Dutch Sint Maarten and the French Collectivity of Saint Martin.
The Caribbean Netherlands are the three special municipalities of the Netherlands that are located in the Caribbean Sea. They consist of the islands of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba, although the term "Caribbean Netherlands" is sometimes used to refer to all of the islands in the Dutch Caribbean. In legislation, the three islands are also known as the BES islands. The islands are currently classified as public bodies in the Netherlands and as overseas countries and territories of the European Union; thus, EU law does not automatically apply.
A common visa exists since the end of 2010 for the territories of Aruba, Curaçao, Sint Maarten and the Caribbean Netherlands which form together the territory of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the Caribbean. The visa is not valid for the European part of the Netherlands, which is part of the Schengen Area.
The government of Curaçao, a "constituent country" of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, takes place in a framework of a parliamentary representative democratic country, whereby the prime minister is the head of government, and of a multi-party system. Executive power is exercised by the government. Legislative power is vested in both the government and parliament. The judiciary is independent of the executive and the legislature. Curaçao has full autonomy on most matters, with the exceptions summed up in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands under the title "Kingdom affairs". The Constitution of Curaçao was ratified in September 2010, and entered into force on 10 October 2010 upon the dissolution of the Netherlands Antilles.
The Colony of Curaçao and Dependencies was a Dutch colony from 1815 until 1828 and from 1845 until 1936. Between 1936 and 1948, the area was officially known as the Territory of Curaçao, and after 1948 as the Netherlands Antilles. With the proclamation of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands on 15 December 1954, the Netherlands Antilles attained equal status with the Netherlands proper and Suriname in the overarching Kingdom of the Netherlands.
The Convention on the association of the Netherlands Antilles with the European Economic Community is an international agreement amending the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, with the aim of awarding OCT status to the Netherlands Antilles, which was a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 1954 until 2010. A full treaty revision was needed because Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and Luxembourg wanted to add a protocol on the import of refined petroleum products from the Netherlands Antilles.
A Kingdom Act is an act of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which scope goes beyond the constituent country the Netherlands, and which is (also) effective in the other constituent countries Aruba, Curaçao and/or Sint Maarten. Kingdom Acts are used for specific areas of law set out in the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, or for those areas where countries in the Kingdom of the Netherlands cooperate voluntarily.
The Dutch Caribbean are the territories, colonies, and countries, both former and current, of the Dutch Empire and the Kingdom of the Netherlands that are located in the Lesser Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea.
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