The Dutch Kingdom was chartered by the Statute of the Dutch Kingdom (“Statuut voor het Koninkrijk der Nederlanden”) of 1954.  The Dutch Kingdom provides for amongst others for safeguarding fundamental human rights and freedoms, legal securities and good governance; maintenance of independence and the defense of the Kingdom and foreign affairs. At that time the Dutch Kingdom was formed by three states i.e. the Netherlands, the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname. In 1975 Suriname chose for its independence and the Statute of the Dutch Kingdom was amended accordingly. From 1954 through December 31st, 1985, the Netherlands Antilles consisted of six (6) islands:  Aruba, Curacao, Bonaire, St. Maarten, Saba and St. Eustatius. As a result of a constitutional restructuring Aruba became a separate state within the Dutch Kingdom as of January 1st, 1986. It is anticipated that in 2010 the Netherlands Antilles will be further re-structured constitutionally. It is envisioned that Curacao and Sint Maarten will obtain a separate status (status aparte) similar to Aruba, while the Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius islands will be grouped (“BES-islands”) and will have a direct link with the Netherlands. The changes are expected to take effect as of OCtober 10th, 2010.

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