Friday, October 8, 2010

Saba Island

Saba Island the Netherlands Antilles

Saba is the smallest island of the Netherlands Antilles, located at 17°38′N 63°14′W / 17.633°N 63.233°W / 17.633; -63.233Coordinates: 17°38′N 63°14′W / 17.633°N 63.233°W / 17.633; -63.233. It consists largely of the potentially active volcano Mount Scenery (877 m), the highest point of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Saba has a land area of 13 km² (5 sq. miles). At the 2001 Netherlands Antilles census, the population was 1,349 inhabitants, which means a population density of 104 inhabitants per km². In 2004 the population was estimated at 1,424 inhabitants. The official languages are Dutch, English and Papiamento; although there is a local dialect.
Its current major towns and settlements include The Bottom, Windwardside, Hell's Gate and St. Johns. Both Dutch and English are official languages. Despite the island's Dutch affiliation, English is the principal language spoken on the island and has been used in its school system since the 19th century. The Netherlands Antillian Guilder (ANG) is the official currency, but the U.S. dollar is accepted everywhere on the island. Starting January 1, 2011, however, the U.S. dollar will take over as the official currency.
Saba is home to the Saba University School of Medicine, which was established by American expatriates in coordination with the Netherlands government. The school adds over 300 residents when classes are in session, and it is the prime educational attraction. A.M. Edwards Medical Center is the major provider of healthcare for local residents.
Saba is scheduled to become a special municipality within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and currently the schedule for this transition has been set for October 10, 2010.
The island declared its intention to become independent from the Netherlands Antilles on 1 September 2009 whilst stating that it will adhere to its referendum result of 86% in favour of direct ties with the Netherlands. However, according to Dutch State Secretary Bijleveld for Kingdom Relations, it is at this moment not legally possible for Saba to become independent from the Antilles.

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