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The Netherlands Antilles

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On 18 March the people of Aruba celebrate Aruba Day. On this national holiday on Aruba, the island celebrates having its own national anthem and flag.

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Aruba
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The flag of Aruba was officially put into use on 18 March, 1976, along with the official anthem, the 'Aruba Dushi Tera', because on that date the Netherlands granted Aruba the right to become independent within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Aruba is part of the Netherlands Antilles. They formed a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands from 15 December, 1954 until 10 October, 2010. Initially it pertained to six islands in the Caribbean Sea.

On 1 January, 1986 Aruba continued as an independent country within the Kingdom. Aruba was granted a special status. From that moment on, the Netherlands Antilles were only made up of five islands. At the same time it was decided that Aruba would become independent on 1 January, 1996. In 1994, at the request of Aruba, the prospect of independence for Aruba was withdrawn.

'Special municipalities'
In 2010 Curaçao and Sint Maarten also received this special status. Saba, Sint Eustatius and Bonaire were named as 'special municipalities' in the motherland as Caribbean Netherlands. The Netherlands Antilles no longer exists as a political unit. We still use the name the Netherlands Antilles as a collective name for all of the islands in the Caribbean Sea that are part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

Various forms of government
The islands were discovered at the end of the 15th century by Alonso de Ojeda . In 1634 they were conquered by the West-Indian Company from the Spanish. In the course of time the islands were under the control of other European powers.The islands had various forms of government. This colonial status came to an end when on 15 December, 1954 after eight years of negotiations the Statute for the Kingdom of the Netherlands was signed by the Netherlands, Suriname and the Netherlands Antilles.

On 25 November, 1975 Suriname became an independent state. Since that time, the Kingdom of the Netherlands consists of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles.  

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