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Presentation of Aruba

Member state: The Kingdom of the Netherlands
Surface area (km2): 180
Population: 101 484
Density (/km2): 572,6
Capital: Oranjestad

Location

Aruba is a tropical island and is in the Southern Caribbean, about 24 km from the coast of South America. Aruba has good airlines connections with major cities in North America, Europe and South America. The island also receives frequent calls from some of the world’s largest cruise ships.

Topography

Aruba’s landscape is dominated by cactus, palm trees and other tropical vegetation. Compared to other Caribbean islands, Aruba is flat. The highest hill is the Arikok (184 m). The sea on the southside of the island is calm and on this side one finds the world famous white beaches of Aruba like Palm Beach and Eagle Beach. On the sourth side one encounters a very different sea: the water is very rough and the coastline is rocky. The forces of nature have created natural wonders like the Natural Bridge. The area around the Arikok mountain is the Arikok National Park. This is a remarkable area with indigenous species like the Aruban rattlesnake, the Aruban owl and the Aruban dori (little frog). The National Park also contains pearly white sand dunes which are unique for this part of the Caribbean. The sea all around Aruba is studded with tropical corals and colorful fish.

Climate

Aruba enjoys a very healthy and comfortable tropical climate with refreshing northeast trade winds. The median and almost constant temperature is 28ºC, the rainfall is limited to approximately 50 mm yearly, mostly in the months of November and December. Because of the low rainfall, Aruba has a dry climate and arid landscape. The island distinguishes itself from the northern Caribbean by the absence of tropical storms and hurricanes.

Economic activities

Aruba’s main economic activity is tourism. Yearly visits reached over 1.5 million tourists in 2010, either by plane or by cruise ship. On industrial levels there is the oil refinery in San Nicolas and there are other small industrial activities. The economy of Aruba also benefits with a free-zone trading area. The policy of the Aruban government is to increase economic activities based on environmental friendly businesses and green energy. The Netherlands Organization for applied Science “TNO Delft” has recently opened a regional research centre for renewable energy sources. TNO will also provide certification services from its Caribbean headquarters in Oranjestad. Aruba aims to be a commercial hub between Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean and therefore a European House has recently had been established in Aruba

Political and administrative status

Aruba is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and has autonomy over its internal affairs since January 1, 1986. The Netherlands is constitutionally responsible for its defence and external affairs. Aruba is a parliamentary democracy. The Head of State is the Queen of the Netherlands who is represented by a Governor. The government of Aruba consist of a Council of Ministers, presided by the Prime Minister. This council is responsible to a 21-member parliament, the “Staten” which is elected every four years by general elections on the basis of a multi-party system.

Universities / specialities

The University of Aruba provides a master degree in Aruban law and several bachelors degrees in fields such as Accounting & Finance, Hospitality & Tourism management and Arts & Science. Courses are offered in Dutch and English. Aruba also has an accredited Teachers Academy. The Dutch University of applied sciences for fine arts “Gerrit Rietveld Academy” started a preparatory course year in 2011 as an introduction program leading to a full degree in Fine Arts and Design on Aruba.

Focus

GREEN ARUBA - A cross-road for Europe and the America’s.

With over 5000 wind and 2500 solar hours, Aruba holds great potential for sustainable energy generation. Aruba already obtains 20% of its electricity needs from wind, and intends to go to 40% by 2013. We are now setting out the biddings for an additional 10% energy from sun. In two years Aruba will be 50% green.

We are taking a leading role in the region for promoting the use of sustainable energy, and in October 2011 Aruba hosted the second chapter of the Green Aruba Energy Conference with European Commissioner Andris Piebalgs and Crown Prince Willem Alexander of the Netherlands as keynote speakers.

Aruba offers reliable governance and institutions grounded in Dutch traditions with a Caribbean flavor. This combination makes Aruba an ideal base of operation for private business and research institutes interested in doing business in the region where Aruba can function as a gateway to and from Europe. Through the recently established European House Aruba we can facilitate in connecting business communities between the emerging markets of Latin America and Europe.

TNO is one of the premier applied research organizations in the world and has a variety of clients: governments, large companies, service providers and non-governmental organizations. TNO is created under Dutch law to apply scientific knowledge through R&D and independent advice, with the aim of strengthening the innovative power of industry and government. Aruba is home to TNO Caribbean, where research activities in the field of renewable energy are being developed together with top flight European and American Universities. A strong research and educational program is underway with Aruba as a living lab. Aruba strives to become known as the sustainable Caribbean destination and knowledge hub, showcasing cutting edge sustainable energy technology, offering an international training ground for our next generation of sustainable energy professionals. The end result will be both good for Business, good for Aruba and good for the Planet. Aruba, the Green Happy Island.

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