Curacao and St. Maarten are independent countries after the Netherlands Antilles has been dissolved. Since Sunday, Curacao, with a population of 142,000, and St. Maarten, with a population of 41,000, are independent countries, but part of the kingdom of the Netherlands.

The other three Dutch Islands, Bonaire, Eustatius and Saba, remain municipalities within the Netherlands.

The Netherlands will continue to be partially responsible for Curacao and St. Maarten – for their finances, defense and foreign policy. Their citizens will also remain Dutch nationals with Dutch passports.  However, Curacao and St. Maarten will have greater power in terms of lawmaking and government and will collect their own taxes.

Aruba has enjoyed similar autonomy since 1986.

The island nations are also overseas countries and territories of the European Union through their link with the Netherlands.