US dollar introduced in Dutch Caribbean islands

RNW archive

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The Dutch Caribbean islands of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba have introduced the US Dollar as their official currency to replace the Antillean guilder. As a result, the Netherlands now has two official currencies, the Euro in the European part of the country and the US Dollar in the Caribbean islands. The old Antillean guilder will remain legal tender for one month.

The 'dollarisation' of the islands comes after months of intensive preparations by local banks and businesses. The head of the Bonaire chamber of commerce said local businesses had not used the opportunity to secretly raise prices, but any offenders would be dealt with. All products will be priced in both guilders and dollars for another six months to help customers get accustomed to the new currency.

As part of a process of political reform of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, referendums were held on all five islands which formed the then Netherlands Antilles. The people of Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba voted in favour of becoming special municipalities of the Netherlands. Curaçao and St Maarten voted in favour of an autonomous status within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Netherlands Antilles were formally dissolved on 10 October 2010. The sixth Dutch Caribbean island, Aruba, had already become autonomous in 1986.

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