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Presentation of Sint Maarten

Member state: The Kingdom of the Netherlands
Surface area (km2): 41
Population: approx. 50 000, (100 nationalities)
Density (/km2): NA
Capital: Philipsburg


Sint Maarten is located in the North Eastern Caribbean approximately 140 miles from
Puerto Rico.


The island divided in two, Saint Martin (French) and Sint Maarten (Dutch) is the smallest landmass in the world shared by two independent states, France and The Netherlands. The island has low elevations and hilly terrain with the lowest point being the Caribbean Sea and the highest point being Mount William, 386 meters.


There is a gentle trade wind blowing in from the Atlantic Ocean. Average wind speed of 4.1 m/s; average temperature is 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27°C) in the winter and 86 degrees (30°C) in the summer. The sun shines for approximately eight hours a day and the average rainfall annually is about 40 inches. The water temperature is approximately 78 degrees Fahrenheit (25.6°C).

Economic activities

The economy of the island is solely based on tourism. Sint Maarten receives approximately two million tourists yearly. Annual Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is approximately Naf.1.4 billion (US$ 782 million.) Annual average growth rate in real terms is around 2.6 per cent.

Political and administrative status

Sint Maarten is one of four autonomous countries that form the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The political structure of Sint Maarten constitutes a Council of Ministers, headed by a Governor appointed by and representing the Queen. The Hon. Prime Minister Sarah Wescot-Williams leads and chairs a Cabinet of seven ministers. The island is a parliamentary democracy with a 15-member parliament. Members of Parliament are elected for a four-year term.


There are two universities on the island, namely the University of St. Martin (USM) and the American University of the Caribbean (AUC). USM was founded in 1989 and caters to 400 full and part-time students. The university offers a number of associate, bachelor and masters degree programs. AUC offers internationally recognized programs of medical education.


EUROTAST Archeological Research St. Maarten
(a Marie Curie Initial Training Network 2011 project)

This European Union project has been accepted for consideration under the title “EUROTAST” (Marie Curie Initial Training Network on the History, Archaeology and New Genetics of the Transatlantic Slave Trade), and has seven European nations with ten professional institutions involved. The initiator of the project is the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. For the Netherlands full participation in this EUROTAST project, is the combination of Leiden University and the Sint Maarten Archaeological Center (SIMARC), both represented by Dr. Jay B. Haviser (director of SIMARC; and Associate Faculty member at Leiden University). The EUROTAST project is broad-based, with the primary emphasis on providing a multi-national operations platform with both financial and logistical research opportunities for doctorate-level European students in the fields of History, Archaeology and Genetics relating to the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

The research progamme consists of five primary
work packages:

  1. Coordination and Management,
  2. Health and Nutrition,
  3. Origins,
  4. Legacies and Representations,
  5. Dissemination and Public Engagement.

The EUROTAST project is scheduled to be conducted from 2011-2014, and will also specifically highlight awareness of the 150th anniversary of the abolition of slavery in the Dutch colonies in 2013.

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