Where Is Sint Maarten (and How Many Languages Are Spoken There)?

Sint Maarten is a small island that packs a lot of quirks and interesting features, ultimately making it one of the biggest destinations in the Caribbean. The Dutch side of the island is riddled with a long-shared history, interesting local culture, and multilingual locals that blur the language barrier.
Where Is Sint Maarten
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You will find that Sint Maarten is more than just a tropical getaway, but an island rich in culture and history, one that makes a locale worth the hype. Sint Maarten may be tiny, but it sure is one of the big-league islands in the region.

Where Is Sint Maarten Located?

Straddling across the Lesser Antilles right, the eastern reaches of the majestic and famed Caribbean Sea, Sint Maarten occupies the southern third of the island shared with the French collectivity of the same name, only spelled the French way, Saint Martin. This little beauty of an island neighbors other famed names such as St. Barts to the south, Anguilla to the north, St Barts, and St. Kitts and Nevis to the southeast.

Sint Maarten sits along probably the most famous chain of islands in the Caribbean. The Lesser Antilles, and ultimately the Leeward Islands, possesses many of the most well-known, and well-loved islands in the Caribbean. What makes Sint Maarten even more interesting is how it is shared with the French, which is also in itself one of the big names in the region.

What Time Zone Does Sint Maarten Use?

Sint Maarten uses the AST or the Atlantic Standard Time, which is considered the easternmost time zone in North America, and also used in northeastern parts of Canada, covering parts of the four different provinces of the country. It is 4 hours behind the Coordinated Universal Time or UTC. The French side of Saint Martin also uses the Atlantic Standard Time.

To get a perspective of how the AST differs depending on where you’re from, you can always check on the time difference it has with other time zones. AST is an hour ahead of Eastern Standard Time, the time zone used by the Toronto area in Canada, Mexico’s Cancun, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Panama, and the Cayman Islands.

AST is also 2 hours ahead of Central Standard Time or CST, the time zone used by Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Honduras. If you’re from California, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in the US, you’ll be 4 hours late of the AST, this also applies to British Columbia in Canada, and Baja California in Mexico also called the PST or Pacific Standard Time.

Does Sint Maarten Observe Daylight Savings Time?

Atlantic Standard Time or AST is used in Sint Maarten all year round, and Daylight-Saving Time has never been used on the island. There also haven’t been any recorded clock changes on the island or a shift in time zone use.

How Big Is Sint Maarten?

Despite the island’s large landmass, Sint Maarten only covers 37 sq. kilometers or 14 sq. miles or just 42.5% of the island’s actual 87 sq. kilometers or 34 sq. miles. The other 60% more or less, belongs to the French republic’s Saint Martin.

How Long Is Sint Maarten?

The entire island of Saint Martin, that’s including both French Saint Martin and Dutch Sint Maarten, is a total of 13.4 km or 8.3 miles.

How Many Square Miles Is Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten or the Dutch part only covers14 square miles of land, or just 42.5% of the island’s actual total land area of 34 square miles, with some 60% remaining to the French side.

Is Sint Maarten Volcanic?

The island’s geological features and samples found deep within the earth determine Sint Maarten’s geological history as riddled with a volcanic past. Thanks to Mount Flagstaff, the most prominent height on the island, indicating its explosive past.

Andesite tuff and tuff breccia from the middle and late Eocene, intruded by hypabyssal basalt, quartz diorite, and younger andesite were found on the surface of the island, most likely went through a metamorphosis as the island’s historic volcanic activity stopped and shifted elsewhere.

Does Sint Maarten Have a Volcano?

As mentioned, probably the island’s most prominent geological feature is Mount Flagstaff, an extinct volcano located right at the center of the island. Extinct volcanos are not the stuff of panic and fear as they have a rare to 0 tendency of being active again, and erupting.

What Is the Capital of Sint Maarten?

The Dutch side of Sint Maarten has the capital of Philipsburg the constituent country’s center and main hub. It is an interesting narrow stretch of land, perfectly situated right between the Great Bay, and the Great Salt Pond. The capital also functions as the commercial center of the entire island, French and Dutch sides combined.

Founded in 1763 by John Philips a Scottish captain in the Dutch navy, it quickly became a magnificent and thriving center for trade. After the taking of the island by the Dutch, they erected two iconic and historic structures with strategic importance, Fort Amsterdam and Fort Willem.

Now, Philipsburg continues to be the island’s center of commerce, trade, and lifestyle, however, with no international merchants to deal with, but rather international tourists to cater to.

What Is the Population of Sint Maarten?

According to the most recent records, as of early 2021, Sint Maarten, the Dutch side alone, has a population of 43,451. While the French side of Saint Martin, despite having the larger land coverage, has 39,453 people at the same time.

Does Sint Maarten Have States?

Sint Maarten itself, being a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is in itself an autonomous state within the kingdom. The kingdom of the Netherlands acts as its sovereign state, governing Sint Maarten’s foreign affairs and defense while having autonomy over its internal affairs.

What Country Owns Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten isn’t owned by the country but rather has a political and social affiliation with the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch half of the island is called a constituent country and as is ultimately headed by the Dutch crown, only represented by a Governor.

After the arrival of the Dutch in the European conquest, they built Fort Amsterdam in 1631, and not long after the Dutch West India Company began mining salt on the island. However, the longstanding tensions between the Netherlands and Spain became more intense with the ongoing Eighty Years’ War, which eventually led to the taking of the island by the Spanish in 1633 and drove off the Dutch colonists.

Led by Peter Stuyvesant, the Dutch attempted to retake Saint Martin in 1644 but failed. When Eighty Years’ War ended in 1648 the Spanish no longer sees the value of the island whatsoever, eventually abandoned it

Free again, both the Dutch and the French took the opening to reoccupy the island once again. After what would seem to be a never-ending conflict both sides decided to stop the fighting with the signing of the Treaty of Concordia in 1648, dividing the island into two.

Despite the effect of the treaty, both sides did not give each other an easy time. Due to several conflicts, the border was changed sixteen times from 1648 to 1816. Eventually, the island was under French control from 1795 when the Netherlands became a puppet state under the French Empire until 1815.

Remnants of this power play are seen today of the two countries’ land coverage, with the French having 53 sq kilometers, or 20 sq miles, making up 61% of the island, while the Dutch have 34 sq kilometers or 13 sq miles, making up the remaining 39% of the island’s landmass.

Sint Maarten used to be an absolute headship of the Netherlands since its colonial days, as one of the Dutch West India company’s acquisitions during Europe’s age of conquest in the 20th century.

After which gained its own identity and eventually semi-independence along with many other islands in the region under the Dutch hold. After being incorporated as Dutch territories in the Caribbean, Sint Maarten became part of a federation called the Netherlands Antilles that lasted until 2010.

Now, Sint Maarten has changed its status after the dissolution of the federation with a certain autonomy as a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. In a way, it is owned, or rather semi-controlled by central Dutch powers, with their own internal independence. This status is shared with other former Netherlands Antilles islands such as Aruba, and Curacao.

What Nationality Is Sint Maarten?

Still, a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with their internal autonomy, Sint Maarten and its citizens are Dutch, for all intents and purposes, and are subject to the rights and freedom of the people of the Netherlands. This also means that Sint Maarteners can freely travel to and from the Netherlands in mainland Europe. They are also part of the EU and are considered EU citizens.

Is Sint Maarten Part of the Netherlands?

With the island’s long-standing history with the former European colonial power, Sint Maarten, despite its status as a constituent country of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, is still a part of the country. However, it has its autonomy when it comes to internal affairs, and self-governance, while its foreign diplomacy and defense are controlled by the Dutch government.

After having its semi-independence, Sint Maarten became a part of the federation of the Netherlands Antilles from 1954 along with other Dutch Caribbean islands such as Saba, Sint Eustatius, Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao until its dissolution in 2010.

Sint Maarten officially became a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands on October 10, 2010, along with Aruba, and Curacao.

Are People From Sint Maarten Dutch Citizens?

Sint Maarteners or the official citizens of Sint Maarten are considered Dutch citizens, for all intense and purposes. They enjoy and have the full privilege of the rights and autonomy according to the Dutch constitution. One can become a Dutch citizen via Sint Maarten through the pre-determined laws that constitute citizenship.

Is Sint Maarten an Independent Country?

Sint Maarten is not an independent country but does enjoy sort of a semi-independent status, with a certain level of autonomy from the sovereign state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The Dutch side of the island is a constituent country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and has autonomy with its internal affairs, and is dependent on the Dutch crown for its defense and foreign affairs.

The Netherlands has a slew of territories under its headship around the Caribbean with varying degrees of autonomy and independence. Sint Maarten, along with Aruba and Curacao, were once under the full control of the Dutch crown since their separate conceptions during the European occupation back in the colonial era, now has their fully-established systems and societies, and now are Dutch constituent countries.

Does Sint Maarten Have Its Own Passport?

In the virtue of being Dutch citizens, Sint Maarten doesn’t have its own passport, but rather a Dutch passport. The passport is eligibly given to and used by all the citizens of the Kingdom of the Netherland, constituting all four countries, Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and the Netherlands proper.

Is Sint Maarten in the EU?

Being a part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands as a constituent country, Sint Maarten is a part of the European Union, and thus enjoys the right, and trade advantages it comes with the membership via the Dutch government in mainland Europe.

As one of an EU state’s overseas territories, Sint Maarten also enjoys certain perks like access to some European funds and diplomatic arrangements with other EU states. Saint Martin, the French side of the same island, is a collectivity, an official part of France, which makes it part of the EU, making the French-Dutch border an easier place to cross.

This also means that citizens of Sint Maarten, aren’t only Dutch citizens but EU citizens as well, allowing them to move and reside freely within the EU.

Is Sint Maarten Part of Schengen?

Sint Maarten isn’t in mainland Europe and isn’t a part of the Schengen area. However, citizens of the European Union can move freely within the Schengen Area states, with no border and visa restrictions, which applies to citizens of Sint Maarten as well. Individuals holding a Dutch nationality are granted full access to the Schengen area, given they have a valid passport.

Is Sint Maarten Part of the United States?

Sint Maarten, although having US Americans as its biggest tourist demographic, is not part of the United States of America. The island itself, both the Dutch and French sides, is shared by two different European sovereign states, France and the Netherlands, and is, therefore, part of them.

However, due to the regular high-volume influx of US tourists annually to Sint Maarten, a first-time traveler to the island can easily make that mistake at first. But then again, as you get around Sint Maarten, you will soon realize that it isn’t Americanized but rather very European.

Is Sint Maarten a US Territory?

Sint Maarten, and its other half, French Saint Martin, isn’t a part of the United States of American in any way. The US, however, has a good diplomatic and commercial relationship with the island and the rest of the Caribbean.

Is Sint Maarten Part of the Virgin Islands?

The Virgin Islands, both British and the US are separate institutions in themselves from Sint Maarten. The Virgin Islands are further divided based on their association with other sovereign states.

The US Virgin Islands were historically occupied, and ruled by the Danish, who had a brief stint with colonization, and due to several matters decided to sell the islands to the United States, who at the time was rapidly gaining power and wealth.

The British Virgin Islands were historically occupied by the British, which they took from the Dutch which was initially discovered by Christopher Columbus for the Spanish. The islands were considered to be very strategic and thus played an important role in the expansion of the then-English kingdom, which became Great Britain.

Is There a Border on Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten has one of the most intriguing yet entertaining borders in the world. Other than the obvious natural borders being an island, the border and divisions straddle across the center of the island which they share with the French.

What makes this interesting is that this border may have seen its fair share of conflicts, power plays, and treaty disputes but its value to the economy, and to tourism plays a huge part in what helped the island not just stay afloat, but thrive.

The agreement by both countries to loosen their borders, apart from the fact that both sides are within the European Union, helped further the island’s economy. The island’s economic hub, which means both the Dutch and French sides, is Philipsburg, the Dutch capital, while many of the island’s best beaches are on the French side.

This loose border also allows travelers from either side of the island to cross without complications and restrictions, making traveling and exploring the entire island much more exciting. If you visit Sint Maarten, you’ll automatically have Saint Martin as well. Two birds, one stone. Two cultures, one roundtrip ticket.

What Language Is Spoken in Sint Maarten?

Sint Maarten and the entire island are known to be multicultural and multilingual, so you can expect to hear three different languages while you’re on Sint Maarten. The official language is Dutch, but a local English-based creole is spoken informally between locals.

However, English plays a huge part in the island’s culture and daily life as well, as it is the most used language on the island, and is the first language of most of the inhabitants.

Do They Speak English in Sint Maarten?

Along with Dutch, English is one of the main languages of the constituent country and is also the first language of most natives. If you visit, you won’t have a hard time asking for directions and instructions, or meeting locals as you can communicate with them just fine, given that you also have a good command of the language.

Why Does Sint Maarten Speak English?

The island’s bicultural landscape made way for them to speak in English so as to understand each other in a language that both sides use. The English language’s value holds another importance because of foreign affairs, like trade, diplomacy, and tourism. However, it ended up becoming the dominant language in Sint Maarten, instead of Dutch, Creole, Spanish, and even French.

Do People Speak Dutch in Sint Maarten?

Dutch is Sint Maarten’s official language; however, it may not be many of the inhabitant’s first languages, but English. The Dutch language is still used especially in the government, and other legal matters, also for communication with mainland Netherlands, and other Dutch speakers.