What does 'equivalency of the four countries' mean in the context of the Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands?

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The Politicus
Mar 17, 2021 11:33 AM 0 Answers
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The Charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands uses the word gelijkwaardigheid (equivalency) as opposed to gelijkheid (equality) between the four countries (the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten) in the kingdom.

I am wondering about the significance of that distinction. Obviously, the Netherlands is very different from the other three countries: it's bigger (economically and by population) and it's in the European Union whereas the others are in the Caribbean.

This distinction is mentioned by Dutch state news NOS in its reporting of Saint Maarten's request for the UN special rapporteur on racism to investigate the Netherlands. The allegation is that the government of the Netherlands withholds funds to Sint Maarten until it passes certain reforms. The article quotes a Dutch state news correspondent saying:

De hoogste wet in het koninkrijk spreekt van gelijkwaardige landen, Curaçao, Aruba, Sint-Maarten en Nederland. Maar dat is niet zo: Nederland deelt als rijkste land de lakens uit. Het gevoel van racisme komt voor uit deze verhoudingen.

(loosely translated)

The highest law in the kingdom refers to an equivalency relation between the countries, Curaçao, Aruba, Sint Maarten, and the Netherlands. But that is not true: as the richest country, the Netherlands sets the rules. The feeling of racism comes from this relationship.

That the Netherlands is the largest and wealthiest of the four countries isn't new. As such, I'm wondering if there is any background as to what the equivalency relation in the charter means. Perhaps there has been debate discussing that description when the charter was drafted?

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  • March 17, 2021