Celebrating St. Maarten, our national day, is one beautiful experience, where family, nationhood, culture, and traditions are key!
By Josianne Fleming-Artsen, Deputy Minister Plenipotentiary, Den Haag, The Netherlands.
Allow me to present my 37 square mile island, fantastically dutch and delightfully french, the smallest isalnd in the world with two administrations, a country on the north and a collectivity on the south,where the people have lived together in harmony and peace for over three hundred and sixty years, St. Martin. When we speak of the northern (Dutch) part, we say Sint Maarten and when we refer to the southern (French), Saint Martin. But when we speak of the entire island we call it St. Martin. Together St. Martin celebrates its birthday on november 11. It got its name from Saint Martin of tours, which is also a special day in Europe. Nevertheless, the North and South side of St. Martin celebrate this day as one nation, commemmorating our tradition, culture, foods, and customs.
Though small in size, St. Martin has a big character and receives over two million cruise tourists per year, and is noted as one of the most important cruise stops in the Caribbean. Our other port of entry, the Juliana International Airport is noted for its modern look and one and a halve million tourists per year. Our education sysytem stands next to any sysytem in the world and the government is committed and strongly supports quality education. St. Maarten expresses forward thinking policies on cultural heritage, including tangible and intangible with an outlook on an economy , based on tourism with room for development in diversified services. A country blessed by the leadesrhip of its women –the Prime Minste rand President of Parliament, with whom I have the opportunity to lead.
With its new status as country since 10.10.10. a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, St. Maarten is growing up slowly but quickly, and experiencing the pains of any new countrty. St. Maarten is determined to ensure that its people are the prioirity and that education is the foundation of progress at all levels.