The Kingdom of the Netherlands currently consists of the three constituent parts: the mainland European Netherlands, Netherlands Antilles and Aruba. Prior to 1975, Suriname (formerly known as Dutch Guiana) was also part of the kingdom. Before 1954, the "Kingdom of the Netherlands" referred to the Netherlands and its colonial possessions. Before 1830 (formally, 1839) the United Kingdom of the Netherlands also included Belgium.
In principle, the kingdom has a limited central government which is responsible for a limited range of affairs as specified by the Statute of the Kingdom of the Netherlands , from 1954 with later amendments. In practice, this government overlaps to a large extent with the government of the Netherlands. The head of state of the kingdom is the monarch, who is also the monarch of the separate constituent parts -- Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and her legitimate heirs. The monarch heads the executive branch (regering) of the kingdom and each part individually. The monarch is represented by governors in the Netherland Antilles and Aruba. The affairs of the kingdom include:
Other affairs are delegated to the national governments. The statute ended the colonial relationship between the Netherlands on the one side and the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname on the other side. On November 25, 1975 Suriname became independent of the Kingdom. In 1986 Aruba obtained a separate status within the kingdom by leaving the Netherlands Antilles.
Each of the constituent parts has its own document describing the foundation of its government:
The cabinet council of the kingdom consists of the ministers of the Netherlands and for each of the two other parts a minister plenipotentiary.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands has a single seat at the United Nations and is a member of the European Union. However Antilles and Aruba are not considered part of the EU, but rather have the staus of OCTs (overseas countries and territories; in Dutch LGO's, landen en gebiedsdelen overzee). Since citizenship is handled by the kingdom, and not distinguished for the three countries, citizens from all three countries are also EU citizens.
The highest point is Mount Scenery (862 m) on the small island of Saba, Netherlands Antilles.
A joint commission on behalf of the governments of the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles proposed a new structure, in which the kingdom would get its own staff. It would consist of four countries, the Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and Sint Maarten, as well as three Kingdom Islands (Koninkrijkseilanden): Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius. The Caribbean countries would be self-governing, the Kingdom Islands would have a more direct relation with the Netherlands.
The Kingdom Government would consist of the government of the Netherlands and per Caribean country one mandated minister. The Kingdom Islands would be represented in the Kingdom Government by the Netherlands.
The Netherlands has proposed that the new EU constitution allows the NA and Aruba to get OMR-status (Outermost Region, also called Ultra Peripheral Region or UPR, in Dutch UPG-status, ultraperifere gebieden), if and when they wish.