Introduction

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Saba and Sint Eustatius (locally called Statia, but also referred to as Eustatia) are part of the so-called BES Islands (Bonaire, Eustatia and Saba). These islands are since 2010 a special municipality of the Netherlands. Saba and Sint Eustatius are part of the so-called Upper Antilles. Despite that they are Dutch municipalities the means of payment is the US dollar. The education facilities are limited on the Islands. There is basic education, but further education is limited. Hence, many children leave the Islands to study elsewhere. This also applies to many men, because the employment on the Islands is also limited. As a result, children are often raised only by the mothers. This often produces educational problems, even if the men are at home. Domestic violence is the biggest problem on the Islands. Also there is little entertainment. This often leads to boredom among young people. There are programs to do something about it.

Saba

It is the smallest island with an area of 13 km2 and approximately 1800 inhabitants (Sabians) and about 200 students who stay there to study at the Saba University School of Medicine. The highest point is Mount Scenery (877 m). There are a few villages on the island such as The Bottom (capital), St John, Windwardside and Hell's Gate. All places are above sea level because the island rises straight up as a mountain from the ocean. The building of a road on the island was therefore also tough job, whose long thought was that it was impossible. The road is called ' The road that could not be built '. By applying lots of turns it was eventually possible. Saba is also a well known as a diving area and the ocean around the island is also classified as Marine Park and is thus protected. By the steepness the dive site here are generally quite deep (20 to 30 meters or even deeper).

Sint Eustatius

It is a small island of about 21 km2 and has approximately 3900 inhabitants. The Southeast side of the island is dominated by the volcano The Quill (derived from the Dutch words 'De Kuil' and is about 600 meters high) and is a national park and to northwest side are a number of storage tanks. In between, in the lower area, is the only village of the island, Oranjestad. Elsewhere on the island people live here and there, but that is not a village. The island has an international airport, although there only are planes from Sint Maarten. There is Dutch and English spoken. A Marine Park that protects the underwater life surrounds the island. It is also a place where many people dive.

More info about Saba

According to geographers Saba was created about 500.000 years ago. Columbus visited Saba in 1493. He found no residents, but there are findings that indicate there were already Indians (Arawak) around 700 AD who temporarily stayed here, but there is also evidence that already 3500 years ago people (Ciboney) lived or have been here. Columbus named the island San Cristobal what later probably was shortened to Saba. Later, the island also has been given the nickname ‘Unspoiled Queen’, partly because piracy was no strange thing.

In 1522 the Scots came here to settle, but that did not remain long. Englishmen found the island uninhabited in 1632. The Dutch followed them in 1640. Not much later, Englishmen, Frenchmen and Spaniards were in power. A total of 12 times during this period there was a change of power. In 1816 the Dutch took the authority again and that is now still so.

The island runs almost vertically up from the ocean and to get materials ashore there was a staircase of 900 steps built. Building of a road was regarded as impossible, but Josephus Lambert Haskel, a local Carpenter, convinced the Dutch that it was possible. At first a road from Fort Bay, the port, to The Bottom was built. This was done with pure man labour power, because heavy machinery could not get on the island. In fifties of last century a road was built to Windwardside. Also In the sixties, the idea arose to built runway for airplanes, but also this was dismissed as impossible. However, the local residents realized this and also the road through Hell's Gate was built.

Tom van 't Hof founded in 1980 the Saba Marine and Conservation Foundation to protect the marine life, but also the forests on the mountains. Tourism started slowly. The island has long been isolated and there was also no general utility. Until 1970, there was no general electricity. With electricity also TV was possible.

In 1986 The Saba University School of Medicine, a co-operation with the US to teach doctors was established. The first students were trained here in 1992. Each year 500 students study here and those form a quarter of the total population on the island, now about 1500 resident population. In total 1500 doctors got their Master Degree on Saba.

Saba is now mostly known for nature and beautiful dive sites. On the island there is almost no cycling, but occasionally third parties organize bicycle tours. Because the road is concrete and has an average of 20% increase or decrease, the cars here wear out fast. Tires and brakes must be replaced regularly. Importing cars is expensive, about 25% of the car's value.

There are 6 school buses going around on the island. There are more and more cars and boats left behind on the island, which then slowly wear out. Another notable thing is that all houses on the island are white, another color is not allowed.