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Saint Martin / Sint Marteen: the island for half French and for half Dutch

The island of Saint Martin – Sint Maarten (87 sq km) has the peculiarity of being divided between France and the Netherlands, to France belongs only the northern part of the island for a total of 53 square kilometers, while is part of the Netherlands the southern part  (34 sq km).

The French part of the island of Saint-Martin (Collectivité d’ outre -mer de Saint- Martin), is an overseas collectivity of France located in the Lesser Antilles between the Virgin Islands to the west, Anguilla to the north, Saint Barthelemy to the south-west and Saba to the south.  The Dutch side of the island (Sint Maarten) is part of the Netherlands Antilles.

The capital of the French side is the town of Marigot, while the capital of the Dutch side is Philipsburg. It is part of the French territory also the islet of Tintamarre.

The island is mountainous, the highest mountain is the Pic Paradis (424 meters), located in the French side. The island’s main economic activity is tourism, are also practiced agriculture (cotton, sugar cane) and fishing.


Philipsburg, Great Bay, Saint Martin / Sint Maarten. Author and Copyright Marco Ramerini

Philipsburg, Great Bay, Saint Martin / Sint Maarten. Author Marco Ramerini

Saint Martin / Sint Maarten is a major tourist destination in the Caribbean Sea, both the French and the Dutch part of the island has many beaches, tourist leaflets indicate a total of 34 beaches.

Some beaches are very popular, especially those of the Dutch part of the island, where often, close to the beaches are large hotel complexes. While the beaches on the French side are less intensively used and probably for this reason are the most interesting to visit.

In the Duch side you do not miss a visit to the famous Maho Beach, the beach near the runway of the airport, where you can see and photograph the planes that land behind the beach.

On the French side there are two very beautiful beaches on the island of Pinel, reached in ten minutes by boat from the main island, another beach to visit in the French part is at Orient Bay (Baie Orientale). For those traveling with children, a beach with shallow water and shade is that of Le Galion. Among the beaches of the Dutch rich in life is the beach of Great Bay in Philipsburg.

  • Area: 87 km ² (53 km ² the French side, 34 km ² the Dutch side).
  • Population: 75,000 (36,000 in the French side; 39 ,000 in the Dutch side) (2007).
  • State Capital: Marigot (French side), Philipsburg (Dutch side).
  • Language: In the French the official language is French. In the Dutch part the official languages are English and Dutch
  • Religion: Christian (Catholic and Protestant).
  • Currency: Euro (EUR) (French side) and U.S. Dollar (USD) (Dutch side)
  • Time: UTC -4 hours.

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