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Saba (Caribbean Netherlands)

Eilandgebied Saba, The Netherlands

Last modified: 2014-05-29 by zoltán horváth
Keywords: caribbean netherlands | bes islands | netherlands antilles | saba | antilles |
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image by Mark Sensen, 14 December 2003
Adopted on 6 December 1985

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Mr. Anton Jansen edited for some time the magazine "Vlaggen", in which he wrote most articles himself. In "Vlaggen", no. 39, 1986 and article about the Dutch Westindian island of Saba. It is based on a booklet "Flag, Anthem and Emblem of Saba", by the Department of Arts of Saba.
Flag: proportions 2:3. The colors are red, white, blue and gold (=yellow). The top is divided into two equal red triangles, the bottom is divided into two equal blue triangles. In flagcenter is a wjite diamond with a golden (=yellow) five-pointed star in the center. The star represents Saba. The gold/yellow color signifies that Saba is a precious possession and dear to the heart of all Sabans. The gold/yellow symbolizes too the wealth of natural beauty to be found on Saba. It also means hope of a happy future for Saba. The colors red, white and blue represent the historical and political ties between the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles. White symbolizes too peace, friedship, purity and rest. Red symbolizes unity, courage and decisiveness. Blue stands for the sea, which plays such an important part for the people of Saba. It symbolizes too heaven, which reminds us of the Allmighty God, who created this island.
About the Coat of Arms: On top of the shield is wedrego (this is an indigeneous bird on Saba, of which the Latin name is Puffinus Iherminieri, English: Audubon's Shearwater). This wedrego is represented as the national Saban bird. It is surrounded by secrecy and lonelyness, which lives off the sea and enjoys its plenty, but also endures its difficulties. Just like the Sabans the bird meets an unsecure future, but does so in beauty, hope, forve and and determination. The bird is flanked by pieces of the famous Saban cabbage, which has in important place between our foodcrops. Our unique and unsurpassed island of legendary beauty occupies the center of the shield. It is surrounded by the emblems of its greatness, like the ships sailing the seven oceans, the fishery, the agriculture, especially the famous white potato, and its unsurpassed climate. The whole shield represents the beauty, sufferings, sturdiness and the friendship and tolerance of this unusual people blessed by God. The device is: REMIS VELISQUE, literally: "with (rowing)oars and sails", figuartive: "with all one's might". The image in the booklet shows a white (silver) shield, with a green, apparently emerging from the sea, mountain, before which a white (silver) cloud hangs. The fish (or fishes) in the heraldically right corner are apparently colored gold; the ship in the hearldically left corner has a red hull, the rest is uncolored and the "famous white potato"in the bottom of the shield is represented in gold.. Coat of Arms, flag and island hymn are the result of a prize contest, which resulted in 28 designs for the arms, and 130 flagdesigns. Arms, flag and anthem "Saba you rise from the ocean" were publicly approved by the Island council of Saba.
Warning: Whoever intentionally destroys or besmears the Saban flag or through offensive or insulting behavior tries to undermine the respect for the Saban flag shall be punished with imprisonment of max. two (2) months or with a fine of max. NAF 5,000 (five thousand guilders)!
THE FLAG SONG: In honor of the official unfurling of the Saban flag Mrs. Cecile Peterson and Mr. Frank Hassell have written a flag and adapted it to the melody of the Dutch patriotic song "O schitt'rende kleuren".
Ye colours of Saba's loved flag beaming bright,
How proudly ye float o'er our land!
The red, white and blue stand for all we hold dear,
As united we stand hand in hand.
To us lovely flag, thou a symbol shalt be
Of Saba's deep love and her great lyalty!
To you our dear flag, we now pledge sincere love
While God looketh down from above.

The red in our flag stands for Saba's great strength,
As shown in the past by her men.
The blue shows we're faithful to island and home,
While the white stand for purity true!
Shed thou, golden Star, your bright rays on our home,
And watch o'er us all, wheresoever we roam,
God grant that we'll always be true to our land,
While faith, hope, love go hand in hand.
Jarig Bakker, 1 Nov 2003

Image according to Album 2000 [pay00]. I don't have official specifications of this flag.
From <>:
"SABA'S FLAG: In 1983 the Island Territories of Saba, St. Maarten and St. Eustatius were created. Since that time Saba has formed one of these Island Territories. On 15 October 1984 Saba's Executive Council decided to appoint a committee to study the issue of a Flag, Coat-of-Arms and Saba Anthem. By Island Resolution of 18 February 1985 the committee began to work on 1 March 1985 under the Chairmanship of Will Johnson,  with Frank Hassell, Patsy Johnson and Shirley Smith as members. The contest for the Flag received 130 entrees. Out of 130 entrees, three were selected by the Committee. Only one could be the winner, and from the very beginning the entree of 18-year-old Islander Edmond Johnson, was the favorite. This was chosen for the Saba Flag, and was adopted on 6 December 1985, the National Day of the Island Territory of Saba.

THE FLAG'S COLORS: The Golden Star in the center of the white diamond symbolizes the Island of Saba. The color Red stands for Unity in Strength and Courage. White stands for Peace and Friendship Blue stands for the Sea and Sky"

According information provided to me by Christopher Southworth, the radius of the imaginary circle circumscribing the star is 3/10th of the flag height.
Mark Sensen, 14 Dec 2003

Status of Saba

The island of Saba also held a referendum on 5 November. See <>. Option A
- Direct Constitutional ties with The Netherlands got 86.05%.
Paraskevas Renesis, 25 November 2004

Minister Nicolai of Kingdomrelations reached a historic agreement with Curaçao and Sint Maarten. The islands will become separate countries, like Aruba.   That means that the co-operation between the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles, as agreed by the "Koninkrijksstatuut" of 1954, will end. It is agreed that there will be a common court of justice of the Netherlands, Curaçao and Sint Maarten. There are also agreements on policing and prosecution. The Netherlands will take care of the debts of the Netherlands Antilles, totalling 2,5 billion Euros. The Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist on 1 July 2007. Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become Dutch municipalities. Aruba is a separate entity since 1986.
No info about change of flags. The currency is also unclear, although it seems that Aruba might be forced to enter the Euro-zone(!)
Source: <> reported by Stefan Lambrechts.
Jarig Bakker, 3 Nov 2007

The Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist on October 10 next year (2010). The Netherlands Antilles have decided this last Wednesday, September 30.
The Netherlands Antilles arose in 1954 as an autonomous entity within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Until the achievement of the Status Aparte (separate status) for Aruba on January 1, 1986 the Dutch Antilles consisted of the Caribbean islands of Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St Eustatius and St Maarten (St. Martin). They were represented by the six stars in the 1959 flag of the Netherlands Antilles.
With the separation of Aruba in 1986 one star was dropped, to represent the five islands left in the Netherlands Antilles.

The remaining five islands in the Netherlands Antilles will on 10 October 2010 go their own political way. Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius will become special overseas municipalities of the Netherlands.
Curaçao and St. Maarten will get the same status as Aruba already has achieved.

The current flag of the Netherlands Antilles will cease to exist. The flags of Bonaire, Saba and Sint Eustatius will become Dutch municipality flags.

The flags of St. Maarten and Curcacao will get the same status as the flag of Aruba now.
From October 10, 2010 the Kingdom of the Netherlands will consist of: The Netherlands, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten/St. Martin (where the Kingdom of the Netherlands will still border on la République Française).
Jos Poels, 1 Oct 2009

Saba  is one of the Leeward Islands [as well], and part of The Netherlands. As such it's one of the three islands described together as The Caribbean Netherlands, though formally, it simply belongs to The Netherlands. Before their dissolution on 10 October 2010, Saba was one of The Netherlands Antilles. According to law, Saba is a public body (openbaar lichaam), consisting of the island of Saba. Of the SSS islands, the three Leeward Islands that at one time were part of The Netherlands Antilles, Saba is the Westernmost.

Saba still uses the flag it had as island territory (eilandgebied) within The Netherlands Antilles. I have not seen any formal re adoption, but I may well have missed it.
Though, unusual for The Caribbean Netherlands, Saba has a total of four settlements, it has only had an island flag since 2004, and apparently no other flags have been adopted so far. [That means that Hell's Gate does not have a flag.]
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 11 May 2011

Coat of Arms

image by Jarig Bakker, 1 Nov 2003

Motto of Saba is "REMIS VELISQUE". It is in Latin and means 'With oars and sails' or with all one's might.
Nozomi Kariyasu and Jarig Bakker, 20 August 2002

Above the shield is a wedgero or Aubudon's Shearwater the island bird.
Jarig Bakker, 22 Aug 2002

In latin: Puffinus Iherminieri. I am not sure but I think it is "AuDuBon's Shearwater".
Victor Lomantsov, 23 Aug 2002