A perfect symbiosis: Curaçao, the Netherlands and financial offshore services, 1951–2013

Abstract: Analysing Curaçao as an offshore financial centre from its inception to its gradual decline, we find that it originated and evolved in close concert with the demand for such services from western countries. Dutch banks and multinationals spearheaded the creation of institutions on the island facilitating tax avoidance. In this they were aided and abetted by their government, which firmly supported the Antilles in getting access to bilateral tax treaties, notably the one with the United States. Until the mid 1980s Curaçao flourished, but then found it increasingly difficult to keep a competitive advantage over other offshore centres. Meanwhile the Curaçao connection had enabled the Netherlands to turn itself into a hub for international revenue flows that today still feed both Dutch tax income and specialised financial, legal and accounting services.