On October 10th, 2010 the Netherlands Antilles ceased to exist as a single country. Two islands – Curaçao and Sint Maarten – that previously appertained to the Netherlands Antilles became themselves separate countries within the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The three other islands – Bonaire, Saint Eustatius, and Saba – became direct part of the Netherlands as “public bodies”.
Our clients seek our advice on the impact of these changes on their daily data management processes. Many organizations store the country of their business relations in their master data by means of country codes. It took, however, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) two months to publish the new country codes.
Remarkable are also the names of these countries. The “special municipality” Saint Eustatius – now more tightly connected to the Netherlands than long before – carries an English name, while the separate country Sint Maarten is designated in the international standards with a name in Dutch.
These details make life for a diligent data quality steward hard. One tries to keep up with international politics. During the night of December 15th, when the new code for Bonaire was published (BQ), he updates immediately the records for the approx. 13.000 inhabitants of Bonaire.
It might be that this was in vain: just two days later, December 17th, in a referendum on Bonaire about the new political constellation, 87% of the voters expressed their discontent. The turnout was, however, too low for the referendum to be valid. Political and data governance will keep us in tension.