São Tomé e Príncipe is a small country, consisting of two main islands, São Tomé and Príncipe. The country is situated in the Gulf of Guinea in the western part of Africa. It has a total land mass of 1001 km² and approximately 180,000 inhabitants. It is a former Portuguese colony and gained independence in 1975.
At first sight there appears to be few links with The Netherlands. Historically there have been various interactions, however not always positive.For example, at the end of the 16th century, the Dutch navy destroyed most of the existing sugar cane plantations. The Dutch West Indies Company (West-Indische Compagnie) occupied the islands in the 1640s, when the islands were a hub for the transatlantic slave trade. On a more positive note, The Netherlands provided technical assistance to the country immediately after its independence and is currently one of the main importer of the country’s most important export product, cacao.
The country’s political structure is democratic. It has a parliament whose members are regular elected through free elections. The country’s governments are typically coalition based and there is an active opposition. The country’s president, its head of state, is directly elected. There is no censorship and human rights are observed and protected.
From Europe, the easiest way to travel to São Tomé is via Lisbon, from where there are five to six flights per week to São Tomé with TAP and STP Airways.
São Tomé e Príncipes rich cultural life reflects the mixture of its diverse population.
Visitors may require a visa. If you need a visa, it is generally not possible to travel to São Tomé e Príncipe without having obtained a visa in advance.
Discover plants and birds that can only be found on the islands. Watch migrating whales and sea turtles coming ashore to lay eggs.
The combination of a rich tropical vegetation and cultural diversity has resulted in a delicious gastronomy.