What Is the AWG (Aruban Florin)?

The Aruban florin (AWG) is the currency of the Caribbean island nation of Aruba. The Aruban central bank, the Centrale Bank van Aruba, issues the florin, which is subdivided into 100 cents and also known as the Aruban guilder.

The Aruban florin replaced the Netherlands Antillean guilder at par. The florin is pegged to the U.S. dollar, with $1 USD buying 1.79 AWG.

Key Takeaways

  • The Aruban florin (AWG) is the national currency of Aruba.
  • It is subdivided into 100 cents and issued by the Aruba central bank, the Centrale Bank van Aruba.
  • The AWG replaced the Netherlands Antilles guilder when it obtained status aparte within the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1986.
  • The Aruban florin is pegged to the U.S. dollar at 1.79 florins to the greenback.

Understanding the Aruban Florin

​​​​​​​The Aruban Florin was first introduced in 1986, the year Aruba obtained status aparte within the Kingdom of the Netherlands, which means Aruba is autonomous though not completely independent.

The Dutch had occupied the island since supplanting Spanish colonists in 1634. The island subsequently became a strategic outpost to protect salt exports from South America. Britain briefly gained control of Aruba during the Napoleonic wars before the Netherlands regained colonial power.

In 1954, Aruba became part of the Netherlands Antilles, an autonomous country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands that also included Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, Sint Eustatius and Sint Maarten. Aruba left the Netherlands Antilles in 1986, and the grouping was dissolved in 2010.

The Netherlands Antilles initially used the Dutch guilder as early as the 1700s, before switching to the Spanish real between 1799 and 1828. The Dutch guilder returned in 1828 until German occupation of the Netherlands during World War II. Afterwards, the new Antilles guilder was introduced, pegged to the U.S. dollar at 1.8858 guilders per greenback. The Dutch changed the peg to 1.79 guilders per U.S. dollar in 1971.

After Aruba broke with the Netherlands Antilles in 1986, full autonomy was set for 1996. Aruba postponed this plan indefinitely in 1990 and the petition for full independence was repealed in 1995. As part of the gradual move toward self-rule, Aruba replaced the Netherlands Antillean guilder with the Aruban florin. The new currency adopted the same currency peg as its predecessor. Aruba maintains a great deal of political and economic self-rule, but is officially part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

The Aruban Economy

Aruba has a relatively high standard of living among Caribbean nations and a low rate of unemployment. The economy depends mainly on tourism, which is dominated by visitors from Venezuela and the United States. Oil processing, the primary industry before obtaining status aparte, now plays a smaller economic role. Aruba also supports a healthy offshore banking industry and relatively minor agriculture and manufacturing sectors.

Though the Aruban florin is pegged at 1.79 florins to the U.S. dollar, the street value is slightly stronger at 1.75. Due the prevalence of tourists from the U.S., many businesses in tourist areas accept greenbacks in addition to Aruban florins. Many supermarkets and gas stations will also use the exchange rate of 1.75 florins per U.S. dollar. Cash typically exchanges at 1.77 florins per dollar, while traveler's checks fetch a rate of 1.78 florins per U.S. dollar.

In 2019, inflation in Aruba grew 4.3%. In 2017, the last year for which data is available, the Aruban economy grew by 2%.