Saint-Martin, which is the French-governed northern part of the island, and the island of Anguila are the nearest locations to St. Maarten. St. Maarten is the Dutch occupied part of the island.
The capital and largest city in Dutch St. Maarten is Philipsburg. The island is a popular tourist destination and has a total population of about 37,000 people. The Dutch State encompasses slightly more than one third of the island, and the story of how this happened is a popular legend on both the French and Dutch sides of the island.
Supposedly, a Frenchman and a Dutchman were set on walking courses with the beverage of their choice. The Frenchman selected a bottle of wine, and the Dutchman chose gin. The gin slowed the Dutchman down significantly enough for the Frenchman to claim more than half of the island for the French.
Although Philipsburg is the largest city on the island, the primary resort and entertainment area is Maho Village. It is located very close to the island's international airport, and beach goers are witness to very low-flying aircraft. Although the entire area of St. Maarten is only about 13 square miles, there are nine public beaches. Dutch St. Maarten, though occupying a smaller land mass, has a slightly larger population than French Saint-Martin.