Maritime Forum

Maritime Forum Themes


Country information the Netherlands

Published on: Tue, 28/06/2011 - 11:58
Table of Contents


    Political leadership and administrative structure

    responsible minister

    lead ministry

    member of high level contact group

    Mr. Joop Atsma


    State Secretary for Infrastructure and the Environment

    Co-ordinating minister for North Sea Affairs



    Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    PO Box 20901
    2500 EX Den Haag

    Tel: + 31.70 351 61 71

    Inter-ministerial Board for North Sea Affairs (IDON)


    IDON Members:

    Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, DG Water (chair);

    Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, DG Civil Aviation and Maritime affairs;

    Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, DG of Public Works and Water Management, department North Sea;

    Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation , DG Fisheries and Nature;

    Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation , DG Energy;

    Ministry of Defence;


    Ministry of Foreign Affairs;



    IDON Secretary:

    mr. Lodewijk Abspoel

    DG Water
    PO Box 20906

    2500 EX Den Haag

    Tel. +31.70 - 456 7115



    Mr Kees Polderman


    Assistant Director International Maritime Affairs


    Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management


    P.O. Box 20904

    NL-2500 EX The Hague


    Tel: +31 70 456 15 68



    Links between government levels

    role of regions

    regions involved in IMP

    The Dutch coastal Provinces (from South to North: Zeeland, South Holland, North Holland, Friesland, Groningen) have representation in Brussels. They responded separately (but collectively) to the Green Paper.

    Contribution to EU Green Paper (Contribution nr 235) 



    South Holland


    North Holland






    Role of coastal Provinces:

    The coastal Provinces are responsible for the regional implementation of national policies on water management. The Provinces have a role in flood protection and coastal environment, but have only limited jurisdiction and responsibilities for water management issues on the North Sea.


    Stakeholder dialogue

    structured dialogue

    communication tools

    regular events

    Consultative Body for Water Management and North Sea Affairs


    Portal website on North Sea affairs


    Bi- annual IDON Stakeholders Conference

    National Seaport Board

    Periodical Newsletter on North Sea affairs

    Annual meeting of policy stakeholders and marine science representatives

    Wadden Sea Council

    The Ministry keeps a list of organizations involved in maritime issues.

    Council for Environment and Infrastructure




    vision documents



    Overview of policy documents


    Future strategic vision: Policy Note on the North Sea  



    National Waterplan


    Integrated Management Plan for the North Sea 2015


    Response to EU Green paper; contribution nr 263


    Maritime Policy High Level Focal Points meeting: see presentation on North Sea Policy and Management


    OSPAR: The work under the OSPAR Convention is guided by the Ministerial Declarations and Statements made at the adoption of the Convention and at the Ministerial Meetings of the OSPAR Commission. The work under OSPAR applies the ecosystem approach to the management of human activities





    Knowledge and scientific advice

    advisory committees

    science networks

    National Oceanographic Data Committee (NODC)

    List of Dutch knowledge institutes


    Programme Board National programme sea and coastal research


    Netherlands Centre for Coastal Research

    North Sea Atlas



    Maritime clusters

    cluster organisation


    Dutch Maritime Network
    P.O. box 30145, 3001 DC Rotterdam
    Phone: +31.10 205 2720

    Shipping (maritime, inland, naval, recreational)


    Maritime suppliers

    Dredging, engineering

    Offshore exploration/production



    Maritime services





    Maritime spatial planning

    responsible ministry

    summary of system for planning


    Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment(in cooperation with other involved ministries)



    Planning 2015


    Presentation of planning system


    A new -more detailed- spatial planning vision has been developed as part of the National Waterplan. This   Policy Note on the North Sea came into effect in January 2011

    The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment provides most permits.


    Other ministries may provide specific licenses, e.g. the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation for offshore exploration and exploitation of oil and gas.












    Offshore governance


    policy ministry



    surveillance systems




    Customs Administration



    Border control



    Public Prosecutor + Royal Military Constabulary



    Pollution response

     Infrastructure and the Environment

    North Sea department



    Fisheries control

    Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality,1640354&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL

    Fisheries Directorate + Fisheries Inspectorate



    Maritime safety

    Infrastructure and the Environment

    North Sea department  + Regional Authorities + Shipping Inspectorate

    Coastguard + Regional Authorities + Shipping Inspectorate

    AIS network


    Maritime security

    Infrastructure and the Environment

    Shipping Inspectorate + Port Authorities


    Coastguard + Regional Authorities + Shipping Inspectorate

    AIS network


    Vessel traffic manage-ment

    Infrastructure and the Environment

    North Sea department + Regional Authorities

    Coastguard + Regional Authorities

    AIS network


    Accident and disaster response

    Infrastructure and the Environment

    North Sea department



    Search and rescue

    Infrastructure and the Environment

    North Sea department


    Coastguard + Royal Netherlands Lifeboat Institution 

    AIS network

    GMDSS infrastructure

    Law enforce-ment


    Public Prosecutor + enforcement services + National Police Service Agency

    Coastguard + National Police Service Agency






    Policy cooperation and integration through the Coordinating Minister for North Sea Affairs (= Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment) and the Inter-ministerial Board for North Sea affairs.

    Integrated North Sea policy has been established in the National Water Plan 2015 and underlying policy papers.


    A number of Ministries is directly or indirectly involved in policy with regard to government functions and responsibilities to the oceans and/or seas. In particular:

    • Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment: Water quality, coastal protection and dike reinforcement, shipping traffic and transport, spatial planning, permitting and licensing, monitoringgeneral policies on environment;
    • Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation: Exploitation of oil and gas, wind-farming, general policies or industrial activities and tourism, fisheries, development of nature and landscape, recreation;
    • Ministry of Security and Justice: General policies on enforcement, immigration and border control;
    • Ministry of Defence: Military uses and exercises;
    • Ministry of Home Affairs: General policies on governmental administration and management;
    • Ministry of Foreign Affairs: General foreign affairs policies, international law of the sea issues;
    • Ministry of Education, Culture and Science: General policies on science, scientific research and cultural heritage;
    • Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment: General policies on social welfare and employment, occupational safety and occupational health;
    • Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport: General policies on public health.



    Management cooperation and integration through the North Sea Management Network coordinated by the North Sea department of the ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management.


    Integrated management framework established in the Integrated North Sea Management Plan (2015) and underlying operational programmes. A revised management plan will be published end 2011.




    Operational cooperation and integration through the Netherlands Coastguard, under the operational coordination and command of the Royal Netherlands Navy.


    Integrated operational framework established in annual Coastguard plans and programmes.



    The Netherlands’ Coastguard is an independent organisation with own tasks, responsibilities and competences. It carries out 14 different operational North Sea tasks for 7 ministries.

    The NL Coastguard Centre acts as JRCC, MAS and North Sea Coordination

    and Information Centre.



    Cross-border cooperation is focused on emergency towing (agreement with Germany), pollution response (under the Bonn Agreement), shipping inspection/PSC (Paris MOU), vessel traffic management (agreements with Belgium and Germany), immigration/police activities (Schengen Agreement, Benelux Treaty, Treaty with Belgium, ministerial agreement with Germany, participation in the European Police Chiefs Task Force), fisheries control and management (North Sea Regional Advisory, operation ‘Shark’ with UK, etc.).

    Cross-border cooperation on North Sea policy, management and implementation will be further developed and enhanced in a wide range of activities, with a primary focus on the southern part of the North Sea.



    Disclaimer: This fact sheet was provided by (country) for information purposes. The Commission does not take responsibility for the content.
    Latest update: 07.06.2011

    For more information on the EU Integrated Maritime Policy, see