Designating national heritage sites
The Minister for Education, Culture and Science is authorised to designate archaeological sites as protected national heritage sites. All activities that alter or disturb a protected national heritage site require a permit from the Minister of Education, Culture and Science.
The Minister implements the policy of only designating national heritage sites if there is a prospect of preservation in the medium to long term. It is carried out on the basis of a designation programme, also referred to as a protection agenda. Criteria for designation are the beauty, scientific significance and cultural-historical value of such a site. The authority to designate national heritage sites extends to the boundary of territorial waters. To date, this authority has not been exercised in the North Sea. In the 2013 Archaeology Protection Agenda, the Minister states her intention to designate the shipwreck Aanloop Molengat, a 17th-century wreck located some 3 nautical miles to the west of the island of Texel. This designation process is expected to be completed in 2016.