The North Sea policy illustrates the government’s view of the course that should be steered in the development of the North Sea. It provides a framework for the use and management of the area.


Policies and regulations

Attention for the economic importance of the North Sea is rising. In addition to the existing and sometimes centuries old uses such as shipping and fishing, innovative new uses are emerging, e.g. energy generation and marine aquaculture. At the same time, the need to further improve the environment of the North Sea and to maintain and recover the ecological system increases.

European Marine Strategy Framework Directive

The European Marine Strategy Framework Directive obliges every European Member State to define a marine strategy for the protection, preservation and recovery of the marine environment (good environmental condition of the North Sea), where sustainable use of the North Sea is also guaranteed.

North Sea Policy in the National Water Plan

The National Water Plan describes the measures to be taken to guarantee a safe and liveable Netherlands for future generations and to take advantage of the opportunities that water offers. The integrated North Sea policy forms part of the draft National Water Plan. The North Sea policy defines the general frameworks for (spatial) coordination between the users of the sea themselves and in relation to the marine ecosystem.

North Sea Natura 2000

The North Sea Natura 2000 project is managed by the Ministry of Economic Affairs in cooperation with the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment, the Worldwide Fund for Nature, the North Sea Foundation (Stichting de Noordzee) and Imares.

North Sea 2050 Spatial Agenda

On 28 July 2014 minister Melanie Schultz van Haegen (coordinating the integrated maritime policy and in charge of maritime spatial planning) sent the new North Sea 2050 Spatial Agenda to parliament. The vision and points for action are guiding the upcoming 'maritime spatial plan' for 2016-2021, which will be an integrated part of the second National Water plan. The North Sea 2050 spatial agenda identifies blue growth opportunities and topics for cooperation on sea basin level.

Interdepartmental Directors North Sea Consultative Body (IDON)

All Ministries with tasks and responsibilities on the North Sea work together in the Interdepartmental Directors North Sea Consultative Body (IDON). This organisation coordinates the development of policy and prepares decisions about the management of the North Sea.

Maritime Strategy

The Dutch maritime cluster is active on all continents and is therefore rightfully a global player. The maritime cluster consists of 12 sectors that are important to our country and are internationally renowned. This concerns: inland shipping, ports, Royal Netherlands Navy, maritime services, maritime knowledge and education institutes, maritime suppliers, offshore, shipbuilding, fisheries, hydraulic engineering, water sports and maritime shipping. The maritime cluster is of great value to the Dutch economy and offers important opportunities for developing new products for new markets and creating jobs.

This top position of the Dutch maritime cluster is not self-evident, however. Shifts are taking place worldwide. These changes require flexibility and adaptability. That is precisely why it is important for the Netherlands not only to maintain but also to strengthen the position of this cluster.

The ambition of the maritime strategy is to achieve “an international sustainable maritime top position for the Netherlands”. In order to achieve this, intensive cooperation between the government and parties from the maritime cluster is necessary. The policy agenda of the maritime strategy lists the measures that are necessary to achieve the ambitions of the government-wide maritime strategy.

Maritime Strategy (video)