- Hydrographic Service
- Geodesy and Tides
- Maritime limits
This page provides an overview of Dutch lines and zones in the North Sea that have a relation to UNCLOS. The explanations are indicative only.
For details on those lines and areas, consult the source. More information about geodetic datums is available at the horizontal coordinate systems page.Figure 1: Dutch maritime limits
The construction of the baseline using normal baselines from the Dutch nautical charts happens according to Figure 1. Behind the number of the chart, the year of publication of the present edition is given. Figure 2: relevant claims and treaties in the Eems-Dollard estuary
In 1985, the Netherlands established straight baselines in the Territorial Sea (Demarcation) Act (Figure 1). In that Act, the straight baselines are given in the geodetic datum ED50. The beacon on the Boschplaat, point P, does not exist any longer, as published in Dutch Notices to Mariners 652 of 1985. As a practical solution, the Hydrographic Service has replaced this point by the rescue house on Rottumerplaat. This decision causes a landward shift of the baseline of about 350 metres and has no effect on the positions of the outer limits of zones. For an illustration, see Figure 2.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands established the width of its territorial sea to 12M in 1985, instead of 3M. For the North Sea, this was done in the Territorial Sea (Demarcation) Act. In 2005, the Kingdom of the Netherlands established a Contiguous Zone (CZ) between 12 and 24M, in the Contiguous Zone (Establishment) Act. Its boundaries are defined in the Contiguous Zone (Demarcation) Decree of 2006.
The Netherlands has established an EEZ via the Exclusive Economic Zone (Establishment) Act of 1999. The extent of the EEZ is given in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Netherlands (Outer Limits) Decree of 2000. The Mining Act of 2002 defines the Netherlands Continental Shelf (NCS) as the part of the sea floor that does not lie under the territorial sea. The NCS is divided in numbered blocks, used for the assignment of concessions. The positions of the blocks are given in the geodetic datum ED50.
The European common fisheries policy is established in a regulation for 10 years at a time. Within the coastal waters, defined as the waters within 12M of the coast, member states are allowed to restrict fishing activities. The Netherlands grants Belgian, Danish and German fishing vessels access to its coastal waters between 3M and 12M, grants French fishing vessels access to the zone between 6M and 12M, and grants British fishing vessels access between Texel and the boundary with Germany.
In 2002, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) has declared the Wadden area between Den Helder and the Eems estuary as a part of a Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA). The PSSA Wadden Sea has a Dutch, a German, and a Danish part. The outer limit of the Dutch part is the 3M line. The location of the PSSA is given at the site of the Wadden Sea secretariat.
The Water Act of 2009 defines flow districts up to 1M from the baseline according to the European Water Framework Directive. The Act refers to this part of the territorial sea as the coastal waters.
The maritime boundary with Belgium has been delimited in the Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium on the delimitation of the territorial sea and the Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium on the delimitation of the continental shelf, both of 1996. In 1998, these treaties were ratified. The coordinates are expressed in the geodetic datum ED50.
The maritime boundary with the United Kingdom (UK) was originally delimited in the Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland relating to the delimitation of the continental shelf under the North Sea between the 2 countries of 1965, adapted in 1971 and 2004. The coordinates are expressed in the geodetic datum ED50.
The maritime boundary with the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG) has been established for the continental shelf in the Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the lateral delimitation of the continental shelf in the vicinity of the coast of 1964 and the Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the lateral delimitation of the continental shelf in the North Sea of 1971. The coordinates of the first treaty are expressed in the Potsdamer Datum (PD), and the coordinates of the second treaty in ED50. There is no agreed boundary between the 2 countries for the territorial sea. The situation is drawn in Figure 2.
In the boundary region of the Netherlands territorial sea and internal waters with the Federal Republic of Germany, a treaty and a supplementary agreement to that treaty exist. The Eems-Dollard Treaty of 1960 defines 2 lateral borders partly by 6 metre depth contours in LAT. When this treaty was ratified, its outer border coincided with the 3M limit, which was the outer limit of the territorial sea at that moment. The Treaty calls this area the Eemsmonding (“Eems mouth”).
The Supplementary Agreement to the Eems-Dollard Treaty of 1962 defines fixed lateral and outer borders, and a line between the 2 lateral borders ending in point c”. The Supplementary Agreement calls this area the Grensgebied (“Boundary area”). The Supplementary Agreement only deals with the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. It is important to note that the borders of the Treaty and the Supplementary Agreement do not coincide. Figure 3: annex to the Eems-Dollard Treaty
The area of the Treaty at the moment of establishment is given in Figure 3. The line and area of the Supplementary Agreement are given in Figure 4. Both these figures are the original annexes to these documents. The maps are given in the Potsdamer Datum. The original and the current size of the Treaty area, and the area of the Supplementary Agreement are also given in Figure 2.Figure 4: annex to the Supplementary Agreement