Hydrography

This main section contains 4 sections:

Netherlands boundaries in the North Sea

The maritime boundaries in the North Sea are laid down in treaties with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom. In addition, there are zones such as  the Continental Shelf and the zones of the European common fisheries policy. All boundaries, limits and zones are listed below and in the National Georegistry.

Areas in the territorial sea

In addition to the maritime zones under UNCLOS, there are other maritime areas in the Netherlands territorial sea that depend on the baseline. They are the following:

  • the zones of the European common fisheries policy.
    Within these waters, EU Member States may enforce catch restrictions. The Netherlands allows Belgian, Danish and German ships to fish in the waters between 3 and 12 miles off the Dutch coast.  French fishery vessels are allowed to fish between 6 and 12 miles off the coast. And British vessels are allowed to fish between Texel and the boundary with Germany.
  • the Particularly Sensitive Sea Area (PSSA) Wadden Sea.
    In 2002, the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) designated the Wadden Sea as a PSSA sea. The outer limit of the Dutch part of this protected area is the 3-mile line.
  • the  Coastal Waters according to the European Water Framework Directive.
    The Water Framework Directive applies a zone of 1 mile (1.852 metre) off the coast. This zone represents the limit of the basins of the Ems, Rhine, Meuse and Scheldt rivers.

Boundary treaties with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom

The maritime boundaries of the Netherlands in the North Sea are laid down in treaties with Belgium, Germany and the United Kingdom.

Maritime boundary with Belgium

The maritime boundary with Belgium is laid down in two treaties: one for the territorial sea and one for the Continental Shelf.

Maritime boundary with Germany

The maritime boundary with Germany for the Continental Shelf is laid down in 2 treaties: one for the Continental Shelf near the coast, and one for further offshore.

The Netherlands and Germany have not yet agreed on the boundary of the territorial sea near the Ems estuary. Yet, there is a treaty with agreements on cooperation: the Ems-Dollard Treaty. A supplementary agreement has been added to this treaty. It only deals with the exploration and exploitation of oil and gas. The borders of the treaty and the Supplementary Agreement do not match.

Maritime boundary with the United Kingdom

The maritime boundary with the United Kingdom is also laid down in a treaty. It was amended twice, due to the connection of the boundaries with Germany and Belgium.

Overview of legislation
Act Geographic cope Year Geodetic datum
Ems-Dollard Treaty

Netherlands

 1960

Potsdamer Datum

Supplementary Agreement to the Ems- Dollard

Netherlands  1962 Potsdamer Datum

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

Netherlands  1964 Potsdamer Datum

Agreement between the Government of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland relating to the delimitation of the continental shelf under the North Sea between the two countries

Netherlands

1965, amended in 1971
and 2004

 ED50

Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Federal Republic of Germany concerning the delimitation of the Continental Shelf under the North Sea

 Netherlands 1971  ED50
Netherlands Territorial Sea (Demarcation) Act

Netherlands

1985

ED50

Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium on the delimitation of the Territorial Sea

Netherlands

1996

ED50

Treaty between the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the Kingdom of Belgium on the delimitation of the Continental Shelf

Netherlands

1996

ED50

Exclusive Economic Zone (Establishment) Act Kingdom

1999

Exclusive Economic Zone of the Netherlands (Outer Limits) Decree

Netherlands

2000

Mining Act Netherlands

2002

ED50

Contiguous Zone (Establishment) Act

Kingdom

2005
Contiguous Zone (Demarcation) Decree

Kingdom

2006

Water Act

Kingdom

2009

Regulation on the common fisheries policy

European Union