Which Maritime Spatial Plans exist?

The Policy Document on the North Sea 2016 – 2021 includes a framework vision map, which currently constitutes the Netherlands’ Maritime Spatial Plan.

The Policy Document contains the following sectors:            

  • Shipping
  • Mineral extraction
  • Oil and gas exploitation
  • Offshore renewable energy production
  • Fishing
  • Aquaculture
  • Tourism (incl. recreation and sports)
  • Under water cultural heritage
  • Military
  • Submarine cables and pipelines
  • Nature protection

MSP Legislation

The National Water Plan provides a policy framework for MSP based on the Water Act and includes the Policy Document for the North Sea 2016-2021 as an appendix. The Policy Document includes the Netherlands’ Maritime Spatial Plan and reflects the Dutch Government’s policy choices for the North Sea. Every 6 years the plan is revised. The first policy document and plan were published in 2009.

The Netherlands is now in the 3rd cycle of MSP, preparing the programme for 2022-2027 which will be part of the new National Water Plan (NWP). The National Water Plan contains the North Sea Programme (the Program Noordzee 2022-2027) under which the MSP will be incorporated by the Dutch government. In addition, there is another process in the Netherlands that is of relevance to MSP in the Dutch EEZ: the North Sea Agreement that contains agreements between national government and stakeholders (including offshore wind industry, fishing industry, etc.) up to 2030 with a view to developing wind energy in the long term. The North Sea Agreement was presented to the Dutch Parliament House of Representatives in June 2020, and was endorsed.

There will be three parts to the North Sea Programme: (1) Programme of measures for the MSFD; (2) Solutions to resolve the sectoral tensions; (3) Blue growth initiatives and supporting actions. The draft version including the SEA was ready in March 2021 and was forwarded to the Cabinet. Public consultation started in March 2021 for 6 months (until September 2021). After a full consultation process, the National Water Programme will be submitted to the Ministerial Council.  The North Sea Programme 2022 – 2027 has been published and entered into force in March 2022.

National MSP authority

Interdepartmental Directors’ Consultative Body North Sea led by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.


The Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

Rijnstraat 8  Den Haag
Lodewijk Abspoel:


Lange Kleijweg 34 Rijswijk

Carien van Zwol:

Xander Keijser:

Directorate for Nature and Biodiversity of the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

Jeroen Vis:


The “coastal foundation” (kustfundament) refers to the area along the length of the coast comprising the sea bed immediately in front of the coast to the -20m  depth contour, the beach, the dunes and all sea defences on these. (Structuurvisie Infrastructuur en Ruimte Nederland concurrerend, bereikbaar, leefbaar en veilig. Ministerie van Infrastructuur en Milieu 2012

Last Update 11.07.2022