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Integrated Management Plan for the North Sea 2015 (NL)



Sets out policies and criteria against which planning applications and works licences will be considered; provides policy framework to guide marine development and activity out to 12 nautical miles. SIMSP may also provide a resource for all users of the marine environment including developers, planners and regulators.


Application in MSP:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Key words:

questions this practice may help answer

  • How can sectors be developed sustainability in the Netherlands?
  • How can competing interests be balanced, and efficient use of space ensured?
  • How can development be undertaken in line with national policy?

Implementation Context

The Dutch part of the North Sea, covering an area of about 58,000 km2 (one and a half the land mass of the Netherlands), is one of the most intensely used marine areas in the world. In 2005, the Dutch Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment published for the first time a North Sea chapter in their national ‘Spatial Planning Policy Document’. The Dutch marine spatial planning policy aims at preventing fragmentation and promoting the efficient use of space, while giving private parties the scope to develop their own initiatives in the North Sea. This overall goal is elaborated in more detail in this ‘Integrated Management Plan for the North Sea 2015’ (IMPNS 2015) where it is translated into: (1) spatial management to foster a “healthy sea”; (2) spatial management to foster a “safe sea”; and (3) spatial management to foster a “profitable sea”.

As in other North Sea coastal states, the need for integrated spatial planning became particularly urgent because of new uses requiring ocean space, primarily offshore wind farms and marine protected areas. While some ocean uses will remain at their current level, considerable growth is forecast for mineral extraction, water sport recreation, offshore wind farms, nature protection and possibly also mariculture. Recently, the concern of sea level rise in the Netherlands related to climate change has further stimulated the discussion on marine spatial management. In this plan, management is defined as follows: care and responsibility for the North Sea through implementation of policy.

Aspects / Objectives

  • Support the planning management of existing and new marine activities in the Netherlands for sustainability
  • Improve the effectiveness and efficiency of management of marine activities, ensure economic development with minimal negative social and ecological consequences.


The plan sets out policies relating to development at sea in the Netherlands, including overarching objectives relating to economic, ecological and cultural aspects. It details the wider legislative and governance framework within which it is nested, and with which developments must comply. Building on these it sets out possible future developments and growth in key sectors, and how this can best be facilitated through key recommendations, including the manner in which space is allocated and the relationship between planning and permitting procedures.

This image shows Figure 1 Integrated Management Plan for the North Sea

Main Outputs / Results

Report available:


The document presents an advisory plan for the Dutch area of the North Sea, however it will be relevant to others implementing MSP, particularly neighbouring jurisdictions on issues which require co-ordination and management across boundaries.

Responsible Entity

The Government of the Netherlands, led by the Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management coordinates North Sea policy with the approval of the Minister of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment (VROM), the Minister of Economic Affairs (EZ) and the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (LNV).

Costs / Funding Source

Government of the Netherlands

Contact Person

Noordzee Loket (noordzeeloket[at]rws[dot]nl)

Tel: 0900 - 666 73 93