Skip to main content
European Commission logo

Marine Information and Data Centre


The Marine Information and Data Centre serves as a platform where interested parties, professionals and government authorities can find information. These target groups can also share information through the platform on the ecology, sea floor and water of the North Sea.

Application in MSP:
Type of Issue:
Type of practice:
Stage of MSP cycle:
Cross-border / trans-national aspect:
Coherence with other processes:
Key words:

Questions this practice may help answer

  • Where can I find data about the North Sea? 


The Marine Information and Data Centre provides access to government data on the North Sea, with the goal of creating a platform where both public and private parties can share information about the North Sea, Wadden Sea and the Delta area. This is subject to two key conditions: the data must remain at the source as far as possible and the provider is responsible for data quality.

Implementation context

Following an exploratory study in 2011, the conclusion was drawn that a marine data and information centre was required. Launched in 2012, the IHMaims to make available all existing information and data, including research data initially, from the government about the North Sea at a single location to interested parties, government authorities and professionals. The intention is to add information and data, including research data, from third parties within five years.


The Marine Information and Data Centre (IHM) aims to bring the Dutch government's open data policy to fruition by making all data on the North Sea accessible and to encourage the reuse of data collected. Benefits of the IHM include: 

  • The government will be able to reuse the data for administration and policymaking purposes.
  • Knowledge institutes will be able to improve their models with more data.
  • The data monitoring burden will be reduced for the business sector in the permit granting process.

The Marine Information and Data Centre project uses the "Shortlist Ecological Monitoring of Offshore Wind Farms" and the "Sand Motor" projects as pilot projects. This enables the Centre to identify how the available and validated North Sea data and information can be made accessible. The experiments conducted with the results of these projects will result in an advice on temporary and future data management by the Marine Information and Data Centre.

Main outputs/results

The IHM website features a range of functionalities for making marine information and data, including research data, accessible to everyone. Visitors can make search requests to generate references to locations where the information can be found, either at institutes or in databases. The IHM does not store this information itself, but provides references.

Furthermore, marine data from the central government can be centrally retrieved from this website. A visitor requests specific data, after which various databases will be searched and made accessible through the IHM portal. The data remain at the source so that they can be stored and maintained in their original location, to ensure that the data, including meta data are current and correct.

In addition to providing access to data, the Marine Information and Data Centre is developing a Marine Guide, which provides insight into the national and (in the near future) the international organisations which are active in the North Sea and relevant initiatives. The guide features short descriptions listing their main activities, target group and what kind of information can be found. 

Marine Guide


The website features information and data relevant to the North Sea basin. 

Responsible entity

Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality (the Netherlands)