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Policy Document on the North Sea 2009-2015


The aim of this North Sea Policy Document is to provide transparency about the central government’s North Sea policy choices in the National Water Plan. This involves: providing insight into the considerations underlying these choices; giving direction to policy implementation; specifying the relationship with adjoining policy domains, where necessary.

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

Questions this practice may help answer

  • What are the policies to be addressed through marine planning in the Netherlands?
  • How can policies best be presented to guide marine planning?

Implementation Context

The central government’s North Sea policy provides a general framework for the reciprocal (spatial) co-ordination of users and the use of space in relation to the marine ecosystem and the experience-related value of the territorial waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) offshore from the municipally zoned areas. In addition, North Sea policy is specifically geared to preserving and reinforcing the quality of the marine environment. It encompasses a comprehensive framework for all specific policy choices that are to be made in the 2009-2015 planning period of the National Water Plan. The Plan is not about specific policy for individual users of the sea.

Where the North Sea is concerned, the National Water Plan supersedes the Fourth National Policy Document on Water Management and section 4.7 (North Sea) of the National Spatial Strategy as well as references to other sections it contains. This policy document is part of the National Water Plan and should be read in conjunction with it. It details and substantiates the policy choices and their implementation as contained in the main body of the National Water Plan on this subject.

The Minister for Transport and Public Works co-ordinates the integrated North Sea policy and management. An Inter-ministerial Consultation Body for North Sea Governance (IDON) assists the Minister in formulating, implementing and evaluating policy, monitoring the implementation of the integrated North Sea policy. Where management is concerned, the North Sea Agency of the Directorate- General for Public Works and Water Management has a co-ordinating task. The North Sea policy in the National Spatial Strategy is specified in greater detail in the Integrated Management Plan for the North Sea 2015. Where required, this plan will be amended in 2010, after adoption of the National Water Plan.

Note: An updated version of this report is available: “Policy Document for the North Sea 2016 – 2021”

Nature values of the North Sea

Aspects / Objectives

  • Set out the changing use of the Dutch sector of the North Sea and policy developments
  • Outline the policy targets and options for the North Sea and how this relates to the decision making framework


Report prepared by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and Ministry of Economic Affairs

Main Outputs / Results

Report available


This report applies to the Netherlands but is of broader interest particularly with regard to cross-border issues in the North Sea.

Contact Person

Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

Ministry of Economic Affairs

P.o. box 20901 | 2500 EX The Hague, The Netherlands


Responsible Entity

Dutch Government: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs

Costs / Funding Source

Dutch Government: Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment and the Ministry of Economic Affairs. Direct costs of this practice elaboration are unknown.