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Which ships are eligible for registration in the national shipping register(s) and which parties may register ships?

Seagoing vessels and inland barges (inland waterway vessels) are eligible for registration under the Dutch flag. A vessel under construction can also be registered in the shipping register if it is being constructed in the Netherlands.

A seagoing vessel must comply with Article 8:194 of the Civil Code and be registered in the shipping register. The owner of a seagoing vessel is entitled to apply for registration of the vessel in the Dutch Shipping Register.

Inland barges must comply with Article 8:784 of the Civil Code in order to be registered in the shipping register. Inland barges are also eligible for registration in the Netherlands if they comply with the legal obligations stated in the Convention on the Registration of Inland Navigation Vessels (Geneva, 25 January 1965). A barge is eligible if:

  • it is operated from the Netherlands;
  • it is owned by a Dutch individual or an individual whose residence is in the Netherlands; or
  • it is owned by a legal entity or a company that has its corporate seat or principal place of business in the Netherlands.

If the barge has multiple owners, the majority of these owners must comply with the second or third bullet points above.


What are the procedural and documentary requirements for registration?

In order to register a ship, a signed and completed application form must be submitted with the required documents. Application forms can be found on the Dutch Shipping Register website. The following documents are required:

  • if the owner does not apply for the registration but is represented by another person, a power of attorney;
  • if the owner is a company of legal entity, a copy of the extract from the trade register and a copy of the articles of association;
  • a copy of the owner’s passport, if they are a natural person;
  • if the vessel is already registered abroad, a copy of the foreign registration;
  • a copy of the tonnage certificate;
  • proof of ownership;
  • a copy of class certificates;
  • a copy of the certificate which includes details of the vessel’s motor; and
  • if the vessel was previously registered abroad, the certificate of deletion (to be submitted within 30 days after the provisional registration in the Dutch Shipping Register).

Grounds for refusal

On what grounds may a registration application be refused?

A vessel may be denied registration in the public register if it does not comply with the legal requirements for registering a vessel.


Are there any particular advantages of flying your jurisdiction’s flag?

The Netherlands has an excellent infrastructure for shipping activities. The country has specialised shipping banks and the legal system and the attractive tax regime make the country a good environment for shipowners to register their ships.

The Netherlands was third place on the Paris Memorandum of Understanding on Port Control 2017 performance list for national flag states (the White List).

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