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

Seagoing and 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.

Seagoing vessels must comply with Article 8:194 of the Civil Code in order to be included in the shipping register. The owner of a seagoing vessel is entitled to apply for registration in the shipping register.

Inland waterway vessels 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 Convention on the Registration of Inland Navigation Vessels (January 25 1965), for example, if they:

  • are operated from the Netherlands;
  • belong to a Dutch individual or an individual resident in the Netherlands; or
  • are owned by a legal entity or company that has its corporate seat or principal place of business in the Netherlands.

If a barge has multiple owners, the majority of these owners must comply with the second or third bullet points above. The owner of an inland waterway vessel may apply for registration if the vessel meets the above conditions.


What are the procedural and documentary requirements for registration?

Application forms can be found on the Dutch Shipping Registry’s website. The following documents are required as part of an application:

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

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 relevant legal requirements.


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

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

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