05 Delta and coastline

Delta and coastline

Seen from the coast, the North Sea may look like a vast, empty space. Taking a closer look, however, one will find an extremely busy area. The North Sea is not only used for shipping, fishing and recreation. Marine activities also include dredging, military exercises, the extraction of oil, gas and sand and the production of wind energy.

Thousands of kilometres of cables and pipelines are buried in the seabed. The North Sea is, in short, a hub of activity. Rijkswaterstaat of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management is the custodian of the North Sea. It sees to the current and future safety, clean, healthy and profitability of the sea. 

This is in the context of international fora such as the OSPAR Convention (Oslo- Paris Convention for the protection of the North-East Atlantic), IMO (International Maritime Organization) and the EU by implementing e.g. the Marine Strategy Framework Directive and the (maesures of) the Water Framework Directive.


Rijkswaterstaat has operational, tactical and strategic assignments for the North Sea. On an operational and tactical level, Rijkswaterstaat is, among others, responsible for integrated water managent, including managing coast line, risks and incidents, licensing, the buoyage system, routine monitoring and data collection on project basis. 

On a strategic level, Rijkswaterstaat anticipates future challenges: how can all marine activities be combined in a sustainable way? Marine Spatial Planning – on a national level and in a cross border context - and the drafting of integrated management plans are becoming increasingly important activities of Rijkswaterstaat. 

Rijkswaterstaat, for a clean, healthy, safe and profitable sea. Delta and coastline Aqualarm Facts and figures