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Yacht/Boat Registration in the Netherlands

Yacht/Boat Registration in the Netherlands

Home to two of the largest ports in Europe, the Netherlands is a preferred destination for investors interested in starting trading or shipping companies here. One of the most important part of setting up a shipping business implies acquiring and registering a boat in the Netherlands. However, Amsterdam and Rotterdam are also two of the most important touristic attractions in the country and yacht registration is also quite common.

Below, our company formation agents in the Netherlands explain Holland’s yacht registration procedure.

 Quick Facts  
Registration option for natural persons 

Natural persons, both Dutch and foreign nationals, can register vessels.

Registration options for companies

All types of companies can register vessels in the Netherlands, including foreign ones.

Authority to register with

The Dutch Ship Registry which is part of the Land Register and Mapping Agency

Types of vessels that can be registered

– pleasure boats,

– commercial vessels

Provisional registration required (YES/NO)

Provisional boat registration in the Netherlands is available, however, it is not mandatory.

Types of permanent registration procedures

– light registration procedure that enables national and EU waters sailing,

– global registration procedure that allows international waters sailing

Documents required for boat registration

– information about the entity applying for boat registration,

– bill of sale or insurance policy of the vessel,

– application form,

– specific information about the boat

Navigation licenses availability (YES/NO)

Yes, after obtaining the boat registration certificate, it is necessary to apply for a sailing license.

Registration procedure timeframe (approx.)

Between 2 and 4 weeks

Timeframe for obtaining a navigation license (approx.) The license is issued in a few days with the local municipality.
Boat inspection before registration (YES/NO)

No, there is no boat inspection before registering a ship in the Netherlands.

Taxation of shipping operations

Companies can choose between the corporate tax and the tonnage tax which implies paying a lump sum based on the tonnage of the operated vessel.

Annual boat tax applicability (YES/NO)

The Netherlands does not apply a boat tax.

Advantages of registering a vessel in the Netherlands

– the procedure can be completed online with no bureaucracy,

– the certificate can be obtained in around 2 weeks when all documents are in order,

– low vessel registration fees

Support in registering  a vessel in the Netherlands (YES/NO)

 Yes, we can offer assistance in registering a boat in the Netherlands. 

 Vessel registration legislation

 – Civil Code,

– Commercial Code,

– Dutch Ships Law

Types of navigation licenses 

–  license for sailing on maritime waters,

–  radar license,

– Rhine Patent

 Specific registration requirements based on the type of vessel (YES/NO)

Yes, specific requirements may apply depending on the entity registering the vessel. 

 Possibility to register with other authorities (YES/NO)  Yes, vessels can also be registered with the Bareboat Charter Registrar.
 Time frame to obtain provisional registration (when applicable)

 Approx. 3 working days

 Documents required for provisional registration

– tonnage certificate,

– call sign, 

– bill of sale (other proof of ownership)

 Validity of provision registration certificate

 6 months

 Requirement for ownership transfer after provisional registration

4 weeks 

 Possibility to obtain an International Certificates for Pleasure Craft (YES/NO)

 Yes, with designated sailing associations

 Validity of registration certificate Unlimited 
 Yacht/boat registration revocation possibility

 In case of:

– vessel renaming,

– sale,

– engine alterations

 Possibility to amend the registration certificate (YES/NO)

 Yes, it is possible to amend the registration certificate.

 Legislation related to manning Dutch vessels

 Seafarer’s Act

 Requirement to obtain a Minimum Safe Manning Certificate (YES/NO)

Yes, the certificate is issued on a case-to-case basis. 

 Specific requirements for hiring crew members (if any)  Non-EU crew members must have Dutch work permits.

Yacht/boat registration procedure in the Netherlands

In Holland, the yacht registration process must be completed with the Ship Registry. The Dutch Cadaster, Land Registry and Mapping Agency is in charge of managing the ships registry there. In order to register a vessel, the Certificate of Registry and Tonnage Certificate are the main documents to be issued by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

Depending on the type of vessel one wants registered, the procedure can take a minimum of 2 weeks and can extend to 4 weeks.

Here are the main types of vessels that can be registered in Holland:

  • pleasure boats;
  • commercial cruising boats.

It is important to note that the second category has several sub-categories, depending on the number of staff and guests they can take onboard. Also, the owner must also meet specific Dutch company formation requirements.

The fastest route for registration is to first apply for a provisional certificate of registry in order to obtain a permanent Certificate of Registry. Prior to receiving the provisional certificate of registry, the following documentation is required:

  • the tonnage certificate;
  • a sign assigned by the Dutch Telecom Agency;
  • evidence of the boat’s ownership (bill of sale).

A nationality declaration from the Ship Registry is required for the vessel’s permanent registration. Following its issuance, the ownership of the vessel must be transferred within 4 weeks. The declaration of nationality must be turned in with the application forms for the cadastral registry at that location.

Holland’s yacht registration procedure is not complicated, however, there are specific steps to be completed in order to benefit from a quick process. 

Types of vessel/yacht registration procedures in the Netherlands

Foreign investors or citizens interested in buying a boats or yachts for commercial, respectively leisure purposes can follow one of the two registration procedures with the Dutch Transport Authority:

  • the light registration process which is available for those interested in sailing the national and EU waters;
  • the global registration procedure which offers access to sailing in international waters.

No matter the process chosen, EU and non-EU citizens or companies are allowed to register their vessels in the Netherlands. We also want to remind you that we can help you open a company in the Netherlands.

Documents related to registering a boat/yacht in the Netherlands

Among the documents required when registering a boat in the Netherlands are:

  • copy after the owner’s passport or ID, in the case of natural persons;
  • copy of the incorporation documents, in the case of Dutch companies or businesses registered in other countries;
  • copy of the bill of sale or insurance policy of the boat or yacht to be registered.

After the boat or yacht is registered, it will need to obtain a sailing license. Here is an infographic on this subject:


Obtaining navigation licenses in Holland

In Holland, after the yacht registration procedure is completed, there are specific licenses to be obtained, and the navigation one is among the most important. There are several sub-types of this license available based on the use of the boat and its length.

The EU certificate of qualification as a boatmaster is mandatory for those who navigate rivers, canals, and lakes in the Netherlands. This license is also required if the vessel will be used for commercial purposes under the following circumstances:

  • the vessel is at least 20 meters or more or 100 sqm in volume;
  • the vessel engages in towing, pushing, or moving ships with a length of at least 20 meters;
  • it carries more than 12 passengers;
  • it requires an approval certificate issued under the European Parliament’s Directive 2008/68/EC On the inland transport of dangerous goods).

The Union certificate of qualification as a boatman can be obtained to navigate the inland waters of the EU countries.

One may also require a navigation permit to cruise on a number of particular waters. Waterways in nature conservation areas and those usually require navigation permits. The regional water authority for the area where the lake/canal is located, or the municipal authorities, can issue a navigation permission.

Other licenses that can be obtained are:

  1. the license for sailing on maritime waters;
  2. the radar license;
  3. the Rhine Patent issued for navigation between Spijk and Iffezheim.

If you have any questions on Holland’s yacht registration procedure, do not hesitate to ask our local consultants.

An advantage for registering a boat/yacht in the Netherlands is the tonnage tax facility. Shipping businesses that must pay taxes in the Netherlands have a choice under Dutch fiscal law. They have the option of choosing between the standard form of taxation based on the actual profits made and tonnage-based taxation, which imposes a small flat payment no matter the profits.

Here is our video on how to register a vessel in the Netherlands:

Why choose Holland for yacht registration ?

There are various reasons why companies and individuals register their boats in the Netherlands. Among these are:

  • the fast registration process which implies less to no bureaucracy;
  • the lack of an annual yacht or boat tax;
  • there is no inspection of the boat or yacht;
  • the low costs related to the registration process.

For full information on the requirements and list of documents related to registering a boat or yacht in this country, please contact our Dutch company formation consultants.