Netherlands Coastguard

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Netherlands Coastguard
Nederlandse Kustwacht
Netherlands Coast Guard racing stripe.svg
Racing stripe
Active Since 26 February 1987; 31 years ago (26 February 1987)
Country  Netherlands
Type Coast guard
Role Coastal defense, maritime law enforcement
Motto(s) Servamus Servientes
Ensign Netherlands Coast Guard flag.svg

The Netherlands Coastguard (Dutch: Nederlandse Kustwacht) is a national organisation responsible for service and law enforcement tasks along the Netherlands' coast line and in the Dutch part of the North Sea.[1]

Visarend of the Nederlandse Kustwacht entering The Scheveningen Port
Bell 412 Search and Rescue helicopter
Netherlands Coastguard Dornier Do 228 arrives for the Royal International Air Tattoo, England, (2014)

Its opertional centre falls under the Ministry of Defence and the Royal Netherlands Navy is responsible for its coordination.[2]


While the Netherlands Coastguard was officially established on 26 February 1987, this does not mean there was no coastguard active in the Netherlands before 1987.[3] Since 1883 there has been a coastguard active in the Netherlands in some sort of an unofficial capacity. In that year the Dutch government published a report named 'het houden van een uitkijk en het rapporteren van in nood verkerende schepen aan Hoofden Kustwacht'. The report was a reaction to the public outcry over an incident that had taken place in 1882, when the Dutch ship, HNLMS Adder, sunk off-coast at Scheveningen and led to the death of all 65 people aboard. The report led to lighthouses cooperating better with the relevant government agencies to help ships that were in trouble off-coast.[3]

After World War II the area that could be covered off-coast became bigger with new technologies such as radars and better means of communication. Furthermore, the government became more interested in the North Sea. They wanted to protect their interests, such as fishery, oil and gas extraction, and sand and gravel extraction. Eventually this led to each ministry establishing its own department that was focused on the North Sea and guarding the coast of the Netherlands. At one point there were more than 20 government organizations at work off the coast of the Netherlands. To stop this fragmentation, Minister Smit-Kroes of Traffic and water management ordered in 1984 a investigation to research how to make guarding the coast of the Netherlands more efficient and effective. The results of this report were published in 1986 and led to the official creation of one coastguard agency, namely the Netherlands Coastguard.[3]


The Netherlands Coastguard carries out duties for six governmental ministries.[1] These ministries are:[4]

   Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
       Directorate-General for Mobility and Transport (DGB)
       Directorate-General for Public Works and Water Management (Rijkswaterstaat)
   Ministry of Defence
       Royal Netherlands Navy
       Royal Marechaussee
       Royal Netherlands Air Force
   Ministry of Justice and Security
       National Police Corps
       Public Prosecution Service
       National Crisis Centrum
   Ministry of Finance
       Tax and Customs Administration
   Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy
       State Supervision of Mines
   Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality
       Netherlands Food and Consumer Product Safety Authority

  • The Coastguard tasks can be divided into Provision of service tasks and Law enforcement tasks.[5]
  • Provision of service tasks:
    • Monitoring, handling and coordinating national and international Distress, Urgency and Safety radio traffic;
    • Maritime assistance and Search and Rescue;
    • Limiting and dealing with the aftermath of disasters and incidents;
    • Wherever necessary, implementing vessel traffic services (buoys, vessel traffic service, instructions)
    • Maritime traffic research
    • Clearing out explosives
  • Law enforcement tasks:
    • Maintaining law and order (police)
    • Monitoring import, export and transit of goods (customs)
    • Upholding laws regarding environment, sea fishing, nautical traffic, ships equipment and offshore activities
    • Border control



Ship Type Builder Commissioned Origin Displacement
Photo Note
Barend Biesheuvel Patrol boat Damen Shipyards Gorinchem
Kustwacht 'Barend Biesheuvel'.jpg
Visarend Patrol boat Damen Shipyards Gorinchem
NL,Z-H,G. Den Haag,Scheveningsehaven,Kustwacht entering the port.jpeg
Zeearend Patrol boat Damen Shipyards Gorinchem
Zeearend - Hoek van Holland - kustwacht.jpg
Ievoli Amaranth
Selah Shipyard
ETV Guardian.jpg chartered by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment from Multraship.
Terschelling Buoy tender Damen Shipyards Gorinchem
Coastguard ship Frans Naerebout.jpg


See also


  1. ^ a b "Netherlands Coastguard - What we do". Netherlands Coastguard. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. ^ "Kustwacht" (in Dutch). Netherlands Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  3. ^ a b c "Historie" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Kustwacht. Retrieved 21 January 2018.
  4. ^ "Over ons" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Kustwacht. Retrieved 23 January 2018.
  5. ^ "What we do | Coastguard Netherlands". Retrieved 2018-10-07.
  6. ^ "Varende eenheden" (in Dutch). Nederlandse Kustwacht. Retrieved 23 January 2018.

External links

  • Netherlands Coastguard
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