Netherlands Coastguard

The Netherlands Coastguard (Dutch: Kustwacht Nederland) is the coastal defence and maritime law enforcement branch of the Royal Netherlands Navy patrolling the Dutch coastline.[1]

Netherlands Coastguard
Kustwacht Nederland
Service Mark
ActiveSince 26 February 1987 (26 February 1987)
Country Netherlands
TypeCoast guard
RoleCoastal defence, maritime law enforcement
Motto(s)Servamus Servientes

Its operational command 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 twenty government organisations 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 government agencies, these agencies are the:[4]


The Coastguard tasks can be divided into Provision of service tasks and Law enforcement tasks.[1][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 BiesheuvelPatrol boatDamen Shipyards Gorinchem
VisarendPatrol boatDamen Shipyards Gorinchem
ZeearendPatrol boatDamen Shipyards Gorinchem
Ievoli Amaranth
Selah Shipyard
chartered by the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment from Multraship.
TerschellingBuoy tenderDamen Shipyards Gorinchem

See also


  1. "Netherlands Coastguard - What we do". Netherlands Coastguard. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  2. "Kustwacht" (in Dutch). Netherlands Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 5 July 2017.
  3. "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.
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