Company Formation Netherlands



Yacht/Boat Registration in the Netherlands

Updated on Wednesday 31st August 2022

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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.

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.

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.

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.


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