A highly skilled workforce


As a rule, the country's long seafaring tradition and its well-equipped training institutes ensure that shipping companies in the Netherlands will always be able to find the qualified staff they need to make their operations in the global market successful. Government supervision of training insitutes and the close relationship between training and the world of work safeguard the highest standards for all professional trianing and educations 85% of the Dutch population speaks English. As a result of the Dutch tendency towards international orientation, many employees look forward to working in the offices of international companies within the Netherlands.


Nationality requirements

Dutch law contains no stipulations regarding the nationality of crew members that shipowners wish to employ, with the exception of the master, who is required to be either Dutch or a EU or EEA member state national. However, if shipowners are able to demonstrate that despite sincere attempts it has proved impossible to employ a Dutch master, one may apply for approval to employ masters who are nationals of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, Philippines, Indonesia, India, and China. Said application will have to be submitted to a bi-partial committee formed by the Netherlands shipowners association KVNR and the Netherlands seafarers union Nautilus International. The procedure is administered by the KVNR and usually takes a couple of working days.



Competency requirements

Masters and officers serving on Dutch ships are required to hold either a Dutch Certificate of Competency or a Dutch endorsment attesting the recognition of a non-Dutch Certificate of Competency. These certificates are issued on behalf of the Dutch Maritime Authority by Kiwa, an organisation active in quality assurance and certification world-wide.


Masters and officers holding a Certificate of Competency issued by an EU or EEA member state or by a country with which the Netherlands have entered into an agreement as stipulated by STCW Regulation I/10, may serve on board Dutch registered ships. The Netherlands has concluded such bi-lateral agreements with Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Liechtenstein, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, the Russian Federation, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Turkey, the Ukraine and Vietnam.


For obtaining an endorsement attesting the recognition of a non-Dutch Certificate of Competency as Master, one is also required to submit documentary evidence of approval by the above mentioned bi-partial committee and to pass examination on knowledge of the relevant Dutch maritime legislation. The examination can be taken at facilities in the Netherlands, the Philippines, Indonesia, Ukraine and the Russian Federation.


All management level officers are required to be familiar with the relevant Dutch maritime legislation, for which a syllabus is made available by the KVNR. The aforementioned requirement is no prerequisite for obtaining the endorsement attesting the recognition of a non-Dutch Certificate of Competency as officer, however upon a flag state inspection on board one could be asked to show the required level of familiarity with the Dutch maritime legislation.


Ratings of any nationality may serve on Dutch ships when holding a Certificate of Proficiency issues by a state that is on the IMO STCW White List.


Dutch seafarers are required to hold a Dutch seaman’s book, issued by Kiwa. Non-Dutch seafarers may hold a non-Dutch seaman’s book on the condition that the seaman’s book is also drawn up in the English language.


Updated on January 17th, 2017