Do we need to have a physical presence in the Netherlands if we want to register our vessel under the Dutch flag?

Yes, the Dutch register is not an open register. The authorities value the relationship and the genuine link between the flag state, the vessel and the vessel owner. Authorities will not intervene with the owner’s business operations, but do require a local representative for matters such as safety, manning and environmental issues. Therefore, the vessel owner will have to have an office in the Netherlands. However, it is permissible to appoint a ship manager based in the Netherlands as a representative. The owner (or ship manager) will have to be registered with the Netherlands Shipping Inspectorate (NSI).