Since 1996, the shipping policy of the Dutch government has been to focus on establishing a competitive maritime fiscal climate for shipping activities in the Netherlands by offering several measures. These include the Dutch tonnage tax scheme, the reduction of manning costs, flexible manning schedules based on the needs of the shipowner, and also co-financing and other forms of support to promote innovation and cooperation between the maritime sectors located in the Netherlands. With the support of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, the so-called Dutch Maritime Network was established, aiming for cooperation between the 12 maritime sectors in the fields of human capital, innovation and trade.
In 2015, the shipping policy of the Dutch government became part of a broader governmental and industry-wide maritime policy, in which cooperation between government and industry is envisaged in order to become a pre-eminent maritime cluster. To strengthen the maritime interests of the Netherlands, the policy has focussed on areas relevant to all sectors of the maritime cluster. By unifying these policy areas, it has become possible for knowledge, experience, best practices and innovations to be shared throughout the cluster. After all, it makes no sense to come up with solutions for the one industry if the outcome for the entire maritime cluster is less then optimal. Unifying policy areas that are the focus of the maritime strategy are:
- Human Capital
- Safety and the Environment
- Security and Stability
A competitive maritime tax climate
A competitive maritime tax climate is important to shipping companies that operate worldwide. The Dutch tax system has many features that make the Netherlands an attractive location for businesses. Important elements are e.g. the Dutch tonnage tax scheme, the participation exemption, and a wide network of over 100 bilateral tax treaties in order to avoid double taxation. Furthermore the possibility to allow for accelerated depreciation schemes, and the wage costs tax facility for seafarers.