Contact person for provided information:
|Paul van der Molen
|PO Box 9046
NL - 7300 GH Apeldoorn
|Information provided on 9
The Netherlands is a country located in Western Europe, bordering
the North Sea, between Belgium and Germany. It is located at the
delta of three major European rivers (Rhine, Maas, Schelde). The
area of land is 33,883 km2 and of water 7,643 km2. The geographical
coordinates are 52 30 N, and 5 45 E. The terrain consists of mostly
coastal lowland and reclaimed land (polders), with some hills
in the southeast. The lowest point is -7 m (Zuidplaspolder) and
the highest point +322 m (Vaalserberg). It is estimated that 8%
is urban land, 58% is agricultural land, 7% is forest, 3% is natural
reserve, and the rest is various. There are 6.6 million buildings.
The population of the Netherlands is 16,067,754 people (1 July
2002). The GDP is 434 bill $, the growth rate 0.3 % (2002). The
GDP by composition is agriculture 3%, industry 26% and services
The Republic of the Netherlands was formed after defeat of the Spanish
occupancy in 1648, with the Peace Treaty of Münster. In 1795 the
Republic was occupied by the French Napoleon, and during 1810-1813
it was annexed and became part of France. In 1815, after the defeat
of Napoleon in the Waterloo battle, the Kingdom of the Netherlands
was formed. The territory included southern parts, now Belgium.
In 1830 Belgium seceded and formed a separate kingdom. The Netherlands
remained neutral during World War I, but suffered invasion and occupation
by Germany in World War II. After World War II it lost its major
colony Indonesia. The Netherlands was a founding member of NATO
and EC, and participates in the EMU.
Current Political and Administrative
The Netherlands is a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary
democracy with free elections every 4 years. The Government is
formed by the Queen and Council of Ministers. The Queen is privileged
(can do 'no wrong'), the ministers are responsible. The Queen
is head of State (Kingdom of the Netherlands, including overseas
territories). Overseas territories have a kind of separate status
with a governor and local parliament and reporting to the 'minister
of home and overseas affairs'; as such the Kingdom occurs to be
a kind of federation. The Prime Minister is chair of the cabinet
and has a primus inter pares status. The Government is verifiable
by the Parliament at any time and at any matter. The Parliament
consists of a Second (Lower) Chamber and a First Chamber (Senate).
The second chamber has most political power. The First Chamber
has limited powers; its main task is to perform a second opinion
on bills before becoming law. The members of the Second Chamber
are directly elected by popular vote to serve four-year term.
The members of the First Chamber are indirectly elected by the
country's 12 provincial councils for four-years term.
At national level there are about 15 ministries, headed by a
minister and (occasionally) a vice minister, responsible for a
specific mandate (e.g. 'environment', 'European affairs'). The
second level of administration are the 12 provinces, which have
certain mandates on regional policies (e.g. planning, economy,
environment), and regional implementation of national policy.
Third and lowest level are about 400 municipalities, with extensive
powers regarding local matters (zoning, social welfare, development
control) and implementation of all kinds of national and regional
regulations and relevant subsidy schemes.
The system of provinces and municipalities are considered as
territorial decentralisation. A special case are the about 30
waterboards, which have extensive powers pertaining to water management,
both quantity and quality. The waterboards are considered as functional
decentralisation, with specific general elections for board members,
and an own tax regime.
Historical Outline of Cadastral
In 1810 the introduction of a fiscal cadastre became actual after
the earlier mentioned annexation of the Kingdom of the Netherlands
by France. The French legislation came into power. Some years
before, in 1808, Napoleon Bonaparte, who needed money to finance
his activities, decided to establish a system of land taxation,
based on a accurate inventory of land use and land ownership,
with precise land survey of land parcels: a fiscal cadastre. In
1811 it was decided that also in the occupied Netherlands such
a system of land taxation should be introduced. As a consequence,
in 1812 the work started to survey the land, and to list users
and owners of the land parcels.
The administrative structure in the cadastre was as follows.
The country was divided in municipalities, and these were divided
into cadastral sections, and these on their turn into cadastral
land parcels. First the land surveyors, together with the municipal
executives, determined the precise boundary of a municipality.
Then he surveyed the parcels.
In the archives are still present:
- the official minutes of the boundaries of the municipalities;
- an overview map of the triangulation points;
- the original cadastral maps;
- the original land register.
After the fall of Napoleon, when the Netherlands became independent
again, King William I adopted the system of land and building
taxation based on a fiscal cadastre, and the work was continued.
In 1838 the work was finally done and a country covering fiscal
cadastre was ready.
Tax was levied on the value of land and buildings in terms of
the revenue one could gain with it (the rental value). This rental
value was assessed during the process of land surveying. The rental
value was registered in the land registers and was fixed. The
regulations didn't have any provisions for updating rental values.
Only if land parcels were divided or joined together, the rental
values were divided and joined together according to the extent
of the new surface area. With this respect the cadastre always
showed a more or less actual situation. New erected buildings
were appraised by comparing them with similar existing buildings,
so they were put on the original scale.
The amount of the tax itself was based on a so-called repartition
system. First it was decided by the national government which
part of the national budget should be provided by the land and
building tax (at that time this tax was a state level tax). The
resulting amount was split up to the provinces, then to the municipalities
and finally to the individual land parcels. It could happen that
the amount of tax was different from one province to another.
Anyway, at that time the rate was about 10% to 12% of the rental
The updating of the cadastre was based on changes in the legal
situation of land and buildings. It was a major effort to have
knowledge of these changes. Legal documents could be recorded
at the local courts. The clerk of the court acted as a kind of
land registrar. However, as another Napoleonic rule, in 1811 it
was decided that these legal documents, mainly deeds of transfer
and of mortgage, should be recorded at the local office of the
national tax department, in order to levy transfer taxes. Such
a recording became compulsory in 1824.
Thus there were some sources for investigating the changes in
the legal status of land. It became much easier however, when
in 1825 it was decided to join together the legal land registers
and the cadastre as a special department within the national tax
department, the Ministry of Finance. It was a decision by the
King himself, aiming at efficiency reasons only. Actually there
was quite an oppositional movement by lawyers at that time, however
Here lie the roots of the Netherlands Cadastre and Land Registry
Agency, in which - unlike many other countries - the land registration
and the cadastre are combined in one organisation. The cadastre
became a key to the public registers, even more when in 1838 a
new Civil Code came into power that ordered the inclusion of the
cadastral land parcel number in notarial deeds of transfer and
deeds of mortgage. The fiscal cadastre also became a juridical
or legal cadastre, a situation, which is still a benefit at date.
A major revision of the Civil Code came in power in 1992 (symbolically
called the 'new' Civil Code), together with the Cadastre Act as
a specific elaboration of the parts pertaining to the system of
property rights (to a thing), and its aspects of registration
and cadastre. This constituted the land registers and cadastral
maps as a multi purpose system aimed at providing legal security
of tenure, facilitating the land market, and supporting many government
activities like physical planning, development control, public
acquisition of land, land taxation, management of natural resources.
Per 1 January 2004 the Cadastre Act was adapted in support of
the merger with the Topographical Service of the Ministry of Defence,
establishing the Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency.
Land registration and cadastral mapping are tasks at national
level, assigned by mandate (Civil Code and Cadastre Act) to the
Cadastre, Land Registry and Mapping Agency. As said earlier, this
organisation formed since its establishment in 1838 a department
of the Ministry of Finance. However, under the political expectation
that land information played more and more a role in many other
government activities (specially in planning and environment)
the Council of Ministers decided to shift the department to the
Ministry of Housing, Physical Planning and Environment in 1974.
In the same period it was decided to move the land taxation from
the national to municipal level, which is still is. In 1994 the
Council of Ministers decided to transfer the department into a
so-called independent public body, recognising land registration
and cadastre as a public task but to be executed in a business
like way. The Agency was constituted by special law, the 'Cadastre
Organisation Act', precisely prescribing the mandate, and the
division of tasks and competencies of the Agency, the Minister,
a Supervisory Council, and a User Board.
Today, the Agency comprises a head office and 15 regional offices.
In these offices the registers are kept, the boundaries surveyed,
maps maintained and information disseminated. Since the merger
with the Topographical Service of the Ministry of Defence, now
called 'Topographical Service Kadaster', also their offices in
Emmen are part of the organisation.
Private Sector Involvement:
In the Netherlands a system of licensed private surveyors mandated
to do the cadastral survey, does not exist. All boundary surveys
are performed by land surveyors employed by the Agency. As such
there is no involvement of the private sector. However the private
sector plays a role in the sense of being contracted to do specific
jobs under the supervision and responsibility of the Agency. This
counts for some tens of millions $ a year. There exists a lively
private sector, comprising many firms working on a commercial basis.
Professional Organization or
At date various levels of surveyors have their own association.
Senior staff members of the Agency (surveyors, land registrars,
managers etc.) are normally member of the Association for Cadastre,
which is mainly a labour union type of association.
Since the merger of various professional geodesy associations
with other existing associations (for photogrammetry, remote sensing,
cartography, GIS etc.) into a new Association called 'Geoinformation
the Netherlands' the Netherlands knows only one professional organsiation,
since February 2003, a learned society of about 4000 members.
There is no licensing system in place. All cadastral surveying
is performed by employees of the Agency (civil servants).
At university level the Delft University of Technology offers
education in geodesy in a full programme. In 2002 it was decided
to cancel the BSc level course. Now 1 MSc course remained, in
higher geodesy. Main reason for this decision was the still lower
application of new students (some 5 last year, while this has
been about 20-30 average.
The International Institute for Geoinformation Science and Earth
Observation ITC offers MSc degree courses a.o. for geo-informationmanagement,
urban planning and land administration. As the ITC since 2005
is an associated institute of the United Nations University, short
and long courses are offered dedicated to land management and
At college level the Hogeschool Utrecht (Utrecht College) offers
a 4 years BSc programme (about 40 students each year).
At middle level land surveying is offered by quite a few Middle
level schools as a post programme after civil engineering (few
At technician level private institutes offer special vocational
courses, which are officially recognised by the Government (few
A general opinion amongst land management and land surveying
organisations is that there soon will be a shortage of well trained
and educated land surveyors and geodesists. In 2005 respresentatives
organised a meeting in Amsterdam, to share and express their concern.
Since then, awareness seems growing that 'something should be
Purpose of Cadastral System:
The land registers and cadastre serve a multi purpose aim. First
of all the Civil Code prescribes 4 requirements for a legal transfer
of rights 'in rem', namely right of disposal of the seller, agreement
between buyer and seller, obligatory title, and recording in the
public registers hold by the Agency. The system of delivery is
'causal', which means that right holders have to secure their
ownership right ('title') from a theoretical legal point of view
in the chain of transfers. Because of the latin notariat, in practice
information from the most recent notarial deed suffices and gives
substantial evidence of ownership. The registers and cadastral
maps therefore guarantee in practice legal land tenure security,
and security in the land market. The same is valid for securing
loans by mortgages.
Secondly information on taxable persons, taxable objects, and
taxable values, are derived from the files of the Agency, and
are on a regular basis supplied to the municipalities as main
source data for their land taxation.
Furthermore land information from the files of the Agency is
used by many government bodies, basically providing source data
in order to support the government (all levels) in the interference
in private property rights justified by the general interest.
Types of Cadastral Systems:
In the Netherlands there exists one single land registry and cadastre.
It comprises all lands, and all territorial waters, whoever is
the owner. The State owns land, of course, however from a point
of view of the civil code the State is an owner like anybody else.
Also the rules for transfer etc. apply to the State, except for
paying land taxes. There does not exist something as 'state lands'.
There are no problems with informal and illegal settlements.
The main concept of the system of land registry and cadastre is
the recording of the relationship between men and land, through
a formal right. The concept includes the principles of specialty
and publicity. The specialty principle results in a proper identification
of the right holders through personal identification at the notary
office and the recording of ID numbers, or in case of a legal
body (e.g. a company) identification of ID number Chamber of Commerce
and the legal representatives of the company. Furthermore it impacts
on the object of exercise of rights: the land parcel, that should
be uniquely identified by parcel number and boundary survey. The
right as such should be legally recognised, namely belonging to
the closed system of real rights as mentioned in the Civil Code.
The right should therefore precisely be identified in the deed.
The recording of the relationship men-right-land is based on
the recording of notarial deeds. Acceptance of a submitted deed,
by the land registrar, does not imply investigation and review
of the legal validity of the transfer. The check is done on some
precisely described formal requirements only. Unlike a title registration
system, the system in the Netherlands does not provide state guaranteed
proof of title. The publicity principle however, results in the
compulsory recording of all deeds pertaining to land, which are
open for inspection without any restriction, and provide the base
for knowledge about the status of tenure. The combination of Latin
Notariat and land registers and cadastre provide de facto title
According to the legal rules of accession, buildings belong to
the land, as are subsurface features and above surface air column.
Buildings and minerals can be separated from the landownership
through e.g. rights of superficies.
As multi use of space is official national policy, such constructions
are getting common both at sub-surface, surface and above surface
level, which brings along a debate currently about a 3D registry
Content of Cadastral System:
Public registers are registers in which notarial deeds are recorded
as they come in. Public registers are comparable with the land
registers kept by the courts in other countries. The reason for
filing in this order is the importance of the ranking of real
rights. The Civil Code (Roman-French law family) assigns two important
characteristics to real rights, namely a real right follows the
thing, and older real rights have priority over younger real rights.
With respect to the latter, the moment of recording can therefore
be of crucial importance, e.g. by legal foreclosure and execution.
The public registers by consequence are not easy accessible. The
employees of the Agency extract the essential elements from the
deed; these form on their turn the input for the cadastral registers
and maps, providing registers on name, parcel (both administration
and cartography), and street address. In essence the cadastral
registers and maps are auxiliary registers to provide access to
the public registers. The public registers are kept in analogue
format: books with paper deeds, copied to microfiche. Both cadastral
registers and cadastral maps are 100 % in digital format.
In addition to the basic relationship men-right-parcel there
are many attributes: land use, purchase prices, various legal
essentialia, parcel surface area etc.
The cadastral maps reveal the national grid, cadastral boundaries,
parcel-identifiers, street addresses, buildings, house numbers,
and geodetic control points. Parcel related attributes can be
visualised on the cadastral map. Altogether about 300 million
co-ordinate pairs are represented in the spatial cadastral database.
Cadastral parcel data are stored in one layer as described below,
buildings are included in a separate layer.
The spatial data are represented in the database using geometric
data types such as 'point', 'line' and 'box'. In addition to the
use of these data types, some important capabilities in the data
model are storage of explicit topology and historic information.
Furthermore, nation-wide unique identifiers have been introduced
for all geographic objects, e.g. boundaries, topographic lines
(buildings) and unified surveying and mapping attributes.
The most important tables are boundary (cadastral boundaries),
parcel (parcel identifiers), symbol (cartographic
symbols), GCP (Geodetic Control Point), line (topographic
lines) and text. The spatial extension of the objects in
the tables boundary, parcel and line is indicated with a minimal
bounding rectangle of type 'box'. The box covers a boundary
or a topographic line or a complete parcel. The box can be spatially
indexed and is useful for efficient retrieval purposes based on
rectangle selections. There is no need for the geometric data
type 'polygon', because the area features are stored topologically
in the parcel table and boundary table using the so-called 'CHAIN-method'.
The edges in boundary table contain references to other edges
according to the winged edge structure, which are used to form
the complete boundary chains. From this data structure polygons
can be generated on demand. Currently, topology is only maintained
for the cadastral data and is being introduced for the topographic
data, based on demand.
This approach allows calculations on correctness of topology
after adjustment of the surveyed new boundaries to the cadastral
data. Furthermore it opens the possibility to relate attributes
to the boundaries between parcels, e.g. relation to the source
documents of surveying, date of survey, names of persons locating
the boundary, etc. If each parcel would be represented in the
database by a closed polygon, it would be complicated to represent
the basic object of cadastral surveying: one boundary between
two neighbour parcels. Closed polygon representation would lead
to double (or triple or even more) storage of all co-ordinates
(except the territorial boundary), which complicates the data
management in a substantial way. Closed polygon representation
can result in the introduction of gaps and overlaps between parcels,
which has no relation to reality. One more reason for the boundary
based approach is in the classification of boundaries: the administrative
cadastral and political subdivision in sections (cadastral zones),
municipalities and provinces is possible by classifying boundaries
as 'section-boundary', 'municipal-boundary', 'province-boundary'
or 'national boundary'. A 'national boundary' is by definition
a 'province boundary' and a 'municipal-boundary' and a 'section-boundary'
and a 'parcel-boundary'; etc.
Fig. 1: Topology model in the spatial database of the Kadaster.
The following attributes are included in the data model for all
- object_id a nation-wide unique feature identifier for
all objects represented in the database,
- classif classification code of the object, e.g. parcel
boundary, parcel identifier, road (type), water, etc.,
- location (of data type point) or shape
is of data type line(50), a polyline up to 50 points,
representing the cadastral boundaries, stored in a variable
length way in the (object)/relational database,
- sel_code a selection code which indicates to which
type(s) a geographic object belongs, e.g. cadastral data and/or
large scale topographic data,
- source of data, which is a reference to the field
documents and files from total stations, or to the id of the
photogrammetric project for large scale topographic mapping,
- quality which is the mode of data collection, e.g.
terrestrial, photogrammetric and includes an accuracy code which
denotes the deviation from the 'true' position,
- vis_code visibility code to classify less visible
objects during photogrammetric data collection, e.g. because
- l_area official legal area, which is included in the
official legal documents or deeds describing the transaction,
in general this area is not equal to calculated area from the
spatial cadastral boundary data; this attribute is introduced
only for the parcel table
Example of a Cadastral Map:
Fig. 2: Example of a cadastral map.
Role of Cadastral Layer in SDI:
The cadastral map and the Large Scale Topo Base Map of the Netherlands
(both country covering and digital) are fully co-ordinated. After
a map-renovation process the cadastral map is fully reconciliated
with the topo map at boundary level. The map series share building-data.
Both maps (databases) are extensively used by governments, utility
companies, and private companies for their own activities.
The Large Scale Topo Map is produced and maintained by a consortium
of the Agency and many utility companies, later added by municipalities
and waterboards. As such both map series are a de facto standard
for large scale map-use.
Another development is the co-ordination between the cadastral
map, the Large Scale Topo Map and the map series 1:10,000 of the
Topographic Service Kadaster. Investigations are carried out to
identify to which extent the three map series can share the updating
The main problem of the Agency is the ICT renewal of legacy systems
that currently is going on in order to meet the current and future
customer requirements on one hand, and to adopt modern ICT opportunities
on the other hand. This is a complicated and expensive process,
because the renewal should take place within a growing concern
environment. Currently this process I well controlled. As a result
all databases are centralised now, with decentalised informationmanagement,
and excellent facilities for e-access. Especially for the easy
internet-access, the Aency was awarded the european e-Award 2006.
1. Recording of all public encumbrances on land. There are about
80 of this kind of public rights to land, of which 20 are indeed
recorded yet. Law is endorsed by the Parliament to impose recording
of public encumbrances, issued by whatever body of government,
either in the registers of the Agency or at the municipalities,
per 1 January 2007.
2. Law is endorsed in the Parliament pertaining to electronic
submission of deeds. This opened the opportunity for the notary
public to submit notarial deeds as a digital file per 1 September
2005. The concept is that notary public keeps a paper deed in
his/her office as the authentic one, sends a certified true copy
electronically to the Agency, which records the document in a
digital work process. This allows for the creation of a single
national digital public registers replacing the registers per
3. ICT renewal programme is currently running (-> 2010). This
concerns reduction of complexity (of different platforms, databases
and protocols), centralisation of databases and database management,
integration of spatial databases (cadastral map and large scale
topo map) and legal/administrative data) into one database for
(on line) information supply purposes, full renewal of cadastral
systems, digital public registers, electronic conveyancing and
includes data cleaning (quality improvement, e.g. of subject names)
4. As a result of the ICT renewal programme, the rationale for
the existence of regional offices is getting less and less. Since
September 2005 is it possible to lodge deeds electronically. Already
the first months over 30,000 deeds were submitted through internet.
At the output side, in 2005 over 18 million information products
were sold via internet, almost 100%of all output. Unlike former
times, clients and citizens do not need to visit the regional
offices to do their business. This leads to a restructuring ('organisational
development'). In the period 2006-2009 the number of regional
offices will be brought back from 16 to 8, and on the long run
may be only 1. Also the organisational overhead will be reduced,
as is the operational staff. Electronic deeds make electronic
updating of register possible, the use of GPS allows 1 man-field
parties, as we have 2-man parties now, etc. Staff will go back
from 2200 to about 1500 next years.