Law, College of


Date of this Version



Published in Ram S. Jakhu, editor, National Regulation of Space Activities, chapter 10, p. 225-245. Space Regulations Library 5. DOI 10.1007/978-90-481-9008-9_10.


Copyright 2009, Frans von der Dunk. Used by permission.


The Netherlands, being aware of its relative size when compared to the major spacefaring nations not only globally but also in the European context, has always addressed outer space and space activities from the perspective of the role it could feasibly play. It has thus concentrated on a few niche areas which were either closely aligned to existing capabilities and experience or seemed to offer possibilities for mid-size economies and societies to play an important role.

The longstanding focus on scientific/technical aspects of space activities on the one hand, and on an international/legal context for them on the other, constitutes the key for understanding the approach of the Netherlands towards international space law, as well as to the possibility, desirability or even the need to create national space legislation as the main topic of the present book.

The Dutch Space Activities Act deals in particular with private space activities for which the Netherlands could be held internationally responsible and/or liable under the corpus juris spatialis internationalis, and the more specific issue of establishing a formal registration procedure and a national register of space objects with a view to, inter alia, dealing with the same set of space activities. Discussed in detail are the Act's 28 sections in 7 chapters.

Such major spacefaring nations within Europe as France, Germany, Italy and Spain, though all to some extent involved in discussions regarding the establishment of a proper national act dealing with, in particular, private space activities, have not yet achieved that feat. Even France, indeed, Western Europe’s foremost space power and enjoying the presence since many years of Arianespace and SpotImage, key players in the global private space arena, has only realized a national space act after the Dutch did.