the North Sea

The North Sea – the sea between Norway, Great Britain, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark – is a rich natural area, but also very important for the fishing, shipping and energy sectors.

Map North Sea
Map North Sea

The water depth of the North Sea indicates the difference between the southern, central and northern North Sea. The North Sea is gradually getting deeper in a northwestern direction. The section south of the Dogger Bank does not get deeper than 50 meters in a small number of places and is the southern North Sea. The North Sea north of this large shallow is counted to a depth of 100 meters in the central part. The area further north with a depth of up to 200 meters is called the northern North Sea. The fourth part of the North Sea is formed by the Norwegian channel and the Skagerrak.

North sea water
North sea water
North sea water
North Sea beach

Various sources provide the North Sea with water. Every year 5,000 cubic kilometers of water flows from the Atlantic Ocean into the North Sea via the channel between England and France. Each year 50,000 cubic kilometers of ocean water flows into the North Sea via the north at the Shetland Islands. The Baltic Sea supplies around 500 cubic kilometers of brackish sea water annually and the various rivers that flow into the North Sea supply 300 cubic kilometers of fresh water. For example, all water in the North Sea is completely refreshed once every two years. Precipitation and evaporation keep each other in balance: 500 millimeters per year evaporate and about the same amount is added again via precipitation.


Noord zee strand
Noord zee strand Duinen
Open water North sea
Noordzee golven kust

The North Sea is particularly rich in nutrients, which are supplied from the land by the many rivers. Moreover, due to the shallow depth, sunlight can easily penetrate to the bottom almost everywhere, allowing plankton to grow easily. Due to this great abundance of plant material, there is enough food to sustain the many species of fish, animals and other organisms in the North Sea. The North Sea itself has marginal seas that are even more nutrient-rich, such as the Wadden Sea .

Oil rig Olie platform
Fishing boats Vissersschepen

Due to the changing climate, the tides, the sea currents and the supply of water from the rivers, the sea is constantly subject to significant changes. Marine life has always adapted to this over the centuries. The North Sea ecosystem is very complex.

Sunset North Sea Zonsondergang

Drone image of Het Zwin in Cadzand-Bad, Zeeuws-Vlaanderen, located directly on the border with Belgium. The Zwin is the most westerly part of the Netherlands on the North Sea.